I’m so bad at updating this blog… I really keep trying to stay up-to-date on it, but somehow also keep failing. I’m not giving up, though! I love ranting about books/movies/etc. that I enjoy or just need to get some thoughts out for that I can’t do in an Instagram post (which, on that note, I’ve been getting super into Bookstagram lately, turning my account into one, and it’s been so much fun! Check me out @MidnightVoltage It’s such an amazing community, I highly recommend it!).
I’m going to try to start posting once a week. I have a few end-of-2016-related posts mostly ready for posting, so after I do those hopefully I’ll have other blog posts ready, too, and can just stay a few weeks ahead. That’s the plan, at least!
I’ll go into more depth later with how many books I read, some stats, etc., but here’s my favorite novels of the year (I’ll be cheating a lot, as you’ll see, but what can I do =P). This was really, really hard not only to narrow down but, after I had finally settled on 10 (sort of), trying to order them was nigh impossible. I did sort of settle on an order, but still wasn’t nearly happy with it, so to save myself any more duress, I decided just to bullet point them—yay! Also I didn’t have quite all of these books with me, so I photographed all the ones I could, and used a different book by the author in a couple cases (or a film).
As usual these are the top books that I read this year, not necessarily ones that came out this year.
So, without further ado, the first of my 2016 wrap-up posts:
Top Ten Books of 2016
- The Story of Kullervo, Mr. Bliss, Bilbo’s Last Song, and Beowulf, by J.R.R. Tolkien (represented by The Lord of the Rings). Instance of cheating #1, haha. I legitimately love everything that Tolkien writes, and I always try to read at least one new thing by him a year; this year, I did four. ^^ Mr. Bliss was so wacky and different from his other work, it was just so amazing and fun. Bilbo’s Last Song was a great poem fantastically illustrated, and The Story of Kullervo was dark and heart-wrenching. Beowulf might be my favorite of these, if only because I’m already a huge fan of the original story and Tolkien’s version just elevates it, IMO. I’m partial to prose, and Tolkien’s prose is just perfect for this kind of story.
- The Kingkiller Chronicle, by Patrick Rothfuss (being The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear, and The Slow Regard of Silent Things). Cheat #2. I can easily leave out TSRoST (it was great, but not as great as the main two novels), but I honestly can’t choose between the first and second book, as both were utterly amazing. Sadness was sort of building up in me for a little while because some time had gone by since reading A Dance with Dragons and it seemed as though I’d never find another great fantasy series (besides Lord of the Rings, which I had read before and is my favorite book). I read A Wizard of Earthsea and really, really enjoyed it (in fact it barely missed my top ten list this year), but it wasn’t the same. I was pretty disappointed in The Eye of the World, and so it just seemed like I wouldn’t find another great fantasy series. But then I found Kingkiller, and my hope in fantasy was restored. This is truly an amazing series, and I love all the music incorporated into it—can’t wait for the on-screen adaptation with Lin Manuel Miranda producing! I also can’t wait for the third book, and while I wish the series would never end, I’m kind of happy it’s only three so I only have to wait for one more, haha.
- The Six of Crows Duology, by Leigh Bardugo. Cheat #3. I first found out about Six of Crows by the cover. I saw it in Barnes & Noble and fell in love with the cover and black pages. I finally checked it out after hearing the story inside was just as great as the presentation, and less than half way in I gave it back and bought the book as I knew I needed it. But then the duology boxset came out about a week later, so I returned the book and bought the box set, haha. A roller coaster to buy it, but so worth it: I’m so, so happy that I got the box set, as it–like the books–are so beautiful. And Crooked Kingdom was somehow either just as amazing or even possibly better. Love the characters and the setting (honestly the characters made me like The Lies of Locke Lamora less when I read it because I just preferred Kaz Brekker and crew).
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick (represented by the steelbook of the film). Martin Scorsese is one of my favorite directors, so I had seen the film and loved it and had been meaning to read the book for the longest time. I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the fantastic film, but it definitely did! Such a uniquely beautiful book with how it’s not really a graphic novel or just a regular novel but something in between. I’m definitely going to be buying the rest of Selznick’s books!
- The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden. This book blew me away. I was expecting just a “pretty good” story that I enjoyed but ultimately didn’t love, as that had sort of been my feeling toward all the Advanced Reader’s Copies that I had gotten, but this was amazing. I love how it draws from Russian folk and fairytales, and the writing definitely matches the beautiful setting. I’m so, so happy I got to read the ARC of this, and I highly recommend picking it up (in stores now)! I also hope to write a full review of this, but we’ll see… Also, full disclosure, I’m probably going to cheat next year and put this in my 2017 Top Ten since it wasn’t published till 2017, as it’s that good!
- The Ice Dragon, by George R.R. Martin. I can’t believe it took me this long to read this, as I’ve had it for probably a couple years now. But, as expected from Martin, it was amazing, and I loved seeing him work in a children’s book.
- City of Glass, by Paul Auster. This book moved me in so many ways and made me think more than any other book this year. I absolutely love philosophical books, and this definitely fit the bill. I was planning to read the other two novels of his New York Trilogy over winter break but never had a few days off when I could just consume them in single sittings, so I’m still waiting for the chance to do that. I’ll definitely be putting a review up some day (I have pages and pages of notes, lol), but probably not until I finish the trilogy. Highly recommended!
- The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro. Similarly to City of Glass, this was just a really great, thought-provoking read. I can’t say any more than I did in my incredibly long review, but I loved it and was definitely one of the best books I read this year.
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin. Another book that I’m sad took me this long to read, but I finally did as a sort of Christmas present for my girlfriend (as it’s her favorite book). And I loved it! Austin just writes in such a witty way it was such a joy to read.
- Stories of Your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang. I bought this so I could read “Story of Your Life” before I saw Arrival (which, as it turns out, I still haven’t seen, unfortunately), but after being blown away by it I read the rest of the stories and loved pretty much all of them. Again, stories that make you think, and beautifully written.
Honorable Mentions, in no particular order: A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin (as I said, really great and just narrowly missed out on my top ten); The Last Days of Night, by Graham Moore (a fantastic book about the rivalry of Edison and Westinghouse); A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness (great first book with an interesting magic system); The Ruins of Gorlan, by John Flanagan (a fantastic children’s fantasy book, definitely going to be continuing the series); The Bone Season, by Samantha Shannon (really looking forward to book 2); M is for Magic, by Neil Gaiman (amazing and 5-stars, but because I had read most of the stories in other collections I decided to leave it off my top ten); Murders in the Rue Morgue, by Edgar Allen Poe (Poe’s always great, though these might be my least favorite short stories of his if I had to choose); The 13 Clocks, by James Thurber (lovely kid’s book, though didn’t quite live up to my expectations); and Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones (definitely need to read it again, but was very enjoyable!).
So there you have it, my top ten books of 2016!