My 2016 in Books

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I know I already did a New Years-y round up post, but SURPRISE! Here’s another! I’ve seen a lot of top reads of 2016 stuff going around, and although I did talk a bit about books in my round up, I thought it would be cool to do one more in depth.

This year I read 107 books. (Well, at the time of writing. I’ll probably have read one or two more by the time this post actually rolls around.) I’m really happy that I managed to complete my Goodreads challenge; I think 100 books is about right for me. Although I actually read more books last year, I feel a lot better about my reading habits. I don’t have quite as much time as I used to because of school, but I do read a steady supply of books which is nice.

genres read

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I did a little analysis of the genres that I read this year, and I was really surprised at the number of contemporary and historical books in there! I have actually read quite a few non-fiction history books, as well as historical fiction. Fantasy still makes up just over a quarter of my reading, though. The ‘other’ genre encompasses a) books that were difficult to classify, or might come under ‘literary’ (e.g. Ghostwritten by David Mitchell) or b) genres I read so few of it wasn’t worth their own section such as thrillers. Or a combination of those two.

favourite books

These are the 10 books I’ve read this year which I feel I’ve enjoyed the most, and gained the most from, this year! I mean, I feel like I’ve probably forgotten a lot of great books here, and I found it really difficult to pick the ones I’ve liked most because I like books for different reasons… I sort of attempted to get a diverse pick from the different genres that I’ve read and the reasons I enjoyed each of these books. (Yes, some not-YA! I know!)

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I talk about Radio Silence ENDLESSLY to people, so it’ll come as no surprise to you that it made it onto my favourite books of this year list! I only just finished When the Moon Was Ours, but I enjoyed it so tremendously that I thought it should make it onto here. Ghostwritten is sort of a precursor to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, but in some ways I liked it more — I am endlessly amazed at his ability to make all the narrative voices in his books unique, even when there are so many characters.

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I was almost going to put This Savage Song by VE Schwab on here too, but I thought one Schwab book might be enough. I am pretty darn excited for A Conjuring of Light! the Goldfinch was slightly weird and emotionally draining. It gave me lots of weird feelings. (I don’t think the fact that I was reading it in an airport helped. AIRPORTS ARE REALLY WEIRD PLACES FOR ME.) The Lie Tree is kind of an MG book, but there is MYSTERY and GIRLS DOING SCIENCE and SLIGHT FANTASY and just quality times.

hidden gems

These books are lesser-known ones which I’d love to see people discussing more. They might also be books with new and exciting stuff that I haven’t otherwise seen much of!

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Carry Me Like Water by Benjamin Alire Saenz A lot of people have read or know about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by the same author, but his adult books don’t seem to be very well known. THEY’RE STILL SUPER COOL GUYS. They’re written so nicely and asdhjkl.

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz I was lucky enough to win this one in a giveaway, and although the premise seems a little crazy — and the whole book is a little crazy — it was such a satisfying and gripping read. (The writing is once again really nice.)

A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne I got this one for Christmas last year, and it was such a fun read! It’s basically ‘what if Ron killed Voldemort instead of Harry?’ except with more humour and kissing. I’m just going through the Goodreads page to find the cover, and a lot of people are saying it’s kind of fanfiction-y… It is kind of fanfiction-y, but for me as someone who liked fic, it takes the best fic tropes and does wonderful things with them.  Plus, the illustrations and cover are SO NICE.

The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke I barely hear Cat Clarke’s books mentioned, but she has been quietly writing cool queer YA thrillers for rather a long time. I absolutely raced through this tale of a returned sister, and I FEEL SO HAPPY BECAUSE QUEER PARENTS. QUEER OLDER PEOPLE. What a joy.

The Next Together by Lauren James This book was such a joy to read — I raced through it and was swept away by science! wit! reincarnation! history! mystery! blushing characters! It just had, like, so many things I love to read in books. This one is perhaps a little more well-known than the others here, but I haven’t seen it discussed that much within the book blogging community so I thought I’d chuck it in here anyways.

what were your top books of 2016? are any of your choices the same as mine? do you plan to read any of these in the future?

2016 in Blogging // that yearly round up post

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Phew, 2016 has been a capital-Y Year. Last year I said that I was so young and innocent the year before… 2015 ME DID NOT KNOW WHAT I HAD COMING. I said in that post that I’d look back and laugh at myself, and I don’t really feel like laughing. I almost feel a little sad. UGH, WHY WORLD.

I mean, whilst I know we all joke about how much we want this year to be over, some good things actually have happened. The annoying thing is that this year has basically been really crap in terms of politics and wider-scale events, but it’s been pretty good for me as a person? Or as good as it could be, considering the whole situation. Let’s go through it all.

Looking back at 2016

  • Some pretty crap things happened in the world. The refugee crisis continues, acts of terror continue, dying continues. A bunch of famous people liek David Bowie and Alan Rickman also passed away. Trump was elected President and here in the UK we voted for Brexit. I guess right-wing nationalism including a loot of hatred is on the rise.
  • Yeah so…not wonderful overall. But I think I have learnt to be happier with myself this year. I feel a lot more able to do what I want, and to care less what people think of me. (I still care a little.) I know it’s a small thing, but I stopped shaving my legs since I was only doing it because people were always like ‘ew, hair’. I ACTUALLY DON’T CARE. I feel good about saying that. Now sometimes I can talk about queer things to my friends, and that feels nice.
  • My most popular posts from this year were Les Mis v Hamilton, an awesome fandom battle which I wrote with Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages, my original Les Mis Book Tag, and that one where I talked about webcomics. (I’m liking the Les Mis theme year. You guys obviously have good taste.) I think I’m supposed to get a round-up from WordPress, but I’m scheduling this post so hopefully I’ll add it in. THANK YOU TO EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO HAS READ AND/OR COMMENTED ON MY POSTS. I love you all. ❤
  • I did some Guides stuff! I went on a county trip to Slovenia & Croatia which was just AMAZING and I absolutely adore my team. *feels mushy and huggy* It felt pretty cool to have fundraised for my whole trip… We did a lot of cool stuff and the bants were real. (Ha.) Now I’m doing a campaign-y thing which is really cool!
  • I read some good books! Most notably Radio Silence, I think, which I still ADORE, but also: A Gathering of Shadows, Crooked Kingdom, Salt to the Sea, A Tale for the Time Being, This Savage Song, Wild Swans, The Handmaid’s Tale… A LOT OF GREAT BOOKS. I was using my Goodreads Year in Books for this so if you feel like checking it out then please do.
  • Just in general, I flailed about things a lot. See: the wonderful musical Fun Home, the Doctor Who spin off Class which I have talked about AT LENGTH, webcomics. (I know I linked that earlier, but.) OH AND HOLY MOLY I JUST REMEMBERED: Lauren Aquilina released her LP! (It was called Isn’t It Strange? and because I seem to be doing a fun linking thing there, here’s a co-review I did.) I’m still flailing about that, to be honest.
  • I went to more bookish events. This included the wonderful YA Shot literary festival, as well as some author panels and a VE Schwab signing. 😀 This was actually one of my goals from last year, so yay!
  • Once again, I didn’t finish a writing project, but I did take part in NaNoWriMo and get to work on my WIP. I still have a long way to go, but hopefully next year. (Probably not. But I’d like to try.)
  • I started a new year at school, and I’m actually…really enjoying it so far? Although the work is a step up, I’ve got some good teachers and I’m interesting in what we’re doing.
  • I did keep learning Japanese, although it’s been difficult to continue with school and I definitely need to work more at that.
  • Despite the Brexit result, the EU referendum got me a lot more interested in politics. I felt really passionately about that, and obviously the result was pretty crushing, especially considering it was the first political thing that I cared about a lot? But yeah, it has motivated me to learn more about politics and our world and to keep fighting against the bad stuff.

Looking forward to 2017

  • I want to care for myself more. Sometimes I feel liek I get swamped in all my commitments, so I really want to try and set more time aside for myself when I don’t have to do stuff. We did some meditation as an RS homework and I found it really nice, so…maybe that?
  • I want to keep writing. Maybe I won’t finish a project, but that’s okay! Just writing a little bit adds to my improvement, which is what really matter.
  • I just…really want to do something for Pride month next year? Like go to the London Pride parade, if I actually can. And in general I want to do more LGBTQ+ related things; the LGBTQ+ society at school just opened up to some younger years so if I can work up the courage I’ll hopefully go?
  • Earlier on in this post I talked a lot about bad stuff happening in the world, so I want to do something that will actually make a change. I don’t know what that is yet, but. Hopefully.
  • I want to get better at reading and commenting on other blogs. I feel like I did let this slip, especially over the last 6 months or so, and I miss knowing what’s happening in the blogging community and making new friends.
  • I also want to be more organised on my own blog, I guess — I was starting to get a bit stressed by needing to post and that wasn’t really fun. So that’s starting this holiday with me just writing some posts that I can schedule whenever I get swamped with schoolwork and can’t write something for the blog. 🙂

Phew, this post ended up being a lot longer than I was expecting it to be! But I do think I have grown a lot more as a person this year, and I did a lot of cool stuff, so I suppose it’s not that crazy. Once again, thanks to all of you who support me and my blog/ Hopefully 2017 will be a little brighter for all of us.

how was your year? do you write yearly goals? and do you have anything you want to do in 2017?