Why hello there, everyone! Long time, no see! I hope to post a general life update soon (yes, I survived my first semester of grad school), but first, BOOKS!
I feel like 2017 is going to go down as a one of the most significant years in my reading life. Looking back, I not only read more books than ever before, but I discovered countless new writers who I now cannot imagine my life without.
This year, I read 211 books. Holy cats, that’s a lot! This includes audiobooks and stand-alone graphic novels. I did not include comic volumes or things I read twice in one year. This number feels like a HUGE accomplishment. It smashes last year’s record by 64 books!
The theme this year was all about YA. I’ve always enjoyed the genre, but this year stepped it up several notches. Being a librarian, I work to stay on top of new releases and up-and-coming titles so I can successfully help my patrons find things to read. A perk (and curse) of this is that I’m painfully aware of what’s being published, when it’s coming out, and how to get my hands on it for free.
And, oh, the authors I’ve discovered this year. It was a fantastic year for discovering YA fantasy writers. Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, V.E. Schwab, Laini Taylor, where have you been all my life?! I cannot imagine my life without the Court of Thorns and Roses Series or Six of Crows duology. (I read A Court of Mist and Fury five times and have zero regrets.) I was charmed by Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer and swept away by Marie Lu’s Warcross. I reread Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and fell in love with them all over again. There were some excellent Asian-inspired fantasies released this year; I really enjoyed Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao and Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. I’m currently in the midst of Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle, which I am loving so far.
It was also a great year for reading contemporary YA. One of my absolute top books this year, and one I cannot recommend enough, is The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. I am convinced that, if every American were to read that book and truly listen to the story being told, we would live in a different country. Other titles I loved Turtles All the Way Down by John Green, The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurine Goo. Oh, and for books about fandoms, I loved Ashley Poston’s Geekerella and Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia.
I didn’t only read YA this year, though. I finally caught up with the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin and plunged into Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive. This summer, I completed my annual audiobook listen through of The Lord of the Rings. I even listened to The Silmarillion on audiobook last winter. This fall, I revisited the bastions of my childhood in Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness, Immortals, and Protector of the Small quartets, which were just as excellent as I remember.
I really love books set in the UK (after all, I DID focus on British literature in my English degree) and thoroughly enjoyed the book Miss You by Kate Eberlen. Last Spring, I went on a Sophie Kinsella binge and it was delightful. It was my first real foray into Chick Lit and it was like getting a long, comforting hug.
On a different note, this year, I also joined the bookstagram community! This summer, I became hopelessly addicted to bookish candles and, inspired by several accounts, decided to take the plunge. So far, I have been LOVING my time on bookstagram. People are sometimes confused when I tell people that one of my hobbies is taking pretty pictures of books… but it’s the first time that I’ve truly felt at home in the social media world. I love blogging and have met some really cool people through WordPress, but often go through dry stretches where I just can’t bring myself to write. Bookstagram isn’t like that. You post a photo or two every few days, come up with a short caption, and you’re good to go. Also, the community is wonderful. While there are lots of readers in the world, I don’t know many who read as passionately and intensely as I do. While I work in a library, not many of my patrons are interested in the genres I like. On bookstagram, though, there are hundreds of people just like me!
I’ve also found that bookstagram is a fantastic creative outlet to help me through grad school. I’ve always been an artist and love to draw, paint, and own several adult coloring books, but don’t always feel up to it. I’ve always liked photography and bookstagram offers the chance to blend art with my love of books. It has been fun experimenting with different styles, setups, angles, and editing processes.
So, while 2017 has been a bit of a dumpster fire for politics and natural disasters, it was a fantastic year in books.
What were some of the best books you read this year? What new releases are you looking forward to next year?