Instead of writing a December Wrap Up, I thought I’d talk about my reading year overall and what I plan to do next year. December has been an awful month of reading, as it’s been a chaotic mess of essays, food, and being distracted by the dog (not to mention the Sims 4 City Living expansion which I put off buying until Christmas). So although I started a couple of books (I’m almost halfway through The Northern Lights, and also have started Fat is a Feminist Word for a book club), not much reading was done in December. Essays are still looming, and I also have to read Paradise Lost for a module that starts in January (help), but I’m sure everything will be fine.
Looking back, I’ve read some absolutely incredible books this year. My top five, in no particular order, are:
- The Martian by Andy Weir – this book surpassed all my expectations, delivering a surprisingly witty read that had me hooked from the get-go.
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – the only book this year that made me cry, slam it closed, and curse out loud on a train. Fantastic writing, a beautiful heart-wrenching story, and characters that truly feel real.
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik – I was so excited to discover this author, and this book has been the one to which I judge other fantasy fairytales (none so far are able to compare).
- Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman – this book still stuns me as it was such a dynamic read. Never before have I read anything like it with the interesting formatting and variety of ways of presenting the story. I really need the sequel.
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – a book so beautiful and enticing that I’m doing it for my dissertation. Rich with detail and transforming a story I thought I knew so well, it’s the perfect example of reimagining a well known story.
Honourable mentions of course to The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye and A Darker Shade of Magic books one and two by V.E. Schwab.
It’s been a great year of reading for me, and I’m shocked that only two fantasy books were in my top five. But one thing I will say is that, although it was great to reach my goal, there were times when I felt slightly stressed about hitting that target. So, instead of saying that in 2017 I’m going to read ‘x’ amount of books, I’ve decided to do something a bit different. In 2017, I’m going to attempt to complete 17 book challenges, and these are the ones I’ve chosen:
- 4 ‘Classics’ (I really haven’t read enough)
- A Man Booker nominee
- A Baileys nominee (another book award)
- A Feminist Book cover to cover
- ‘A Blue Cover’
- A Graphic Novel
- A Horror Book (I never read this genre)
- Finish a series you’ve started
- A friend’s favourite book
- Poetry book
- Book over 500 pages
- Book under 150 pages
- Book with a character with your name
- An autobiography
- A play
- A book from your TBR
- Book published in 2017
I, for one, am excited to get started on 2017’s reading. I wanted a challenge that encouraged me to branch out and read different things – I never really read plays, graphic novels, poetry, or horror, nor do I read much non-fiction outside of university. Having a challenge like this means that I’ve got room to read whatever I like, whether they count towards the challenge or not. In total, if I complete all the challenges, it means I’ll need to read a certain 20 books. As I read just over 50 this year, I’ll be able to get in quite a lot of other books in addition to the challenge (especially my favourite fantasy books).
Here’s to another great year of reading. Hope you all had a great Christmas and best of luck for the new year (whether it’s filled with books or not).