Before I discovered Booktube (because honestly before this year all I ever used YouTube for was songs, live services and ‘how to’ videos. Who knew it’s a full time job and there are all kind of niches out there.) Anyway, before I discovered Booktube, Pinterest used to inform most of book recommendations.
I’ll tell you why I like Booktube, and I say it like I’m following thousands, but in fact I only watch two and follow one. Booktube helps me not go in blind. I know going in blind is the way to go for most people. Not me. I don’t enjoy quitting books halfway because I found out that they are not for me. And sometimes, even though it’s hyped all round the book world, it’s just not for me. So give me the details and save me some precious time.
It’s underwhelming to learn, once I did my tally and all that, that I have read…and finished less than 100 books this year. Above 50 sure (around 65) but still less than 100 in a year where I have had nothing but time. Its unnecessary pressure, I know, so we won’t dwell on it.
Now the books I totally enjoyed this year.
If you’ve read some of the writing on this blog, you probably know about A List of Cages, loved it so much it gave me a book hangover…like really. I kept thinking there was no book would compare to it. I rushed out to recommend it to a few people I knew would appreciate it and wrote about it. The plot was great but I truly fell in love with the characters. We are introduced to two boys who serve as alternating POV throughout the book. One is a model student, well liked by everyone and is tasked to befriend the other, who seems to live in oblivion. But they all have their own personal issues to walk through. I liked the different friendships portrayed and the dynamics they all had to face. What is the book about – friendship (that’s the short of it) . And I’m a sucker for any writing on that topic – you’ll see🤭
A close second – Wonder by R J Palacio (and yes I know I’m a little late to it, like most of the books on this list, but its wonderful!!)
In friendship, we are all debtors. We all owe each other for a thousand small kindnesses, for little moments of grace in the chaos.
If you’re lucky, relationships—with family or friends or boyfriends—are limitless. There’s no maximum on how much you can love each other. The problem is, there’s also no limit to how much you can hurt each other.
I may still be stumbling through these steps, but at least I’m stumbling forward.
The Start of Me and You. I liked the progression of the story. And also for the fact that for a romance it doesn’t dwell so much on it (hehe). It also wasn’t that ‘fell-in-love-in-three-days’ plot that most stories seem to push forward. The plot – our main character starts off the new year with every plan to get her life back in order. Even goes on to write out a list for this which includes getting a boyfriend. (I’m finding that the list move is quite a common trope in these books). Cue the drama. Well not drama, drama. But it’s just such a sweet story with the right amount of everything. Also, it features a well-rounded girlfriend quartet.
A close second; maybe Tweet Cute by Emma Lord or Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith
Sci-fi and Fantasy
I don’t know why I bundled the two genres together, except that I don’t think I read a lot of fantasy this year. (Read The Shadow and Bone trilogy but didn’t enjoy it as much as everybody else seems too.) But I enjoyed Invictus so much, the pages blurred together and I was done with it in probably a day. Can’t be sure but it was one of my fastest reads this year. The plot – our MC is born out of time and his existence causes time to unravel. They need to stop it. Not time; the unraveling. They are a team of five, and we get a glimpse into their thinking even though the story is mostly propelled forward by the actions of one person. Great book. OK, I loved it.
Crime and Mystery
I always want a good mystery but can’t seem to find one. With the release of Eight Perfect Murders (which I’m reading at the moment), I’ve read a number, finished 6 of the 8, started the other two and gave up on the story (yeah, I’m trying to change that habit). So there has been quite a number to choose from but the title goes to And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Honestly, I had felt like I had read this book a year ago, only to read through my journals and find that it was earlier this year, before the pandemic hit in full steam and messed with my concept of time. So this is a pretty common book and you probably already know the plot. Oh well, the plot – ten people make it to an island, none of them leaves.😏
Short story collection
I read only one short story collection this year 🙈forget that I’ve been reading a few short stories every week that made it to Reedsy (I’ve talked about this before). Anyway, there’s the collection ‘What it means when a man falls from the sky’. Interesting title, right!!! I liked the range in the collection, most of it dealt with immigration and family dynamics. I think it was a good look into life from that perspective. It was a good collection. You should read it if you haven’t.
The intensity of the pain gives me a propensity to doubt
Yeah, I also wrote a blog post on this (the books I enjoy feature a lot on this blog) . I picked this book up at just the write time. It informed so much of my perspective on pain and disappointment and that question that I am always ready to utter ‘Where’s God in all this?’. It is a book, I think, that helps you feel seen in your pain and not ignored. It may not carry the definite answers that you seek but it helps reinforce the truth with the backing of scripture. I recommend it if you are going through pain and even if you are not. I think it is something you can easily and constantly come back to.
We don’t get to write from scratch the whole story of our lives. We are given certain plot points that must be incorporated. Maybe we settle when we’ve done the best we can
I should tell you, YA anything is my go-to for reading. I’ve been trying to branch out of it because… I’m getting old… But it still has a hold on me. Please suggest great adult anything you may have. Anyway, Rules for visiting. I also wrote a post based on this book. It features my favourite topic – friendship😅. The main character sets out to find ‘who’s near’ and makes some interesting observations on friendships and life. Also, I thought she had a pretty interesting job and gives some great information on trees.
A close second; The Storied Life of A J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.
Uncategorized (because I’m lazy 🙄)
I realise that I don’t have the wide range of genres here. No Historical Fiction, even though I read Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin which is more properly a history retelling. No biography, even though I picked up I’ll be gone in the dark by Michelle McNamara for true crime but couldn’t finish it…I just picked it up at a time when life was looking bleak and I opted out. Not much for Christian Fiction either, even though I started on the Christiansen series. Or Non-fiction, though I read Failure to Launch because I was looking for books that speak to a quarter life crisis 😣 I think I found myself there during the course of this year.
Anyway, I think this is a good list, even though it’s not exhaustive. Maybe I’ll just make a list of all the books I read in the year because I think a number of them are worth reading.
What books left quite the impression on you this year? Or which ones would you recommend. I’d like to know in the comments.