I know it’s kind of late for a ‘best of 2018’ post, but here it is anyway.
It’s been cold and snowy in Albany for the last few days; what I think of as hibernation weather, and in my mind hibernating means books and tea. There’s nothing worse to me than being out of reading materials and not having the means to get to the library or even download eBooks. I don’t care if I run out of bread or milk during a storm, but if I run out of books I guarantee I’ll go stir crazy.
Anyway, thinking about books is making me evaluate the books I read last year. I fell far short of my Goodreads challenge goal, which sucks, but I did read some good stuff. Here are my favorites, in no particular order.
The Lost Queen by Signe Pike
I absolutely loved this book. It gives some historical context to the Arthurian legend, which I’ve been obsessed with since I was a kid and saw Disney’s The Sword in the Stone. I reviewed this book in some depth a few months ago and it’s really stuck with me.
Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Yes, it’s YA, but it has a really interesting premise. A few of the main characters are also LGBT+ but not in a “OMG LOOK WE HAVE GAYS” kind of way. It’s more like, “Some boys love boys and some girls love girls and other people love both, and it’s fine”, and I really appreciate that. I haven’t read a lot of fiction with a very visible bisexual character so that’s pretty cool. I also reviewed this book in some depth, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
More YA. I know these are two different books but they’re the first two in the series, so I might as well talk about them together.
These books take place in the future when world governments have been replaced by an omniscient, benevolent computer overlord that’s figured out how to eliminate crime, poverty, war, and disease. People are immortal and the only means of population control are the Scythes, a select group of people given the power to permanently end life.
The story focuses on two teenagers, Citra and Rowan, who are unwilling pawns in a much larger power struggle within the Scythedom. There’s intrigue, violence, morality, ethics, suspense… these books have it all. It took a bit to get into both of them, but I really enjoyed them.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
This is the last YA book, I promise.
This is another one I reviewed in more depth last year, and I’ve since also read the second installment of the series but I didn’t like it as much. Long book short, this is about a set of triplets who are separated when they’re tiny kids and raised in separate households and have to kill each other, and the last one alive is crowned queen. It’s weird and dark and I like it.
The Address by Fiona Davis
Over the last few years, there’s been a resurgence of interest in The Dakota, the Gothic-style apartment building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where John Lennon lived, and where Mark David Chapman shot him in December 1980. I’m not sure why, but there have been multiple books and stories about the building, and because I love history, John Lennon, and Gothic architecture, I’m interested in all of them.
This book has two stories happening simultaneously a century apart. They take true elements from the construction of the building and its original occupants and adds fictional characters and situations with some elements of mystery, however predictable, in the more contemporary story. Some of the narrative elements, like the appearance of Nelly Bly, are a bit convenient, but overall I found it interesting and enjoyable to read.
The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outta the Dark by Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan, Corey Ryan Forrester
Part memoir, part comedy book. I’ve seen standup from all three of these dudes and even though they live in places like New York City and LA, they’re still extremely connected to their Southern roots. In this book, they talk about being Liberals in a sea of Conservatives, but they also talk about their homes, their families, the things they struggled with growing up, etc. I like reading about other peoples’ lives so this is right up my alley. Plus I think Trae is hot.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, is one of the most ridiculous and funny writers I’ve ever come across. She struggles with some of the same mental health issues that I do, and she’s extremely open about it, not only in her blog but also in this book. I find her, and the essays in this book, especially relatable, not only because of the mental health stuff but also in the way she approaches life. Some of the things she’s been through are serious and scary, which she acknowledges, but she has such a dry, dark sense of humor that she can write about these things and leave the reader (me) in hysterical laughter. This is her first book, and I highly recommend her second book, and also her self-care coloring book. Buy/read them. You won’t be sorry.
Did you read anything particularly noteworthy last year? Or even this year. I want your recommendations!