End of Year Roundup
Number of new books read this year: 106
Number of books reread this year: 11
Number of books by women, trans, and nonbinary people read this year (only counting new books read): 74
Number of books by BIPOC this year (only including new books read): 34
Number of books by disabled authors this year (only including new books read)*: 3
*This can only include authors I know are disabled. More on the list could be and I might not know. Definite room for improvement in this category!
Breakdown by genre
-Fiction: 86 (classics: 6; contemporary fiction: 7; dystopian: 1; fantasy: 34; historical fiction: 10; literary fiction: 8; mystery: 3; romance: 5; science fiction: 7; thriller: 1: YA*: 4)
-Nonfiction: 12 (travel: 3; essays: 1; history: 1; memoir: 5; science: 1; social science: 1)
-Graphic novel: 1 (fantasy)
-Short story collection: 1 (fantasy)
-Poetry: 3 (poetry collection: 1; novel-in-verse: 2)
-Play: 3 (script: 1; audioplay: 2)
*Many of the fantasy, sci-fi, and historical fiction books I read were also in the YA age range.
First Book of the year: The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All by Josh Ritter
Last Book of the year: The Chimes by Charles Dickens
Best Books of the year (in no particular order):
When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill
The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Elektra by Jennifer Saint
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel
The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson
True Biz by Sara Nović
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Lobizona by Romina Garber
The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar
Disability Visability: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century edited by Alice Wong
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
The Overstory by Richard Powers
Time Is A Mother by Ocean Vuong
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
Okay actually there were a lot of really good books I read this year, and I cut myself off but I could have kept going.
Worst books of the year:
The worst books of the year have to be the two I didn’t finish reading: Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds and A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair. But my lowest rated books of the year were Heaven by Mieko Kawakami, which was just far too bleak, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, which was actually good if you skip all the parts about Levin, and Life Ever After by Carla Grauls, which was just not good.
Most read author: Maggie Stiefvater (6 books)
December Books Reread
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater***
**Book Hangover Alert
The Raven Cycle book 4 of 4
The stunning conclusion! I didn’t remember this one super well either. I only remembered the relationship that finally happens in this book (trying not to spoil it). Anyway I still love it. I love all the characters. I love getting to see Henry Cheng join the gang.
5/5 robo bees
Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater***
**Book Hangover Alert
The Dreamer Trilogy book 1 of 3
I still love the Dreamer Trilogy too. I don’t think I love it quite as much as the Raven Cycle but I still love it. I love getting to spend more time with Ronan, and getting to know Jordan and Hennessy, and who could have guessed I would learn to love Declan?? My only qualm rereading this book is that there is a lot of (necessary!) build up to Ronan and Hennessy meeting and beginning to work together.
4/5 forged paintings
Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater***
**Book Hangover Alert
The Dreamer Trilogy book 2 of 3
I actually think I might like this one better than the first one. Not that I don’t love the first one, but this book is where things really start to get exciting. And we get to see the development of Ronan and Hennessy’s relationship and Declan and Jordan’s, and also Matthew’s development, which I adore. I also love Farooq-Lane and Liliana. This is also the first time I’ve reread a book that is already on the blog, so if you’re interested in my original review of Mister Impossible, you can read it here.
The Chimes by Charles Dickens
I really respect that after Dickens wrote an instant classic about ghosts on Christmas, he was like, “I’m going to write more holiday books, and you know what else, besides ghosts, says Christmas? Goblins. That’s what.” Anyway, this book is about goblins. It’s definitely not as good as A Christmas Carol, but still enjoyable. We love a Dickens book in the winter.
New Books Read
A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger***
This was the Big Library Read, so it was available to check out as an ebook to everyone. I read Elatsoe by Little Badger last year so I was excited to read this one. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Elatsoe. I liked the ace representation, we could always use more of that, and I loved learning about the animal people. But I didn’t love the style of prose and I thought the dialogue felt stilted and awkward.
3.5/5 tornados in nesting dolls
The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling
Sequel to the Ex Hex
The Ex Hex was my Book of the Month last year in October and it was delightful, so I wanted to read the sequel. This one focuses on Gwyn, Vivi’s cousin. In the first book, Gwyn is dating Jane, the mayor of Graves Glen. In this book, Vivi and Rhys are happily married and Gwyn falls in love with Rhys’s brother Wells. Not to invalidate bisexual people who are in heterosexual relationships, but I would have liked it more if it was a wlw book. As it was, it was sort of the same story as the first book, enemies to lovers, Jones woman falls in love with Penhallow brother. That being said, it was still a super fun light read. The banter was fabulous and I loved Gwyn and her Baby Witches and Wells was delightful.
3.5/5 bags of edible glitter
Part of My World by Jodi Benson
If you didn’t know, Jodi Benson is the voice of Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I had a chance to hear her give a talk about the book when she visited the Disney College Program here at Disney World. Her memoir is full of fascinating stories from the making of The Little Mermaid including stories about Howard Ashman, Alan Menken, and many others involved in the movie and the Disney company. I also loved reading about Benson’s experiences on Broadway. My only complaint about the book is that it’s pretty preachy. Benson is deeply religious, and though I can agree with many of her philosophies, I’m not that interested in reading about how God is the author of her life and He had a grand plan for her and her life, and He gave her great performing talent so that she could spread the word of God. It felt like the last three paragraphs of every chapter, were all the same: her explaining how the story she just told is part of God’s plan. I also would have liked to see her grapple more with the knowledge that the Church as an institution has caused great harm. One story that stuck out to me was when Benson visited Howard Ashman at the end of his life when he was dying of AIDS. She told him she would pray for him. To her, that was the greatest comfort someone could offer. And maybe she believes God truly does love everyone, but she fails to acknowledge that the Church and religious people have probably told Ashman all his life that he was an abomination going to Hell, because he was gay.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
CW: domestic violence, assault, attempted rape, anti-Black racism, n-word
I thought this book was okay. It does seem overhyped to me. I really liked the way Owens described the marsh and all of the nature writing and descriptions. She did a really good job creating and bringing to life the place of the swamp. I thought the plot was a little weak and Kya was kind of a passive character. I wasn’t interested in the romance aspects of the book, and the murder mystery aspect of the book wasn’t that satisfying. It’s also important to note that Owens is wanted for questioning about an unsolved murder in Zambia. I believe people are innocent until proven guilty, but she certainly isn’t helping the investigation, so take that into consideration before you decide to support the book or movie.
**Book Hangover Alert indicates the kind of book that will leave you full up on love. Satisfied, but wishing the book never had to end. You’ll be laying on the floor with no idea what to do with yourself (other friends have called this feeling Good Book Depression or say that certain books necessitate Floor Time). This is the kind of book that gets its teeth in you and won’t let go easily. After the last page you’ll be thinking about this book for a long time. You’ll bother all your friends trying to get them to read it so that you won’t be alone in your Hangover.
***This book is part of my Books for a Social Conscience series! Read both Stiefvater books for more LGBTQIA+ representation in fantasy. Read A Snake Falls to Earth for Native representation and LGBTQIA+ representation.
Reads marked as part of the Books for a Social Conscience series will regularly address topics like race and racism, colonialism and post-colonialism, LGBTQIA+ experience, feminism, BIPOC experience, social and political issues, history, identity, class, disability experience, immigration, gun violence, poverty, colorism, environmentalism, and more! The goal of these books is to diversify the stories we’re reading, grow our empathy for those who are different from us, and amplify voices who are often silenced.
(I stopped being able to change text color. I don’t know why.)