Since we’re midway through the year, this seemed like an apt and fun tag to try out. I found it on Irene’s blog, and she’s always finding great tags to try out, so I’m always grateful for that. Let’s, as the title suggests, freak out!
1. Best book you’ve read in 2017 so far
Immediately I’m hit with the hardest question ever. I’ve been having a great reading year so far, but I’ll try to narrow it down. Let’s call it a three-way tie. Cyrion by Tanith Lee, Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, and Dawn by Octavia Butler. These are three books that have all become instant favorites, and there were even others it hurt to leave out. My top ten list at the end of the year is going to be a pain to collate.
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017
I’d say the fourth book in Tanith Lee’s Secret Books of Paradys, The Book of the Mad. It was the best installment in the whole series and concluded things on such a high note. I recommend the series as a whole, but that book is especially rewarding. I need to read more sequels, just as a note. Continue more series, dang it, she insisted to herself.
3. New release that you haven’t read but want to
I’ve been surprisingly good at keeping up with the new books I’ve wanted to read this year, but Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman has gotten away from me. First off, I need the money to buy it. Secondly, even if I did have it in my hands right now, so many other books are taking my attention. Still, I really do want to get to this one at some point, since Bird Box was so amazing.
4. Most anticipated releases for the other half of the year
Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King. I’m always ready for the new King novel to drop, but this being a collaboration with his son and a really intriguing idea, I’m chomping at the bit. Also, Strange Weather, the new Joe Hill. I wasn’t impressed with The Fireman at all, but I’m hoping this upcoming collection will make me remember my love for Hill’s work.
5. Biggest disappointment
There have been a handful, but the prize definitely goes to Baal by Robert McCammon. I’ve genuinely loved his work, so much so that Swan Song is one of my favorite books of all time. Baal was such a poor piece of writing from someone I know can do so much better. I think that’s the definition of disappointment right there. I knew it didn’t need to be this bad.
6. Biggest surprise
Shaun Tan! I’d heard people praise him up and down, but I didn’t expect to be as blown away by him as I was. The Arrival is such a simple, universal story, and he manages to make it hold so much power. Definitely didn’t see my obsession with him coming.
7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you)
Octavia Butler, this one obviously being new only to me. Her work is so well-written and deeply thought out. Her world-building and character development is second-to-none. Her books are overwhelming in their scope and moving in their messages. I can’t wait to read everything she’s ever written.
8. Newest fictional crush
Now I get to be girly for a second. I’m currently in the middle of Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey, and I’ve fallen head-over-heels with Ushahin Dreamspinner. This book has no fandom, so I’m dying over here wishing there was fan art or fan fic or something, and I’m so bereft. Everyone read this book so we can create a fandom for it, please. I’m begging you.
9. Newest favorite character
Ushahin still counts, surely, but if we’re talking about characters I’m not necessarily crushing on, I’m strangely fascinated by Nikanj from Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler. It would take a minute to explain what Nikanj even is, since it’s an alien whose preferred pronoun is it. It’s a third gender called ooloi. That exploration alone is pretty interesting, but it gets even more in depth than that as we explore this line Nikanj walks between being totally non-human and also being very sympathetic toward humans and understanding their ways better than any of its kin. Butler really created something special with Nikanj.
10. Book that made you cry
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. There’s a scene toward the end of the first volume where Marjane knows she’ll have to leave Iran, the only home she’s ever known. She’ll be going to France without her parents, and she’s excited but scared. Her grandmother gives her some very sound advice for navigating the world:
“In life you’ll meet a lot of jerks. If they hurt you, tell yourself that it’s because they’re stupid. That will help keep you from reacting to their cruelty. Because there is nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance… Always keep your dignity and be true to yourself.”
Marjane realizes she doesn’t know when she’ll ever see her grandmother again, and it’s a very poignant moment that, yes, made me cry.
11. Book that made you happy
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris. I love Loki as a character, and what she does with him here is exactly what I wanted really. She clearly had a lot of fun with this book, and it makes it a blast to read. Very exciting with a lot of humor in it, and I thoroughly enjoyed this experience.
12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far (or received)
The Goblins of Labyrinth by Brian Froud. I mean, obviously, because it’s a book of artwork. So that was an easy answer.
13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
So many. I have series I want to finish. I have new ones I want to start. I’m very good at coming up with new obsessions on the fly, so who knows what will be calling my name before the year is out?
Thanks for reading, and as always, happy geeking!
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