There are a ton of books I want to get to this year… my ever-expanding TBR is a looking at me. These, though, are the ones I want to make a priority. I’m terrible with new releases but I managed to find 8 that I really want to get to. Add to that the backlist books I’ve been swearing I’ll get to for a while… Most of these are standalones or the first book in a series, because I have so many of those they’re getting their own post. I hope I can look back on this list at the end of the year and not end up an utter failure.
‘Tis time to set goals for this year.
I’m famously bad at keeping my New Year’s resolutions. I’m the typical person that manages to walk/eat healthily/write for about a week before things go back to the way they were. That doesn’t mean I don’t manage to set goals for myself and follow them through. I do write/eat healthily nearly everyday; it’s just the time of the year when I started doing those things wasn’t anywhere near January. For me, the wish to change has to come from somewhere else than a new year.
That is why these are all goal that have been over due for a time. Some I’ve already started even. I just want to put them all down to hold myself accountable, and maybe commiserate a bit with some of you that struggle with the same things.
1. Read more from ownvoices authors
Last year I wasn’t as mindful as I could have been when it came to reading from marginalized voices. By the end of the year, I picked up many writers of color and found amazing books as a result. So yeah, this year I’ll definitely make the effort to seek out ownvoices authors in the genres that I love.
2. Read less books by US authors
Honestly I think the discussion of diversity in the book community kind of falls short regarding non-English books (I mean this a whole, not individual bloggers btw). I want to change that when it comes to my own reading. I often just refrain from picking books just because they’re translated, but it’s dumb because right now the translation is the only way I could access those stories. And I can read in Spanish soo… Yeah, this will be the year of me reading less American authors.
3. Take my time while reading
I don’t want to rush through books like I did last year. If a book took me more than five or four day to finish, I would start getting really frustrated. It wasn’t even the book’s fault! So I just want to read when I want, and I know that I’ll come across books I won’t be able to put down. With the others, I just want to be okay taking my time.
4. Finish the series I start
I have a shelf on Goodreads specifically for the series I want to finish… and, oh boy, they’re a lot.
5. Get more into poetry
I want to read a lot more poetry this year. I read some contemporary this year and really enjoyed it! I do have to say, the simplistic-Kaur style is kind of not for me, but I am interested into the awesome stuff that is being published. I also want to read more classical stuff. I have a collected edition of Yeats’ poetry and I’ve loved what I have read from it so far. I don’t know… I just want to get lost in words this year.
1. Not stop
I still think it’s a miracle that I’ve written nearly everyday for the last two years. I’m so bad at, like, keeping up habits that I just thought this writing thing would fizzle out. Seven books later, my worst year is that it could still happen. So yeah, let’s hope it won’t.
2. Get myself a critique partner
I feel ready to have someone actually read my books. It’s hard to think of my stories objectively, so having a person who could read over them and actually tell me what works hahah it would be a lifesaver. Also I’m terrified because no one has gone near my books yet.
3. Tighten my prose
While writing, this is probably the aspect I neglect the most. Although my last novel has given me a lot of room to experiment, sometime I feel like I’m writing on auto-pilot, just getting through character beats and plot points. When I first started writing, words were amazing on themselves, I was as in love with them as with the story. I hope I can return to that.
4. Write what scares me
This is kind of one of those goal I’m technically already doing. Writing my current novel has been such a challenge. I feel like I’m learning to write all over again because it is so different from everything I’ve written before. Structurally, character-wise, plot-wise, I feel lost and can’t stop second guessing myself. But I want to keep doing it, because it’s going to make a better writer. So yeah, break out of my comfort zone.
5. Get into more poetry
This one ties in with 3 & 4. I’ve made some terrible attempts at poetry before, but they were fun. Again, I want fall in love with words once more, and what is poetry but words at their most exposed. And whenever I’ve tried to write it, I feel like I don’t know enough about poetry (so that’s another reason why I want to read more). Like I’m just not smart enough for it.
Fuck that, I’m going to try regardless.
Title: The Bear and Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Series: Winternight trilogy #1
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
This book won’t be for everyone. It is a quiet sort of story, half a fairytale and half a historical tale. It cares more about ambience and character than a speedy plot. I ended up really enjoying, but not quite falling into its spell.
Time to change things up a bit!
From now on, I’ll be participating in WWW every Wednesday. I rarely get to talk about the books I don’t review, which is kind of sad. This is the perfect way to showcase those sorts of books without having to be as thorough as I like to be when reviewing. Also I’m such a mood reader that this is the closest thing you’ll get to seeing a TBR on my blog.
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
So let’s dive in.
I’m halfway through The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. It’s one of those books that is just so objectively good in every way that sooo many high fantasy books I’ve read recently are retroactively paling in comparison. The conversational voice works surprisingly well for a book as dark as this. My only complaint is that it’s a bit emotionally taxing to read, not only for its themes of oppression but also its descriptions of disaster. Having lived through two damaging earthquakes last year, I have to say I was left with a knot in my stomach after reading a certain chapter. I guess that also speaks to how evocative the writing is.
I’ve just finished An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire, the third book in the October Daye series. The jump in quality between the first two and this one is huge. I’m glad I had patience with the first two, because they’re not bad books, and they do a well job setting up the characters. But here McGuire plays around with Fae lore in a genuinely original way. The stuff with the candle is just brilliant and oh-so-creepy. Also there was a car chase scene which is just hilarious. This one was definitely a lot less tell-y than the previous too, and I can’t wait to continue. I probably won’t be doing full reviews for these, so they’re kinda the reason why I wanted to do this meme.
Confession… I sort of already started the audiobook of Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (look at me! being all responsible about the series I start). To be fair, I was traveling so I had a long train ride so I listened to like the first two hours, but I was traveling… A lot of things were happening then, so by now I’ve now lost the thread of the story and need to get back into this world. I really enjoyed The Diviners, and I’ve heard this book is even better to many people, so I’m excited. Also I’m dying to know what everyone’s powers are! (Also I don’t know which of the two covers I hate more whyyyy).
This tag was created by The Orangutan Librarian, as was the lovely graphic. It’s all about the books that are exceptions to rules, like the dreaded love triangle or the very tiresome chosen ones. As I’ve said before, I don’t think tropes are inherently bad or good; they’re the building blocks of all stories at the end of the day. It’s a matter of execution. A talented writer can do wonders with even the most tedious tropes. Although, let’s be real I kind of love to generalize, it’s nice to have a tag specifically to remind us that there are no hard rules to good writing.
#NOTALL COVER CHANGES – A COVER CHANGE YOU LIKED
The redesign might hint less of what a punch in the gut this book is, but I adore that the bikes and planes make an appearance.
#NOTALL ADAPTATIONS – AN ADAPTATION YOU LOVE MORE THAN THE BOOK
I remember having been incredibly frustrated with the pace of Catching Fire, the book. And yet the movie works wonders without having altered much of the material. Magic.
#NOTALL TROPES – A TROPE YOU’LL NEVER TIRE OF SEEING
Books about the Power Of Friendship TM will be the death of me. I just love when the driving force is friendship rather than romance.
#NOTALL INSTALOVE – YOU INSTALOVED THIS INSTACOUPLE
The angst in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is unbelievable and yet it totally works. Bonus points for doing the instalove thing twice for, like, the same couple.
#NOTALL LOVE TRIANGLES – AN EXAMPLE OF LOVE TRIANGLE DONE WELL
Was there ever any other answer than The Infernal Devices? No one is a dick because there is soooo much love between all three parties. The OT3 of my soul.
#NOTALL PARENTS – BOOKISH PARENTS THAT, YOU KNOW, PARENT!
Starr’s parents in The Hate U Give are actually fully realized characters with a lot of flaws of their own. This doesn’t keep them from being excellent parents.
#NOTALL VILLAINS – A VILLAIN YOU LOVE
I don’t want to go deep into whom I considered the villain of Vicious. Not only would it make for a long post but also spoil this amazing story. Sooo let’s leave a simple THIS WHOLE FREAKING BOOK.
#NOTALL CHOSEN ONES – A CHOSEN ONE YOU CAN GET BEHIND
Deathless is a deconstructive take on fairytales, so I really love how it portrays its protagonist, Marya, the girl chosen to be the bride of the eponymous character.
#NOTALL HYPED BOOKS – A BOOK THAT LIVED UP TO THE ACCLAIM
Ahhh, it’s so nice when it happens.
#NOTALL *INSERT FAVOURITE GENRE* – A BOOK YOU’RE NOT KEEN ON FROM YOUR FAVOURITE GENRE
I really, really like historical fiction, but I just cannot like a Sepetys book and I tried twice. I just don’t jibe with her narrative priorities… and don’t think her writing is as beautiful as people say sorry.
#NOTALL *INSERT LEAST FAVOURITE GENRE* – A BOOK YOU LIKED FROM A GENRE YOU DON’T OFTEN READ
Might Celeste Ng be the author that gets me to dive into contemporary literary fiction? I guess will have to wait and see, but needless to say Everything I Never Told You was one of my favorite reads of the last year.
If you feel like doing this too, be sure to tag me or leave a link on the comments!