Hello everyone, and welcome back!
Thanksgiving (in Canada) has just passed, and controversial though that holiday is (we’re still not great to our First Nations peoples), I do still like the idea of thinking back on what we’re thankful for (and pumpkins, and dinner feasts).
So I thought I’d do something similar to what I did last year and talk a bit about some books I’m thankful for. Not so grandly over the course of my life, but since I started this blog. As much as I like being a blogger and a reader, reading and blogging can be tough to keep up with consistently when you work other day (and/or night) jobs, and a bunch of mediocre reads or poorly-performing posts in a row can really get you down.
So I think it’s important to give a nod to the books that make me keep wanting to do this, for coming along just when I need them. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
I know, I know, this book shows up on basically every “good” book list I make. But when I started this blog last year, I was already partway through a challenge for myself where I intended to read 95 books for the year (I ended up reading 128, which by this year’s standards seems ridiculous), and a lot of the things I’d read were, well, not awesome. So this was an early reminder that books could still make me cry, make me smile, and leave me happy. (Along these lines: I’ll Give You the Sun, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.)
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
After almost a year of reading books where sexual assault (or a threat of sexual assault) was used as a trope to make a heroine’s story more tragic or show how valiantly her love interest could save her, it was a deep, deep relief to read a book like this, one that takes sexual assault seriously and deals with its aftermath and the way it seeps into every corner of someone’s life. (Along these lines but much darker: The Female of the Species.)
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Just when I thought I was ready to give up on dystopians, here comes a utopian (but kind of dystopian, really) world to change my mind. (This was extra timely, because it was the second book in a reading marathon where the first book was The Bone Season, a really loved book online that I ended up absolutely disliking for the awful romance.) Shusterman’s spin on the dystopia in Scythe is super refreshing, and this book was a lot of fun. I have to keep my fingers crossed I’ll still feel thankful for it once I read the sequel, but I’m hoping I’ll continue enjoying this world and its characters. This year I read another Shusterman book, Unwind, and he paints another very interesting dystopian world, but I feel like his writing has…maybe developed since then? (Along these lines but in the sci-fi genre: Defy the Stars was a pleasant surprise, and proof I should keep on hoping for great sci-fi.)
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
This book is very difficult to describe, but it revolves around a setting and pairs of people who meet each other in it. It’s really a unique, different concept and it relies on fleshing out a common setting and telling the stories of the connections between people to drive the mystery/adventure/horror/whatever it is forward. This book was a reminder that I could still be completely surprised, that some books will defy categorization and set aside genre patterns. (Along these lines, but more historical fiction and less conceptual: The Smell of Other People’s Houses, which I loved.)
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
While there were definitely other books that I enjoyed reading in my second chances series (Three Dark Crowns, Six of Crows, etc.), it was this book that made it hit home that my blog series where I take second chances on authors, which is probably the only real series I have going on here, is actually a really worthwhile thing. I really liked this book (and there’s no sequel to make me feel differently about it, thankfully), and it retained those aspects of style and character I liked in her previous novel while, in my opinion, evolving quite a bit past it. That’s the kind of thing that make second chances worth the while!
Which books have kept you reading over the past couple of years? Are there any that really affected you? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll speak to you again soon!