Typical existential question to ask to kick off the new year: I swear I wrote a recap of 2015 last week?
But seriously folks, I want to start by saying thank you. This blog grew and flourished in 2016, all thanks to your continued support and visits. All of you are spectacular and are absolutely wonderful. Thank you, thank you, thank you! ❤
Today, I want to talk about my top books of 2016. I also want to talk about my favourite posts of 2016, some highlights as a book blogger, and maybe share some of my goals and hopes for 2017.
My Six Favourite Books of 2016
So, without further a do, let’s begin with my top 6 books of 2016!
1. Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee – If all of you don’t know how much I love this book, I’m going to tell you again: I love this book! If I had to choose one favourite book of 2016, I would choose Not Your Sidekick. It’s ownvoices, the protagonist is Chinese/Vietnamese who had a narrative I really connected with, it’s about heroes and villains, it’s also heartmeltingly adorable, and has incredible diverse representation! Thank you to Daisy for recommending me this book. (My review, Goodreads)
2. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – I don’t often read historical fiction, but I loved, loved, loved this story and how it tells of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the deadliest (and yet, largely unknown) maritime disaster in history. I listened to the audiobook for Salt to the Sea; not only were the narrators amazing (one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to!) but the story was so absorbing, intense, and heartrending. Thank you to Jenna for reviewing this book – where I discovered it! (Goodreads)
3. Memory of Light by Francisco X Stork – This book hit a small, soft piece of my soul. It is about mental illness, but what comes after the attempt and perhaps one of the most difficult things for people with mental illness: recovery. Memory of Light isn’t perfect, but I couldn’t help but feel connected to the emotional, quietly powerful, and raw narrative. Thank you to Naz for recommending this book as part of Latinx Heritage Month! (Goodreads)
4. Morning Star by Pierce Brown – Probably one of the best and my favourite conclusions to a series – ever. Though Golden Son is often hailed as the trilogy’s favourite, Morning Star was easily mine – immensely addictive, compelling with its dramatic narrative, and the action intense. Brown brought the whole series with all its threads, character arcs, and political agendas together, and delivered. (Goodreads)
5. Vicious by V.E. Schwab – Vicious was one of the first books that I read this year, but wow, what a book! From the very first page, I was hooked into the story, caught in its web of lies and conspiracies and drama, loved the twist on superpowers, and the dark tale of revenge. Exciting and truly extraordinary from start to finish. To me, Vicious is a classic. (Goodreads)
6. The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu – This eponymous short story ripped my heart out. It’s not perfect, it’s not subtle, it is blatantly sentimental, but The Paper Menagerie tapped into this pain and suffering that I didn’t know I had – grief, past or future, over family, loss, heritage, and love. I wailed reading this book. Wailed. I don’t think a book has evoked such a powerful and visceral reaction from me. This short is deeply personal to me, and was all at once moving, painful, but important. (Goodreads)
Collage of My Bookish Art
(Top-left newest!) I think I can say that I improved!
My favourites were the ones I did for The Forbidden Wish, The Rose Society, The Selection, Simon Vs., and Magonia!
Five Posts I Wrote in 2016 and Am Proud Of
I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I do feel like I have worked hard on my blog in 2016, so indulge me and let me share the five posts that I’m most proud of!
1. Let’s Talk About: The Diversity ‘Catch-22’ – Misrepresentation vs. No Representation – I break down the ‘diversity catch-22’, talk about the problems of misrepresentation and no representation, and what readers and writers can do to incorporate diversity into their works and reading.
2. Let’s Talk About: My Problem With The Word ‘Diverse’ – In this post, I critically analyze how ‘diverse’ isn’t the best word to use to describe an individual’s identity, and how it can perpetuate otherness.
3. Let’s Talk About: ‘Issues’ Stories, Happy Stories & Why We Need Both – This post is tied to my personal journey of reading. In the past, I wanted ‘issues’ stories. Now? I want the happier kind. In this post I discuss the positives of ‘issues’ stories, of happy stories, and why we definitely need both.
4. The Sociology of: Hex, Fear, and the Panopticon – This post is the first of its kind (The Sociology Of), but hopefully not the last! I loved the themes of fear in Hex, so I wrote a sociological analysis of how fear is examined in the book.
5. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – Though I have since moved away from including in-depth critical analysis in my reviews, the themes of More Happy Than Not were similar to an essay I wrote for a Sociology paper back in the day (jokingly referred to as my magnum opus), hence why I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Five Highlights and Things I Am Grateful For
1. I started reading more diversely and became more committed to diversity in books and I am enjoying it so, so much. Reading diverse books, especially #ownvoices books, is such a wonderful and humbling experience. Reading diversely and reading about different perspectives, ideas, and characters have helped shape me to become a better, more aware reader and individual. More so, reading diversely has been so much more fun and interesting!
2. I’ve met so many new bloggers through our shared passion for reading and diversity! If I could name them all, I would, so for now, you know who you are! I’ve met so many wonderful and inspiring people this year through blogging or book Twitter, and I’ve made so many new friends and I am so lucky and happy to be able to call so many of you my friends. ❤
3. I’m now comfortable with my blog’s identity, and I’m happy with it. It’s a small thing, but it means the world to me! All through last year, I really struggled with my blog’s identity. It was like a constant itch on my side and I felt so discontent with it sometimes. But I think I’ve finally found my blog’s identity and have figured out what I want my blog to offer.
4. I received my first physical ARC from a publisher! My big thanks to the team at Hachette NZ who provided me with my first physical ARCS – Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between as well as Hex. I thought New Zealand was too small for such privileges, so I am very grateful!
5. This is a small thing, but it means the world to me: I am grateful for the time that I had to read, the privilege of reading and being able to read, and my library. I think the very act of reading and to be in possession of a book is a privilege and luxury that most of us take for granted. More so, the fact that I can read as well, and had the education to read – a privilege that many people do not have. Furthermore, my library – champions of reading, safe spaces for knowledge, and community. I’ve used the library so much this year, it is such a valuable resource, and I am eternally grateful for everything the library provides.
My Bookish Goals for 2017
I don’t know if I’ll be reading much in 2017 when postgrad/grad school starts up. All I know is that I’ll be giving postgrad my absolute all, and my blog will come after that and time with my loved ones. It’s definitely an uncertain time! With that in mind though, I don’t want to let go of my love for books completely, so, here are my two very simple goals:
- Read at least 25 books in 2017.
- Ensure that at least half of the books I read in 2017 are diverse books.
And, that’s it! The two things that will matter most to me, and that I will prioritize.
Blog-wise, I hope to continue posting as much as I can, but my level of involvement in Twitter and the blogosphere will be limited. 😔 I’ll be doing my best to keep up the posts, especially my Diversity Spotlight Thursdays and monthly Book Rec posts. No promises for now, but I’ll hope you understand!
Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2017
There are so, so many good and exciting books coming out next year, but I thought I’d make my top ten list! (Because six was definitely not enough.)
- When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (May 30th 2017)
- Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han (May 2nd 2017)
- Iron Gold by Pierce Brown (August 22nd 2017)
- I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo (May 30th 2017)
- The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (March 7th 2017)
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (February 28th 2017)
- Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (February 7th 2017)
- Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee (TBA)
- Warcross by Marie Lu (TBA)
- Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (May 16th 2017)
I’m looking forward to 2017 – I have hope. I mean, for one, just look at the diverse books that we can all look forward to!
I know 2016 was a rough year for many of us and the world, but I have hope that these hardships and turns of history have taught us how we can move forward. I’m under no illusions that 2017 will have its fair share of terrible things, but I am hoping for better, little by little.
I’m currently taking a short break from blogging and book Twitter, so normal posting and commenting will resume on the 9th of January. See all of you then! 💖
Friends, I wish you all the best year, filled with happiness, learning, contentment, peace, and many many good books!
- What are some of your new year resolutions?
- What books are you looking forward to in 2017?
- What was your favourite book of 2016? (Pick three!)
- What are your hopes for 2017?