2016 At A Glance & Onward to 2017!

recap-2016-2017

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.

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My Six Favourite Books of 2016

So, without further a do, let’s begin with my top 6 books of 2016!

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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)

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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)

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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!

graphic-collage

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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.

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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 HexI 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.

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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:

  1. Read at least 25 books in 2017.
  2. 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!

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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.)

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  • 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)

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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?
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53 thoughts on “2016 At A Glance & Onward to 2017!

  1. First of all your bookish art is gorgeous! You are very talented.
    My favorite three books I read in 2016 were Yes Please, Serpent King, and The Night Circus.
    My hopes for 2017 are to grow my blog a bit, and keep chipping away at the loads of amazing books out there.

    • Thank you so much Siobhan!

      Ooh, I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about The Serpent King! I’ve also heard that it’s broken a few hearts so I’m (actually!) looking forward to that, hehe.

      I wish you all the best for your hopes and goals for 2017! I’ve followed your blog so, +1 for growth (I hope)! ❤

  2. Eek! Sounds like you had a fantastic reading year! I have not read any of your favorites… *covers eyes* They are all on my TBR (except for the last one, which of course I had to add), so hopefully I get to read some of them soon! I’m looking forward to a lot of the same books in 2017! All of the covers look SO GORGEOUS and I think it’s going to be a year of some of the best books yet!
    -Amy

  3. I’m so excited for I believe in a thing called Love too! I’m just excited in general for all these Asian models on book covers :)
    I’m so glad you had a great reading/blogging year CW! And I hope 2017 will be even better!
    PS: I love your bookish collage

  4. I love this post CW! I especially loved that part where you said you’ve finally found your blog’s identity! ❤ I can totally relate! Here’s to a great new year ahead! Xo, Kat

    • Hi Kat!

      Aw, thank you so much! And YES! I can’t believe I struggled so much with it… I’m so happy that I’ve found an identity/look/feel that I am content with. I don’t think I’ll be having any crises.

      Happy New Year to you too! I hope you have an amazing year, Kat! Wishing you all the best! ❤

  5. Such a great recap post, CW ♥ I can’t wait to read Not Your Sidekick! I want to try and get to Vicious, Red Rising and Salt to the Sea this year.

    I’m also super excited for Bone Witch and The Hate U Give!!!

    Your bookish art is so stunning 😍

  6. This was such an incredibly fun read! <3 I ordered Not Your Sidekick last week and I didn't think I could be more excited to pick it up, until I read this. I'll pick it up the second I finish my current reads!
    Also, your bookish art is incredible! You're so talented, wow :)

    • Hi Laura!

      AHH yay! I’m so so excited that you ordered NYS. <3 Let me know what you think when you read it, okay!? I can't wait to hear what you think — even if it isn't your fave.

      Aw, thank you! That means a lot to me. ❤ I hope 2017 is amazing for you!

  7. It seemed like 2016 was an awesome year for you CW, so many accomplishment! :D I read Vicious this year and loved it SO MUCH! It was just so good and probably my favorite of all Schwab’s book? At least it’s a tie with ADSOM hahaha I just finished Salt to the Sea and I… didn’t love it as much as I expected 😂 buuut I’m so excited for Not Your Sidekick and The Memory Light! <3

    Your bookish arts are increbibly GORGEOUS! My favorites would be The Rose Society and The Secret of a Heart Note. May I ask what software you use? :P I also love your highlights of the year and your 2017 goals! Hope everything goes well <3 As for your question, my main resolution this year would be to finally write my novel :D

    • Thank you so much Puput!

      Life-wise, 2016 wasn’t the best, but reading-wise, 2016 was one of the best reading years I’ve ever had! I’m very hopeful for 2017, particularly that I now have a new perspective!

      Wasn’t Vicious amazing?! It’s my favourite Schwab book too! I like ADSOM, but Vicious has that *something* that makes it my favourite.

      Hehe that’s okay! I’m not sure why but I REALLY connected to Salt to the Sea! But, I hope you enjoy Memory of Light and Not Your Sidekick, especially the latter. <3

      Aw, thank you so much! The Rose Society art is one of my favourites too – it was something I did on a whim! I use Adobe Photoshop Elements and I have an Intuos tablet!

      Oooh, I wish you ALL the best for your novel, Puput!! You can do it and I believe in you!

  8. Just curious (and I did read your post on your problems with the word), but how do you plan on defining “diverse” books for your 2017 goals? And do you plan to have a certain percentage of those diverse books be #ownvoices titles? I’d love to hear any titles/authors that you currently have in mind!

    • Hi there!
      I aim to read as many ownvoices books as I can, but I do recognize that not all the books I’ll be reading will be ownvoices. So my definition of ‘diverse’ – in respect to my 2017 goals – will be books that explore/portray characters with marginalized identities. I hope that means sense!

      At this point of time, I’m not aiming for a certain percentage as I’m not too sure how much I’ll be reading when I begin my postgrad studies – so it is how ever many I can, whenever I can!

      I have a page here: https://readthinkponder.wordpress.com/diversity-%F0%9F%8C%88/ and it has all the diverse books that I’ve read so far! I hope that helps!

      • Makes perfect sense! I was just curious if you were hoping for a certain percentage of #ownvoices or anything. I’m loving that you’ve read Saga, btw 😉 Might I suggest How we Became Human by Joy Harjo? It’s poetry, so it would be a quick read. Joy is a member of the Muscogee Nation.

        • Oops, realized my typo in my first reply! *makes, hehe.

          Ah, of course! I welcome any questions, so that’s completely fine!
          Saga is brilliant! I haven’t read the latest issue, but am looking forward to doing so.

          Thank you very much for the recommendation! I don’t read much poetry, but am very eager to try something new and different. I’ve checked in my library’s ebook database, and they don’t have it! I’ve recommended it to them for purchase, so hopefully that arrives soon. <3

  9. Wishing you a happy new year, filled with love and books and success <3 <3 Your blog is one of my favorites and I am so happy to hear you're feeling content with what you want to do and where you want to go with it. This is the best feeling. Also, all of your bookish art is stunning, I swear it gets prettier every single time, I love it.
    I really want to read Not Your Sidekick sometime soon, you made me want to buy it so badly ahah :)

    • Oh Marie, thank you so much!

      I hope you have a wonderful 2017 and I hope you find all the amazing books. <3

      AW, goodness, that means so much to me. *hugs you* I'll remember your words whenever I feel sad. Thank you so much Marie. <3

      Not Your Sidekick is soooo good! You know how much I don't shut up about it, hehehe. <3

  10. I also love Salt to the Sea and Vicious! Not Your Sidekick is definitely at the top of my TBR for 2017; I hear nothing but wonderful things about it. Oh my gosh, all of your bookish art is STUNNING! I especially love what you did for Simon vs. and ADSOM. Being satisfied with your blog’s identity is such an underrated thing, but it’s so important!! I’m also really looking forward to When Dimple Met Rishi, Always and Forever Lara Jean, The Hate U Give, and Flame in the Mist. Happy New Year to you! :)

    • Hi Madalyn!

      Oh gosh, thank you so much for your kind words. <3 Not Your Sidekick is a book you will nooooot regret reading! It's just spectacular and adorable and, ah, good feelings. I really hope you enjoy it when you read it!

      Oh thank you!! I really appreciate that, especially re: ADSOM. The lines took ridiculously long to do?! (Probably because I was very picky about the lines, haha. So it's my fault!)

      Ahhh great choices! I'm looking forward to those ones too. I hope you have a fantastic 2017 filled with amazing books! <3

  11. I loved Salt to the Sea too! I pretty much turned into a full-blown Ruta Sepetys fangirl this year, haha. 2017 has so many amazing books coming out this year. I’m really looking forward to The Hate U Give, The Bone Witch, and When Dimple Met Rishi. It looks like you had a great 2016 and I hope 2017 is just as good, if not better, for you!

  12. Okay, so, I haven’t read any of your 6 best books, and I think I need to do something about it. Like, now.

    I am so happy that there is another Lara Jean book coming out! I figured the series was done. I think it was one of the best YA contemporary series happening at the moment. Lara Jean’s voice is so convincingly young, and yet despite that, Jenny Han manages to explore some really serious subject matter.It makes me happy that a series about teen romance can inject so much feminism into the mix.

    I find the way you approach blogging so helpful. It was because of your attitude – self care above blogging, i.e. the sensible approach – that I felt able to admit to myself that what I needed was to step away for a little while. Thank you for that :)

    • Hi Lydia! (girl, I miss you.)

      Ahh you must!! I think you’d like Not Your Sidekick, Memory of Light, and maybe Vicious. <3

      ME TOO! I was over the moon about another Lara Jean book. I really loved P.S. I Still Love You, but the ending felt quite abrupt for me.
      I completely agree! I really appreciate LJ's young voice – it's something that a lot of authors are very hesitant to do, but *I* was like that when I was a teenager so. <3

      Aw, I'm so, SO glad that you could take a step back and self-care. I hope you are doing well, by the way. <3

      • I’m back! Mostly. I came back and then last week was busy (I did some work experience at a magazine. I might actually become a grown up 2017?) so I didn’t end up blogging but this week I actually will. I’ve even written a post!

        I am doing a lot better, thank you. I hope you’re good xx

  13. I love this post and I’m so glad that there’s a Schwab book in here haha. I really need to read Not Your Sidekick ASAP, specially with how much you recommend it.
    I hope you have an amazing 2017, that you accomplish all the goals you set out to do and I’m so thankful and grateful to be able to call you my friend ❤️

    • Thank you so much Sara!

      Hehe, Vicious is amazing. I can’t wait until Vengeful but I think it’s only going to be out next year? *cries*

      Not Your Sidekick is – I’m going to tell you again because I HAVE to <3 – one truly amazing book.

      Aw, thank you! I hope your 2017 will be bright, happy, and fulfilling, my friend. <3 I am thankful to call you my friend too!! *squishy hugs you*

      • Yeah she has a lott of stuff on her plate. Our Dark Duet comes out this year and she’s not finished with it yet, she has a blog tour for ACOL, etc haha Vengeful won’t be here anytime soon
        I will! I will! I just need to squeeze it in somewhere haha
        ❤️❤️❤️😘😘😘

    • Hi Emily!

      YOU DO. Not Your Sidekick is a fantastic book, and, dare I say it, everyone that I’ve rec’d the book to ended up really liking it!

      Memory of Light is amazing. It broke my heart and mended it together in one sweep.

      Aw, thank you! I need to get on it and start reading blogs again. I’m going to visit your blog now! I have no excuse. <3

  14. As per usual, I am in love with your art!!! 💖 It sounds like you had an amazing year. I won’t ever forget how we were both having blog hiatuses at the same time. I personally struggled with my blog’s identity as well. I know how it feels and I know how awful it can be at times, so it makes me very happy that you overcame it!

    Cheers to an even better year ahead of us!

    • Aww, thank you so much Shealea!

      Hehe, I remember that too! <3 I'm so happy that I met you, and it's so cool to see that we're back at it and blogging again.

      Thank you! Wishing you an amazing 2017 with lots of amazing books! <3

  15. i love your bookish art so much! you’re so talented cw!!
    i see quite a few books in this post that i better get on to. not your sidekick has been on my tbr for so long, why haven’t i read it yet???!! 2017 looks like a good year for books, i honestly cant wait to read them all!

    • Ahh thank you so, so much Chelsea!! <3

      Oh, you must must read Not Your Sidekick! You won't regret it, and I have this feeling that you'll enjoy it!

      I agree. 2017 is very exciting so I can't wait too. I hope you discover all the amazing books this year, Chelsea!

  16. Your Illustrations are gorgeous CW! And I really love your diversity catch 22 post, it’s explain exactly what I want to say :D (I’m terrible with words). I also want to read more diverse books, and nonfiction next year, but basically I want to cut down my reading because I want to find other things other than reading :D

    Have an amazing 2017!

    • Hi Tasya!

      Thank you so much! I spend a shameful amount of time on my art, which is great but also not so great for my sleep. I hope to be less picky this year and be less of a perfectionist.

      Oh thank you! I am not entirely sure what possessed me to write that post, but I hope whatever it was does it again because I cannot, for the life of me, think of any discussion posts to write. Gaaaah. XD

      Ahh me too! I won’t be aiming to read 100 books this year, but I hope to read fewer but BETTER books. :)

      Thank you, and happy 2017 to you too! <3

  17. I got Not Your Sidekick for Christmas and it was the book that accompanied me from 2016 to 2017. I am SO GLAD that this book is my first read of 2017 because I loved it so much, still working on my review but omg, perfect. Well, not perfect, but a new favourite that’s for sure <3

    Your illustrations are so beautiful!!! *_*

    • Hi Lucille!

      OOOOH YAY I’M SO HAPPY YOU READ IT! Hehehe gotcha! NYS is by no means perfect, but it’s just. I don’t know, it was subjectively perfect to me. I’m in my 20’s but I feel like I had been waiting for this book my own life? Such a validating read. ^_^

      Eeeeeeeep thank you so much!

  18. Lovely post CW! Not much to add except that, as I’ve said many times, I LOVED your diversity discussion posts, they’re so thoughtful. Good luck with your studies this year!

  19. Ooooo Salt to the Sea is on my TBR, but I hadn’t heard that the audiobook was so well done! I love audiobooks, so I may give the audiobook version a go since you loved the narration so much.

    While I’m bummed you won’t be as active, I completely understand! Priorities! School should be your focus right now.

    I love that you discovered your blog’s identity over this last year. This is something that I have struggled with in my first year blogging, but I have slowly started to figure this out recently.

    Cheers to a wonderful 2017!

    • Hi Amanda!

      It’s an incredible audiobook and I can’t recommend it enough! I hope you enjoy it if you ever get around to reading/listening? to it!

      ME TOO! I’ll miss being active and reading guiltlessly, but I’m also excited by the opportunities of this year. :D And yes! I’m going to try and avoid procrastinating of any kind… which was always my worst, worst enemy.

      Thank you so much! I wish you all the best for you and your blog. You’ll get there, I promise! Give yourself time and patience to figure it out. <3

      You too! All the best! <3

  20. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up: 1/9 – 1/15/17 | Cover2CoverMom

  21. Pingback: January Recap: Recentering on diverse reviews, on love, and Happy Lunar New Year! | Read, Think, Ponder

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