I’ve had a very bookish year this year, and though this is by no means unusual I thought I’d wrap up my best-reads, must-reads, and all my bookish resolutions in one big post.
This year I’ve read 54 books, a little lower than my usual 70-80 mark. Most of them weren’t even sci-fi this year, which might seem off for me at first, but it’s mostly due to my Creative Writing MA dissertation focusing on fantasy literature rather than sci-fi (it went great if you were wondering). Most of the books I’ve read outside of university research have also been re-reads, mostly of the YA fantasy persuasion, which is what I turn to when I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with life.
So all-in-all I’ve had a great year for fantasy but not so much sci-fi or horror. Because of this I’ve decided that next year I’ll be doing whatever I can to read more horror. But for now, let’s wrap up my 2018 Must-Reads before I get on to 2019.
This year, I must admit, I’ve failed my must read list! But I do have a valid reason for this, so never fear. The two texts I didn’t end up reading were The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin and Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This is simply because I didn’t want to start any new series (given my being overwhelmed and all) before I’d finished the mountains of series I still have ongoing.
However I did manage to read:
- The Fellowship of the Ring
- The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage
- The Chrysalids
- and Monstrous Regiment
So it wasn’t a complete failure of a year! And to prove it here are some of my favourite books of the year.
Best Reads of 2018
But there are two books I’ve read this year that I have yet to review that have really stuck with me, and here they are:
The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt was an incredible book. When the crew of the White Raven salvage an abandoned spaceship and find a woman who has been on board in stasis for years babbling about first contact with aliens they dismiss the claims; she has been asleep for a long time, and aliens are already an ingrained part of society. But when they realise they are not talking about the same aliens things get freaky.
Anyone who loved A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet will adore The Wrong Stars. Pratt takes on big, terrifying questions with a small, quirky cast of characters reminiscent of a modern day Firefly. By the end of the book I felt like I was on board the White Raven myself, and I can’t wait to pick up the next book and return to it.
Another book that has stuck with me this whole year is The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This book is what prompted me to add more of Tchaikovsky’s work to my 2018 Must Read list, but I’m going to try and finish this series before I explore any more of his work.
The book follows Maniye, the daughter of the Wolf clans chief, who, like the rest of her clan, can turn into a wolf at will. But the other side of her parentage complicates things; her mother was the ruler of the Tiger clan, meaning that Maniye can also turn into a Tiger. Her soul remains split as she comes of age, and time begins to run out, forcing Maniye to make a difficult choice.
Tchaikovsky’s work is wonderful, I mean that in the most literal sense, I was full of wonder and delight reading this book. He crafted a world so real I fell into it with ease and I’m definitely eager to keep reading. Regardless of favourite genres I really feel this book would suit anyone, because for all its animal magic it is a story about people.
2019 Must Reads
The title of this section is a little misleading, because for 2019 I don’t actually have any Must-Reads, for a few different reasons. This year I wasn’t able to finish my list, and the whole affair made me a little anxious and put pressure on something that used to be enjoyable. So this year I won’t set myself any concrete challenges, but I will have two fairly lax goals to keep in mind when I read:
- Finish as many unfinished series as I can (This of course means finishing series I have not yet read, not specifically ones that the writer hasn’t finished writing, looking at you Martin)
- and get stuck into what I’m calling my Year of Horror, an effort to read as much horror as I can bear without crying or losing sleep to the point of hospitalisation.
My Year of Horror plan has come about after finally submitting some horror for my MA which went down pretty well with everyone who workshopped it. My work was inspired by Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and I enjoyed it so much that I had a strange realisation: I love horror movies but don’t read that many horror books! So of course this has to be rectified.
I know this post has been a bit rambly, it’s mostly to gather my thoughts and set some loose goals for next year. But if you have made it this far have a very Happy New Year! And I’ll see you in 2019 for some terrifying reads!