I’ll probably finish up a few more of the books I’m currently reading before 2018 is officially over, but here is a rundown of what I’ve read so far and what I liked the most this year.
My favorite new YA book was definitely Seafire by Natalie Parker; I’ve been pushing this one on all my friends and the ONLY bad thing about it is that I have to wait to read the rest of the trilogy because it’s not published yet. But, I look forward to re-reading the exploits of this sisterhood of pirates in preparation for the second book, which I think is coming out in 2019 but I haven’t seen a date or title announcement yet. My eyes will remain peeled, scanning the horizon…
Another new fave in YA for me this year was Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor; this little novella is a delightful companion to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, featuring Karou’s human friend Zuzana and how she got together with Mik. It is. SO. CUTE! I would have loved it anyway but I especially love the way it was recommended to me by a fellow book-lover and fan of the series:
Speaking of Laini Taylor, I also read her new duology this year, Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares and I totally fell in love–it’s not at all related to Daughter of Smoke and Bone except that it is set in the same universe and there is magic and tragedy and love and it is SO GOOD! Other series that I enjoyed were Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (I recommend the audiobooks) and the Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin, which I was introduced to when my Sci-Fi bookclub read The Fifth Season this summer, so shout-out to bookclubs.
As far as re-reads in 2018, I did make it through the whole Harry Potter canon again (by which I mean the seven original books ONLY, I do not accept Cursed Child or the Fantastic Beasts screenplays as canon and I will fight anyone who says they are), but my favorite re-read was Dietland by Sarai Walker. I watched the tv show adaptation but I wasn’t into it and I will not mourn it’s cancellation. The show felt like it watered down and de-fanged too much of the book’s dark ugliness necessary to really critique the harm patriarchal society inflicts, and also the show insisted on adding all these superfluous men or making the existing male roles bigger than they were in the book at the expense of characters I would have liked to see more of, especially some of the other women in Calliope house. Everybody should just read the book instead of watching the show, it’s already perfect.
While I am on my everybody-should-read-this soapbox let me also add The Power by Naomi Alderman; it was amazing and I will undoubtedly be re-reading it in years to come. I listened to it on audiobook and happened to be in the middle of it when I discovered some new walking trails, so now every time I go walking or running on those trails I think about power dynamics and gender and the way humans try to manipulate each other and the way power corrupts. And…what if I could protect myself by shocking a high voltage out of my own hands, and I could go on the trail at any time of day without being paranoid about whether it was safe?
In non-fiction this year, I mainly read about the Salem Witch Trials and I would say that my favorite of the three books on that subject was A Storm of Witchcraft by Emerson W. Baker. I felt like it did a good job of contextualizing the accusations and trials, and I found the argument that conversion disorder/mass psychogenic illness as the most likely explanation for the afflicted persuasive.