I was down to the wire when it came to finishing up my reading challenge for the year. What I thought was an easy and attainable goal became a hurdle I wasn’t sure I would cross after my father passed and my interest in things I usually enjoyed dwindled. While I’m still grieving, I feel like I’m back at a place where I can enjoy getting lost in a book once more.
Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by That Artsy Reader Girl.
Best in Show
Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir: Scary, exciting, funny, smart, sad, beautiful, or, as my husband described it after I screamed “Read this!” at him for a week, “It’s pure anime somehow converted to book form.” Gideon is a character worth loving; with all her flaws and insecurities and pure ginger haired perfection. I adore her and can’t wait to continue the story with Harrow the Ninth next year. My review for Gideon the Ninth
The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern: After years of waiting for a sequel our patience was finally rewarded with gold dust and star shine. The Starless Sea was a beautiful tale of magic and memory, a story both contemporary and American, yet with parts that felt as timeless as fable or myth. My review for The Starless Sea.
Red, White and Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston: Sometimes stories are like cupcakes, sometimes they are the whole cake, sometimes they are an ENTIRE DESSERT PLATTER full of everything you could ever want; laughter, beautiful prose, romance, sex, and maybe this is a weird dessert platter but I think I’m getting my point across. Alex and Henry are THE couple of 2019, sorry Harry and Megan (but I love you Megan, carry on being wonderful). I loved this story so much, I know I will reread it again and again and still laugh and cry and hurt, thanks Casey, thanks. Also I still get triggered by that lack of comma. My review for Red, White and Royal Blue.
The Martian, by Andy Weir: This was a tough call, because I read a lot of humor this year as a way to keep me afloat. But I think this has got to be our runner up because it’s just so quotable, and the use of humor to cut the constant tension was brilliant. Still daydreaming about being stranded in a snowed in cabin with a Mark Watney that looks like Matt Damon. My review for The Martian.
Becoming, by Michelle Obama: A thoughtful, intelligent novel about a smart, practical woman who fell in love with a man who would be president. I loved getting to see the United States though Michelle’s eyes as she traveled the country and balanced a career and a family while being married to an incredibly intelligent and ambitious partner. I also liked the part where she ate cheesey toast and described her infant self as “staring down at the camera like I wanted to eat it”. I’m also hungry.
Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle, by Mary J. Macleod: My family has a great deal of Scottish ancestry and it’s always been a point of pride for me (and once, my father). This is a collection of stories told by a woman who decided to relocate her family to the remote Hebrides Isle in the 1970’s. Fascinating, funny, at times heartwarming and other times disturbing, it was an intimate look at a way of life that fades with the passing of every year.
Best Graphic Novel
Ascender, Vol. 1, by Jeff Lemire: This continuation of the Descender series was like getting double slapped in the face and then thrown headfirst into the ocean. An ocean full of sharks and man o’ war jellyfish who have evolved to have PROJECTILES. Damn you, Jeff Lemire for your stories and characters and for yanking my heart out and throwing it at a wall. *screams* WHERE IS TIM!?
Monstress, Vol. 4, by Marjorie Liu: No surprise here, but the tale of Maika Halfwolf continues to be the most fascinating and intriguing stories I have read in years. Politics and violence intertwine in a world where the most trustworthy are those who have broken oaths and abandoned promises. I can’t wait to find out how this tale ends.
Once Upon a Haunted Moor, by Harper Fox: Who knew this two dollar kindle read would enchant me so completely? Tyack and Frayne are quite the pair, solving crimes and being brave (and gay). I was surprised by how well written this tale was, Fox’s prose is lovely and evocative, and I’m looking forward to continuing their story in to the new year.
All Systems Red, by Martha Wells: Ah, Murderbot; non-gendered ruler of my heart. Awkward and annoyed, like me, there was no way I could not fall for the humor and violence of this series. I just finished up the second in the series and I can say for sure that I will be reading about Murderbot wherever they pop up.
Did I just cheat a little by making it my top five with runner ups? I don’t know, but like that kid in my freshman math class said to our teacher, “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying!”
2020 is a year that will mostly likely not be much better then 2019, but right now, on the cusp of it, at least we can pretend. Too bad the measurement of a year is mostly a social construct, but details- am I right? *shrugs helplessly* I wish all my readers the best in the coming year, I hope life is gentle with you.
“See you on the flipside, sugar lips.”