Wednesday, 31 December 2014

End of Year Book Review

I have to say that this has been a particularly good year for me in regards to books. I've read some absolutely fantastic things! I thought it was only fitting that I do some sort of end of year round up on my favourite books so I've somehow managed to narrow it down to my top ten things that I've read this year. This list isn't a ranking, that would be waaaaay too hard, and it was really hard to narrow it down to just ten but I have done my best!

So here we go:

1. Tigana - Guy Gavriel Kay

This book was in my to-read box for absolutely years. My poor, lovely dad has sung its praises for years but I just never quite got around to it. Which was stupid because it is sooooooo freaking good. Seriously, I absolutely loved this book. For a single volume fantasy book it presents a really well-rounded world and features some absolutely fantastic characters and ideas. One of my favourite things about it is how it explores shades of grey; the villain is actually a very sympathetic character and the protagonists, whilst very likeable, can be very ruthless when they need to. I reviewed Finnikin of the Rock recently and there's actually a lot about that book that reminds me of this now that I think about it, so there were a lot of similar elements that I liked. But essentially, this book is great. I cry a lot over things, it's just something I do, but I pretty much wept over this one. I just wasn't ready for it to end. Also because my dad is an angel amongst men he only said "I told you so" once when I said all of this to him. Cheers dad.

2. American Gods - Neil Gaiman

I'm a big Neil Gaiman fan in general, I've just always really enjoyed his stuff, but I particularly liked this! I just loved the whole concept that the book was built upon and the exploration of gods and belief. I know it was inspired by Terry Pratchett's Small Gods, but I actually read that after this, which is no way ruined my reading pleasure! I enjoyed this book because it explored lots of mythology that I liked and had loads of interesting ideas (like the new gods vs the old) and just because it was a good read to be honest! 

3. Deathless - Catherynne M Valente

I got into Catherynne M Valente through her fairyland books, and those remain my favourites, but I really enjoyed exploring some of her other stuff this year. I also read some of her poetry which was interesting. For Christmas last year my brother gave me Anna Karenina which is a bit of a commitment so I decided to ease myself into it by reading Deathless first because it's based off of Russian folklore. I didn't know much Russian folklore so I really enjoyed learning a bit more about that, but mostly I just adore Valente's writing. I read this whilst in the middle of exams and it just made me really happy to be able to take time out from cramming and course texts and just enjoy something that was written well and enjoyable.

4. Divergent Trilogy - Veronica Roth

After exams ended, my friends and I decided to go on an impromptu camping trip. And by impromptu I mean we decided on the Thursday we were going to do it and set off on the Friday. For a last minute decision I think we did pretty great! We travelled down to Swannage, found a campsite, and celebrated the summer solstice by all getting horrifically sunburnt! Yaaaaay! Packing was a bit last minute so I didn't think through the fact that maybe Anna Karenina wasn't the best holiday reading material. Also, it's quite heavy to lug about the place. So I made a spur of the moment decision in a WH Smith to finally get round to reading the Divergent trilogy and I got pretty gripped really! I read it across the weekend which meant that I got very immersed in it so I am ever so slightly blurry on the finer details because it's all mixed into a sunshiney haze with the rest of that weekend's events. There's some bits I liked less than others but it's become associated with this really wonderful weekend which sort of makes up for that to be honest and makes it deserving of being on this list.

5. Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell

You can read my review of this here but this is one of those books that has just absolutely stayed with me and given me unrealistic hand holding life expectations.

6. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Saenz

The above Eleanor and Park link will also link you to my review of this book and, as I stated there, this absolutely destroyed me. This is just such a beautifully written book and I loved every second of it.

7. Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

This was the year when I fell in love with Rainbow Rowell's writing. I'm definitely going to read more of her stuff in 2015 and I hear that she is writing a Simon Snow novel which is incredibly exciting! I just find Rowell's writing so engaging. It's funny and beautiful and just captures me a little to be honest. There was so much I liked about this book; all the characters were great for a start. I loved Cath and Levi individually but I also ship the heck out of them and would like to marry them both please and thank you. This book has also caused me to imagine all of my OTP's looking at each other and saying "I'm rooting for you" so there's that as well.

8. The Princess Bride - William Goldman

I've loved the film of this for ever and I've always meant to read it but never got around to it (again. What can I say, I am shoddy). But someone with great taste in books recommended it to me so it seemed about time I finally purchased it. And I'm so glad I did because it was so much fun! I think I mentioned in my review of Pride and Prejudice (cast your minds back to that dim and distant time) that I like reading books after seeing their film adaptations because it's like meeting an old friend. I prefer reading a book before seeing the film version, but when it does happen this way round it's still enjoyable because it's like seeing a new side of someone that you've known for ages. They're still the person that you know and love but you suddenly have all of this new information on them and insight that causes you to look at them in a new way. I just really like it! That happened with this. I knew it was going to be loads of fun because the film is, but it was really enjoyable getting that bit more detail and depth. For example, Fezzik is freaking adorable oh my god ADORABLE. Also adorable is my Princess Bride themed phone background:

Never over it.

9. The Miseducation of Cameron Post - Emily M Danforth

Immediately after finishing this I posted an extremely rough and ineloquent post about my thoughts here which was mostly an attempt to record the way this book made me feel, but I'm pretty sure it failed. I got extremely immersed in this book which I really loved. It put me into a bit of a book daze after I'd finished it which is always the sign of a good read! I'm definitely going to keep my eyes peeled and buy anything else that Danforth writes.

10. Paper Towns - John Green

This is another one that I've reviewed already, you can check it out here. This was another book that I sped through in a day and which gave me a book hangover. I'm looking forward to seeing the film when it's released, although saying that I STILL haven't seen The Fault In Our Stars yet. I'm not emotionally ready!

I was going to do a list of honourable mentions here but then it got way too long and I wanted to babble about them too much so I've decided not to. I've definitely read some cracking books this year though! I feel like I've been given loads of really great recommendations this year and I've explored a bunch of stuff that I don't usually read which has been really interesting. I have a lot of excitement within me for all of the amazing books that I know I will read in 2015 as well!

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