My challenge for 2017 was 50 books. 50 books that I had not pre-selected or vetted for reviews. 50 books that I picked up, read, enjoyed (some DNF-ed, but that’s okay). And today, at the end of the year, I can proudly say that I have finished reading 75 books this year!
To prove to you, and to all the other skeptics who feel that I may have just ‘skimmed’ through the book, let me share with you some of my favourite reads of 2017. And I’ll give you a mini-review for each of those books, naysayers.
Grab a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy!
“Naming The World” by Bret Anthony Johnston, et al was one of my favourite non-fiction reads this here. This book is an exercise workbook for every creative writer. If you’re a writer / intend to be a writer in the near future, this book is a must-buy. I got it from my college library, and hence I don’t have a copy of my own of this wonderful book. (Hint to every one of my well-wishers: this is the one you can buy for me!)
“Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock” by Matthew Quick is the best YA fiction read of this year. It’s a story about a boy who wants to kill his best friend, and himself, on his birthday. But before that, he wants to meet four people in his life, the four most important people in his life for one last time. Don’t worry, it’s not as grim as it sounds. Take my word, and get your teenaged kid this book as a gift. It’s one of those books that will make you extra-sensitive to depression, and will help you start a conversation with your child about it.
“Humble Pie”, Gordon Ramsay’s autobiography, was an impulse-buy at the BooksByWeight exhibition. It was interesting to know more about this walking-talking swear machine (the book is a swear machine too). I’d recommend it to you only if you have nerves of steel w.r.t swear words. And if you love to read about celebrities talk about themselves all book long.
I was quite late to the “The Martian” bandwagon, but later is better than never. For those of you not acquainted with Andy Weir‘s masterpiece, this book is about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars. Rescue ops from Earth will not arrive at Mars soon enough. Will he be the first person to land on Mars, as well as the first person to die there? Read it to know more!
“The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion was a fabulous read. A serious case of Asperger’s, Don Tillman is in search for his true love. And so he sets out on a very logical quest to his true love: he prepares an MCQ questionnaire that every “potential” date must fill in. Seriously weird, right? But this book is a must-read.
The Just One Day series by Gayle Forman was such a beauty. This series was on my TBR since a long time, and I finished the three books in three nights! It was too beautiful, and dare I say, much better than the very famous “TFIOS”. Yes, it’s official, I liked TFIOS the movie better than TFIOS the book. And if you know me well enough, you would know that this is a subtle indicator that I didn’t like the book at all.
“The Palace of Illusions” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was my introduction to all things Indian Mythology. And this book added to my encyclopaedic knowledge of Greek, Egyptian and Indian Mythology. (I’m currently trying to get my hands on all books by Devdutt Pattnaik.) I highly appreciate it when authors make mythology easy to understand for young readers and old readers alike. So if you want a primer into the Mahabharata from the POV of Draupadi, this book is a must-read.
“11/22/63” by Stephen King. My first read of this author, and I seriously doubt it will be my last read! You can read my entire 1000-word review here. I also read “On Writing” by King, and again, it’s a must-read non-fiction book for writers, authors and anyone else in the bookish industry. I love you Stephen King!
“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood was also my first book by this author, thanks to the hype of the TV show of the same name. It’s a brilliant book, and I seriously can’t believe that writers exist whose imaginations are beyond this universe. I plan to read “Alias Grace” next year, and watch both the TV shows once I’m done with major exams.
I selected “The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey for my #ChristmasReads theme this month. And my oh my, I loved this book much more than I love winters! Read my entire review here.
Out of the review copies that I received this year, I’d like to highlight some books that made it at the top of my faves list.
“Battling Injustice” by Supriya Vani is a must-read for every young girl, woman, old lady everyone. It’s a book that made me trust my gut feeling and instinct, and proved to me that once a woman sets her eyes on a goal, she has all the resources within herself to make it happen. The obstacles will always be there, but there will always be support from well-wishers, friends and family. If you’re looking for a book to gift your daughter, sister, mother, girlfriend, this is the one you should go for. You can read my full review here.
“Entering StartUpLand” by Jeffrey Bussgang is a must-read for entrepreneurs and youth trying to build a startup. Because startups are not always all about “Pitchers”. You have to make real life decisions which don’t always make for good ”reel” content. This book will help you figure out everything that you need to know about building your startup. My review here.
One book that caught my eye, is “To, My Dear Fear” by Gursimran Kaur. It’s a collection of poems that will make your heart jump out of its cage and sing. I reviewed it on GoodReads, and I have also shared a few of my favourite quotes from the book. If you’re a fan of Rupi Kaur / Nikita Gill, this book is a must-read. Do support this author, as it is her debut book, and I have rarely read a debut book as good as this one!
But the cake of 2017 has to go to “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman. Eleanor Oliphant felt like the twin sister I don’t have, and I could perfectly relate with her. But since I’ve already gushed about this book so much online, I’ll leave you to check out my 1000-word review here.
Now that I’ve finished talking about the books I read this year, let me get to the part where I talk about my experience of reading, this year.
This year started off with me focusing on reading just as a way to relax and check out of this idiotic world. I started this blog in August 2017, a blog dedicated only to book reviews. At that time, my sole objective was to keep the reviews separate from my personal blog Broken Blue Bubbles. But as I started reviewing a few of my favourite books on this blog, I thought, “Why can’t I use this blog as a way to earn some extra pocket money?” And here I am, accepting review copies and providing an honest review in exchange for a small fee.
When I started blogging back in 2014, I started without a niche, a theme, a central focus. I wrote about random stuff. Things that fancied my interest. Theories that made sense to me. But the thing is, I loved reading books back then too. I could have decided to focus only on books back then too. Even though my reading list was populated with the titles that everyone else seemed to be reading and that would have made for quite boring content. Yet, in my personal life, I noticed that I could recommend books to family and close friends by just asking them for a few of their other favourite books / movies / TV shows.
Being on Instagram opened my eyes to the possibility of reviewing books online. And since I didn’t consider reading to be a chore, I decided to take it up, three years into blogging. With the headstart I has already received on my personal blog and with the support of my blogger friends from there, I made the shift into book blogging. The shift has been bumpy: I have almost forgotten about my first blog. I rarely write there anymore. All my attention and devotion is bestowed on this book blog.
And that’s not something I’m proud of. Hence, my only New Year’s resolution would be to keep writing on both the blogs equally. If I post a review here, I’ll have to pen down a post there too. And vice versa. I have decided on a few content strategies for my personal blog. So let’s see if I can stick to my goal in 2018. Or will I start a third blog on something else and forget about both these blogs too?
So, tell me about your bookish 2017. Are you proud of reading the n number of books that you have read? Have you completed the targets you set for yourself? Are you still lagging behind?
Here’s a tip for you readers when you select the books you will read in 2018. It’s a quote from my favourite author, Oscar Wilde:
“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”
― Oscar Wilde
Wishing you a very happy booktastic 2018, folks. See you around in the New Year.