We are so close to the end of the year, it’s time to start reflecting back on what we achieved. I had set myself a reading goal of 60 books on Goodreads, but to be honest I don’t think I’m going to make it to the finish line. I spent most of my year being really exhausted so I didn’t always have time to read. At the same time, when I did have the time/energy to read, some of the books I was reading were not my cup of tea.
On the positive side, here are some books that I read this year that I really, really enjoyed.
Hands down, my favourite book of the year. Kill The Boyband is a thrilling novel that looks at fandoms and fan culture. The novel follows a group of fans who break into the hotel where massive boyband The Ruperts are staying and things take off from there. It’s absolutely hilarious and completely real to the fandom world I experienced when I was 12-13 (hi Jonas Brothers.) The Ruperts are a mix of One Direction and the Jonas Brothers, two of the biggest fandoms circa 2010. You can read my full review here.
Mind Your Head was one of the first books I read this year and definitely one of the most informative. Mind Your Head provides information on different mental illnesses. I found it insightful to learn about, because you don’t always know what people could be suffering with. With expert doctor advice from Dr Olivia Hewitt and illustrations from Gemma Correll, Mind Your Head is a fantastic guide to learning about mental health.
I started buying and reading more poetry this year and Hold Your Own was definitely my favourite that I picked up. Inspired by tales of Greek mythology, the poetry collection presents themes such as sexuality, gender, growing up. Kate Tempest’s background as a rapper definitely comes through in this collection – the writing is absolutely beautiful.
As well as poetry, I also started buying and reading more plays. The National Theatre bookshop is a Godsend for plays, which is where I picked up Rotterdam. Rotterdam follows Alice as she’s about to send a coming out email to her parents on New Years Eve. Right before she hits send, her girlfriend Fiona comes out as transgender. It’s a fantastic look at gender, sexuality and privilege and I wish I bought a ticket to see it when it was in London over the summer!
All The Rage is an incredible and powerful novel about rape culture and how silent victims can become because of it. Courtney Summers’ writing is suspenseful, tense and overall brilliant. It’s not as hard to get through as books similar like No Virgin by Anne Cassidy or Asking For It by Louise O’Neill. But it is definitely an important one. You can read my full review here
*All The Rage isn’t pictured because I read it on my parents’ iPad!
Now these may have not made the top five but I still wanted to mention five additional fantastic books that I discovered this year.
An inspiring and creativity boosting book about writing. Gilbert explores topics such as finding the time to write, becoming a freelance writer and using life as a writing tool. I also did a post inspired by the book here.
Silence is Goldfish follows Tess who becomes mute when she accidentally discovers a post on her father’s blog that seems to confirm anxieties she has about her life. This is the first book I had read by Annabel Pitcher and I can certainly see why she is of great acclaim.
Room was the first book that I finished at the start of the year. Room follows 5 year old Jacob who has been brought up in this one room his entire life. I picked this one up straight away as I really wanted to see the movie. And I still have not watched the movie. But the book is every ounce of brilliance. Emma Donoghue manages to capture the voice of a five year old boy so brilliantly, I was blown away by the tense atmosphere she created in the book. Definitely a must read.
On The Other Side is the debut fiction novel from Carrie Hope Fletcher. At the heart of it it’s a love story between Evie & Vincent who are torn apart by old family traditions. But the book is also incredibly magical. When Evie dies aged 82, she’s transported to her own personal heaven where she has to confront three secrets before she’s allowed to pass on into the afterlife. It’s an impressive fiction debut considering Carrie is also a full time youtuber/actress too!
This is another play that I wish I could’ve had the chance to see in London. The play follows Emma, an actress who has a breakdown during a performance and is taken to rehab. It’s a really well written look at how drugs can affect someone in the modern world. I just wish I could have gone to see Denise Gough’s acclaimed performance as Emma.
Until next time,