My Top 10 Books of 2017

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The time has come to look back on all we’ve read in the last year. Or not. Totally up to you.

I did look back, and decided to compose this list. It’s in no particular order, because I’m too indecisive, and the books are quite different one from the other so I would never be able to rank them. I’ll just put some similar books next to each other. Also, I’ve written posts abut some of these books, so I the title is clickable, you can go read the post. 🙂

The first two books that I’m going to mention are vampire books. I really wanted to find some interesting vampire books, especially after I was a bit disappointed by Prince Lestat, and in the end I managed to find these two which made me really happy.

1. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

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I’ve never read ASOISAF. And I’m not sure I ever will… But this book made me realize that George R.R. Martin is a great writer. The book is set in the 1850s USA, and it’s historical fiction as much as it is paranormal/vampire fiction. I loved the way Martin used the vampire legends, and made them his own, without straying too much from the source. It’s also a book about how dark humanity is, how prejudiced people can be, and just how capable they are of committing horrible deeds such as enslaving other people. It was a great read, and much more than a vampire novel.

2. The Making of Gabriel Davenport by Beverly Lee

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I would never have heard of this series were it not for Instagram, because that’s where I met Bevery Lee. So thank you Instagram! The series is very atmospheric, and the characters are interesting. It follows a boy, Gabriel, but also quite a few other characters – some of them supernatural. I don’t want to reveal too much, since I’ve read the first two books (the third is not out yet) and I might spoil everything to you, but if you want a good supernatural novel, I think this might be it.

Now let’s move on to my favourite fantasy book (trilogy, actually) of this year. I haven’t read that much fantasy this year, but this series was so good it made up for this lack of fantasy reads.

3. The Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

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This is the last book in the series, and the reason I put this one on the list is because I feel like it’s always hard to end a series in a really satisfying way. I loved the first two books, but the way everything ends is perfect. All the characters are very flawed, and nothing is sugar-coated or romanticized. I liked that the writing was slow-paced, and that the author focuses so much on the inner struggles of the characters, besides everything that is going of in this fictional world. Inquisitor Glokta is my favourite. He’s far from being a loveable character, but I love reading his snarky inner monologues. I highly recommend this book to all fantasy lovers!

The next three books all feature magical elements, but in a subtle way. They are fantasy combined with historical fiction.

4. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

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Daughter of the Forest is a retelling of the fairy tale “The Six Swans”, but it’s also so much more than that. The Germanic tale, collected by the Grimm brothers, is in this case set in Ireland and Britain and interwoven with Celtic mythology and folktales. It is magical, but it also feels very real; the fantastical and the historical creates one whole, one wonderful story. It is also a story which speaks against war and the hatred of others. And it’s wonderfully written. I enjoyed this book immensely!

5. Company of Liars by Karen Maitland

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If a book is set in the Middle Ages, I’m immediately intrigued. If the Middle Ages are actually described in a more historically accurate, and less clichéd way, I fall in love with the book. Yeah, I’m simple like that. XD But this book is so well written, atmospheric, and mysterious. The characters all have a story to tell – literally and figuratively. They are all hiding something, and they are all lying about something. The story revolves around finding out the truth, and the destructive power of lies. Again – both literally and figuratively. The book is also inspired by the Canterbury Tales, since all the characters set off to a journey together in hope to escape the plague. It’s a great read, and I’ll definitely read more Karen Maitland’s books.

6. Bright Air Black by David Vann

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This one is not really historical fiction, but a myth retelling. It’s the story of Jason and Medea from Medea’s point of view and it’s just perfect. Brutal, but perfectly so. I loved diving into Medea’s mind. She’s a sorceress, a devotee of the witch-godess Hecate, and her powers and brutality really show in this book, but at the same time it’s hard not to find simpathise with her. The book is written so well, it feels like it transports you to a different world.

In the end, I have some literary fiction (I guess) books, with no magic, or paranormal.

7. Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss

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This novel is historical fiction. It’s set in Victorian England, and follows mostly female characters and their struggles to become more than society allows them to be. The main character, Ally, want to become a doctor. She’s focused on her cause, the fight for equal treatment of women and men in medicine, and become the best person she could be. Her perfecionism becomes a great burden, and she suffers from what I presume are panic attacks. She’s also under constant scrutiny of her mother who is trying to save suffering women, young prostitutes, and the poor, but is at the same time too harsh on her daughters. She wants them to know that they live in abundance while others suffer, and does it in a rigid, adamant manner. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s Ally’s sister May who seems to conctantly find a way to disobey her mother’s restrictions, their father the painter, and his friend who constantly hangs out with the girls… So many interesting relationships, and human struggles in one book.

8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Well, you’ve all heard of this one, so I won’t talk about it too much. I should have read it earlier, but I’m so glad I finally did. And the series is great, too!

9. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

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You need a little patience for this one, but it’s worth it! The psychological portrayal of characters is amazing! The story mostly follows Maggie and Tom Tulliver, a brother and sister, and their relationship since early childhood. The novels also speakks of the expectations that the women of the time had to meet. The protagonist, Maggie, is strong and smart, but the society she lives in makes her ignore both of those traits. The biggest tragedy of this novel is the fact that she could’ve achieved so much, but was not allowed to. There are also some great side characters, especially poor Philip who is constntly judged because of his physical appearence. This book is truly a classic.

10. The Woman Destroyed by Simone de Beauvoir

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I talked about this book recently. It’s one of the last books I’ve read this year, and it’s amazing! It’s a collection of three stories, and every story follows daily life of a woman who is going though something bad in her life. None of these women are perfect, but the emotions and thoughts expressed in these stories are so raw and sincere, it really feels like you’re reading someone’s diary.

And that’s it! I hope you had a great reading year and that the next one would be even better! What are some of your favourite books from last year? If you did a similar list please feel free to link it to me, I’m really interested to read those posts! 🙂

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My Top 10 Books of 2015

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Dear bloggers, I wish you a very happy 2016!

For my first post of the year, I decided it was the best to look back on the books I’ve read in 2015. Compiling this list took me longer than I expected it to. I’ve read quite a lot of books this year and it was hard to choose the top 10.  Of course, these books are in no particular order. I could never list them in order, I think. XD Mostly because I like them for different reasons.

Without further ado, I’ll start the list with a few classics and then I’ll move on to more contemporary literature. Also, I noticed that I’ve already posted about or at least mentioned most of these books on my blog, which is expected since I like talking about books I liked. 😉 Therefore, I won’t talk a lot about each particular book. It would make a too long post anyway…

1.Far from the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy

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This is a true classic – a wonderfully written story with a great heroine who makes mistakes and will drive you crazy at times, but you’ll still love her. My post on a little piece of this book can be found HERE.

 

 

2. North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell

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Another classic I think everyone should read, even though I feel it’s not talked about that often. Once again – a great, and strong heroine, who takes care of her entire family and still finds time to be kind. This novel is more than a love story – it deals with social issues and the way of life in the industrial North.

 

3. Ivanhoe, by Sir Water Scott

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As I mentioned several times before, I’m obsessed with everything medieval, even when it’s not that historically accurate. I really liked the Romantic Medievalism of Ivanhoe and the way in which Walter Scott uses some elements of medieval literature.

 

4. The Once and Future King, by T.H. White

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I’ll continue with the Middle Ages. The Once and Future King is a retelling of Arthurian legends. I had a lot to say about it, so I dedicated not one but two posts to it. XD (POST 1, POST 2)

 

 

5. Just Kids, by Patti Smith

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This book is Patti Smith’s memoir about her youth and life with her friend/lover Robert Mapplethorpe. It’s also a book about art and artists. It made me cry (and I don’t cry that often) but at the same time, it remained somewhat hopeful. Simply wonderful. My post about it can be found HERE.

 

6. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett.

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For me, 2014 was a year marked by Terry Pratchett. However, this is the only book of his I’ve read this, I mean last, year. On the bright side, it might be my favourite. Small Gods is a stand-alone novel of the Discworld series, which means you can read it even if you’ve never read a Discworld novel before.

 

7. Horns, by Joe Hill

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What I like about this book is how strange it is. Yes, I’ve read even stranger, but it’s still very interesting. For me, it’s a book about pain, and the evil we all have inside of us. But it’s also more than that.

 

 

8. Honour, by Elif Shafak

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This book is just wonderful! The writing, the believable characters, the non-judgemental way in which it deals with difficult topics such as immigration, culture, religion and even honour murder… Everything. If you want to know more, I wrote a post about Honour and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adicihe – find it HERE.

 

9. Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adicihe

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The book mentioned earlier, Americanah, is another book which deals with culture and, most of all, race. It is also a love story, but underneath it, it hides much, much more.

 

 

10. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

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Last but not least. Actually, it might be the least, but I enjoyed Water for Elephants despite the love story and the ending being a little too cheesy. Sometimes, you need cheesy. XD What I loved about it is that it’s dedicated to all the poor elephants who suffered and were even killed in circuses. Animal rights are an important issue for me and I liked how the portrayal of the circus life is not romanticized as it often is. The book is also well reasearched. I found it captivating. 🙂

 

As an honourable mention, I’ll add another book to my list.

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The book is Stonehenge, by Bernard Cornwell. I wanted to mention it because it made me want to read more Bernard Cornwell, especially since people seem to be saying that this isn’t one of his best novels, and I really liked it. It takes place 4000 years ago and deals with the building of Stonehenge, so what’s not to like? 😉

 

And in the end, I’ll also mention a manga series I really loved.

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Paradise Kiss has only 5 volumes (and there’s also a 3-volume edition). It’s about a girl who becomes a part of the fashion world after meeting a group of designers. But most of all, it’s about growing up and finding yourself. And it was very fun, though heartbreaking at times. Ai Yazawa’s manga are always heartbreaking…

 

Hope you enjoyed my list and, please, feel free to share some of the books you loved in 2015! 🙂