Reflection: 2016

If you’re looking strictly at numbers, 2016 has not been the best year in terms of reading for me. I didn’t meet my Goodreads challenge of 25 books, nor did I meet my personal challenge of reading 10 classics. I did, however, read what I wanted to read, when I wanted to read it, and I think that’s more important by far. In total I read 22 books, and I’m pleased to say that there was a larger variety in terms of genres than I initially thought.

Before I get into reviewing 2016 fully though, I thought I’d show the books that I was gifted this Christmas! I got three in total, and they all happen to be very beautiful…

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This compilation of stories features all of Jane Austen’s major novels, and seeing as I planned to finish reading all of them in 2017 anyway, this was an excellent present! I also got given a guide to crystals, as I have become very invested in self-improvement and the natural world this year, and a gorgeous guide to Tolkien’s world.

Aaaand now on to some thoughts on my 2016 reading (and blogging) year. Because I’m a massive nerd for facts and statistics: I read 7975 pages worth of novels, and wrote 19,834 words worth of blog posts in 2016, which quite frankly is insane!

FAVOURITE BOOK

I thought long and hard about this one, but finally reached the conclusion that without a doubt, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon was the best book I read this year. I’ve not read a great deal of historical fiction in the past (pun not intended), and seeing as this series is hugely popular in bookish circles, I thought it was time to give it a shot. And I was not disappointed. The world building, the characters, the language, the context of 18th century Scotland… all of it made for a novel that I could barely put down. Interestingly, I’m finding the TV show hard work in comparison to the source material, but we’ll see how that goes.

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LEAST FAVOURITE BOOK

This one is a tie between Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Both shared a common theme: I didn’t care for any of the characters. I felt as though they were never developed and therefore it was difficult to feel passionately about them either way. Both also had anti-climactic endings in my opinion; especially Everything, Everything which ended far too abruptly with very little explanation.

FAVOURITE CHARACTER

This was the easiest answer of all. I don’t think many characters could knock one of my absolute favourite characters of all time off the top spot, and after reading The Bane Chronicles this year, my choice was only confirmed. Magnus Bane is, without a doubt, one of the most developed and original characters I have ever read, and every single time I read content featuring him, he just glows a little brighter than everyone else (most of the time, literally as well).

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BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

One read I was particularly anticipating this year after having seen the film adaptation was Carol by Patricia Highsmith. I absolutely loved the film, but was incredibly disappointed to find that the novel didn’t compare. The plot seemed to move much more slowly, and the characters were nowhere near as likeable, coming across almost spiteful on most occasions. I almost always find myself preferring books to films; however this is one occasion that I would wholeheartedly recommend the film, and suggest that you make up your own mind with regards to the novel.

NEWLY FOUND AUTHOR

This one sounds ridiculous, because you could hardly consider her to be a ‘new’ author. But an author that I found a huge appreciation for that I had never read before this year would be Jane Austen. I read Northanger Abbey and Emma, and saw a theatre adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and I completely fell in love. The amount of humour and social commentary she weaves into her narrative is astounding, and you constantly feel strongly towards every single one of her characters, whether it’s positive or negative. As I mentioned before, I really don’t rate novels in which the characters are underdeveloped or barely present, so part of the reason I love Austen’s work so much is because of the way she presents the strong personalities that move her otherwise stationary plotlines forward. I cannot wait to read more of her novels in 2017 – the first of which I think will have to be Pride and Prejudice!

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Although I didn’t meet my reading challenge this year, I definitely intend to try again in 2017. My goals include:

– Reading 26 books (a book a fortnight – that’s achievable, I hope?!)

– Reading more diverse novels, in terms of both authors and characters

– Reading a novel in the magical realism genre (I’m always hearing about this, but have never read one!)

– Uploading a minimum of two blog posts per month

– Following and interacting with more bookish blogs

And that’s about it I think! I’m so proud of my book blogging corner of the world, and I want to thank anyone who has read, commented on, liked or followed my blog posts in the past year. I have had a wonderful time reading and writing down my thoughts, and I am looking forward to another year of doing just that. Let me know in the comments your bookish goals for the new year, as I’m fascinated to know.

First book for January: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2017, and a highly successful year of reading!

– Bex

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All of the books I read this year – minus the ones I had to take back to the library and the ones I gave away!
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