Happy New Year! Well, almost. I think it is kind of fitting to end the year with a list of my favourite books of the year. This was hard, because books are awesome, and ratings often arbitrary. I read 79 books this year – and it’s not humble-brag or anything; I know that many people read way more than that, but it is still quite a lot to choose just ten from. My attempt, nonetheless:
1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – this might be one of the purest romances I have ever read. I loved the characters who were s0 perfect in their fallibility.
2. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – I was skeptical about this book, but decided to take the plunge when I got it at a huge discount. What a fantastic friendship in this book, and one of the most unique WWII books I have ever read (yes, I just superlated unique).
3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – I read a lot of non-fiction, but few are as informative and simultaneously easy-to-read as this one. It was also one of the only non-fictions ever to make me cry. I loved this one so much that after reading it at the library, I went out to buy my own copy.
4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – picked up a seriously weathered copy at the SAS library, and learned how it got so weathered. It must have been the most-read book in that library. Fantastic dystopian-feminist writing. The first non-YA dystopian I’ve ever read, I believe.
5. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker – Jewish and old Syrian folklore combined, along with a fantastic historic setting. I adored this book.
6. In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner – do you know how many banyan trees you see when traveling Asia? Loads and loads. That little fact, the many banyans I rested under in those hot months traveling, made me feel a little closer to this book. It feels bad to name such a horror story a favourite book. I learned so much about Cambodia in the book, and it is fabulously written. But it really is such a sad story.
7. Railsea by China Mieville – this was like nothing I had ever read before. It challenged my imagination, my understanding, my vocabulary; it forced me to let go of conventional reading. It felt like a ride on an old rickety roller-coaster, and I loved it.
8. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman – two non-fiction titles on the list? Absolutely. This book was haunting. I learned more than just medicine in this one – I learned about culture and sociology and the truth of being a change-agent.
9. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes – there was some gratuitous violence in this one, but it is worth reading the authors explanation of why she did not shy away from it. Possibly one of the most thrilling books I have read, ever.
10.Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly – WHY CAN I ONLY CHOOSE TENNNNN. I’ve read a few books about the French Revolution and was worried this would be just another run-of-the-mill book. It wasn’t. I loved it all.