Favorite Video: 2016 Wrap Up & 2017 Reading Goals
2 – Little Book Owl
Favorite Video: 2016 Wrap Up & 2017 Reading Goals
Have you already looked your list of most read authors on Goodreads? Today I did that and found that really interesting because that simple list of author names, together with the number of books I read from each of them gave me a lot to think. A kind of contemplative kind of thinking, as if I was looking at a piece of my life listed, at all the hours I spent reading my favorite children books, or my vampire, paranormal fantasy, romance or science-fiction books.
I spent hours going through it, correcting when an author appeared with more or fewer books due to me adding a book in two different editions or forgetting to add it.
I also draw some final thoughts on looking at that list and, even if that list didn’t specifically show me as an extremely well-read or even intellectual kind of reader, I was still happy with its sincere, even if incomplete, picture of me as a reader. So, those were the conclusions I had.
A couple of authors that were very influential to me weren’t listed because I read only one book from them. But that sole book stayed with me. Even if I haven’t read another book by the same author, their importance is still there. One of them is Victor Hugo, of whom I read only The Hunchback of Notre Dame or Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. But I indeed liked that sole masterpiece. So they are equally influential, even if not represented on my list of most read authors.
I do read a lot of classics, but only if the plot is interesting and the author’s voice makes it a not too dense and tiring read. If the style is too old-fashioned or the author’s voice isn’t catching, I’ll probably drop the book. A good story is not enough for me, it must also be told in a way it hooks me as a reader, or I won’t read it for long. I’ll probably skip a lot of pages or wait for the movie. I do though have more patience with books than I lot of readers I know of, and I’ll equally skip a book if the writing is too commercially oriented, so there are a lot of bestsellers books I could not read through or I’m not even interested in. So I’m not in the mainstream audience, but I’ll also won’t ever read a book only to look well read. I like to go my own way between commercial and literary reading.
The only time I reread two-thirds of a fiction book was when I forgot I had already read that book. While reading it again I wondered all the time why the story was so familiar and why everything was so repetitive, until I saw I had read that book before. I think I still need some time to allow myself to reread fiction books. There are so many new interesting fiction books out there that I don’t feel like coming back, even if I gave that book five stars. Perhaps one day I’ll be in the mood of rereading my five-star books when I run out of new books on my TBR list.
What I could eventually do though is rereading some of my non-fiction books on writing techniques, so that all that knowledge has a second chance to stay in my mind.
Once I treasure an author’s voice I’ll read a lot of books from the same author.
I can follow a ten book series with the same characters and world, or read a five book series in the same week. If the author’s voice and the plot make their books an entertaining read, I’ll dive in their words like a seal, only coming back to surface after a thousand pages.
It takes a lot to put me away from reading further from the same author, but this will also happen if the author starts rehashing old plots in new books or the plots start getting weaker with each new book. I’ll also drop an author if he/she starts a new series based on themes I’m not interested in, or if he/she starts writing in a new genre I’m not really into.
I read 24 books of the Brazilian author Monteiro Lobato, mostly his children books series. My teens show in the list with Isaac Asimov as the mostly read Science-fiction author of 17 books, and Anne Rice leads Paranormal Fantasy as the most read author of 16 books. The list goes on with other Paranormal Fantasy, Science Fiction, Classic, Young Adult, Dystopia, Epic Fantasy and other Brazilian children books authors. The most-read author’s list shows my genre preferences, but it won’t show the occasional Thriller or Historic fantasy books I read, even if they aren’t always my first choice genre.
As a final thought, I know this most-reader author’s list isn’t complete, as I surely forgot to add some of the books I read and forgot about, but this is fine because, in the end, our look into the past or ourselves is never complete or really accurate.
Danny woke up with a start. Something was tickling his nose. He opened his eyes and was surprised to find a small green fairy hovering right by his face.
“Hello,” said Danny, unsure of what he was seeing. “Where did you come from?”
“Ah,” said the fairy. “That is a question, isn’t it? Stella has come from far away, or maybe she has always been near, but you have never seen her before. Your mother has kept me hidden away, or so she thinks. Such a clever woman. A boy! She had a boy and such a beautiful boy. Stella could have fun with such a boy if he was willing…or maybe even if he’s not!”
Stella reached out towards Danny. There was a flash of silver and the world changed.
In my teens, the young adult genre wasn’t yet so clearly defined. I remember reading Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, books based on the Star Trek’s first generation universe, and Brave New World and thus discovering Science Fiction.
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were starting points for Romance and Anne Rice books were my first Paranormal Fantasy. Then I had my favorite Gothic novel, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, although I must confess to reading Hugo’s discourse on books substituting architecture only once.
Later, as an adult, I heard of Harry Potter, more than a couple of years after its hype had started. I found the books interesting while at the same time thought that the characters acted way too mature even if they were children. YA was then leaving its Tolkien-like station and getting faster on its tracks, like the Hogwarts express.
Then, during my thirties, I had a bit of a reading slump. I had discovered computer games, life was bumpy, and I didn’t have Goodreads to hold me accountable on reading more books. Those crazy times. 😉 Even though, I still had my favorite books and series.
And now that I’m slowly reading a higher number of books per year, I’m reading also more YA. Some books in the genre didn’t impress me much, but some were quite entertaining. I could also make a list of the YA books I didn’t like, but I won’t because it could happen easily that the same books would entertain other readers. Especially when it comes to books, one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure.
My favorites YA book list isn’t yet as extensive as the ones from the happy booktubers out there. Still, see the books in it as entertaining enough for someone who doesn’t list YA as one of her favorite genres. Fantasy and Science Fiction still occupy the first and second place as my favorite genres, even if I must confess to lately reading more fantasy than sci-fi. I don’t like the dark cloud of dystopia that has taken over the sci-fi sky, even if the present reality events calls for concern and make everybody read 1984 from George Orwell. These worrisome times emphasize the need for reflection. But this is a topic for another blog post.
So, here are the YA books whose series I’ve read entirely and liked. I didn’t include the Harry Potter series here because everybody puts it on the top of their list, so it’s an assumed point that it should be read. The books here had all a really interesting story world, great characters, fast paced action and an interesting premise and plot, even if I didn’t always rate them five stars. I also posted the first books in every series in the order I read them since I’m still waiting for the final books in the last two series. (Watch this post for new additions in the not so distant future.)
And you, what is your favorite YA book/series?
Most books I read this year were worth at least three stars. One or two were too slow paced, were made for another audience or took a wrong turn at some point, but most were quite entertaining. So I decided to list here only the ones I found surprising, funny and incredibly smart, because when you have read your share of books you’ll find this important, that special zing. So here they are:
Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
I usually don’t read historical fiction, but this book is worth reading even if you aren’t a fan of this genre. Lovely, awesome book, with an amazing story. If you liked Downtown Abbey you are in for a delightful treat.
Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs
The start of an awesome series, which I was quite happy to read until book eight quite fast. Fun, page-turning, with very interesting characters and world.
Books on writing craft:
5 Secrets of Story Structure by K.M. Weiland (Goodreads Author)
I found this book quite helpful, it’s about story structure in a summarized and easy to understand way. Great if you want an overview of Story Structure before you go into too many details. For me, this was helpful because I usually want to have a look at the whole subject before I look at each element in detail. So, if you are having difficulties to understand story structure read this short and concise book, you’ll get it in no time.
Fantasy with Science-fiction elements and LGBT Characters:
Mating Flight: A Non-Romance of Dragons(Mating Flight #1)
by Bard Bloom (Author), Tod Wills (Illustrator)
This book is very entertaining and it’s page-turner reading. I read this book in three days because I didn’t manage to put it down. I liked the main character, a fiery-tempered dragoness and all the witty dialogues and funny situations with the other dragons. I’ll be reading the next book in the Duology to see how this adventure ends.
And if you want to check out which books I read this year, here’s my Goodreads link:
This year I was catching up with my favorite series in Paranormal Fantasy, Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews. In this genre, I also discovered a really entertaining new series, Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs, which I was almost binge-reading until book eight. I was reading a surprising amount of Young Adult, from which my favorite was the Throne of Glass series, by Sarah J.Maas. My favorite Fantasy with Science-Fiction elements books was the Mating Flight Duology with dragons and LGBT characters by Bard Bloom. And my favorite book on writing was 5 Secrets of Story Structure by K.M. Weiland due to it giving me a good overview of story structure.
I’ll focus more on this year favorite books on my next week’s post, but for now, let’s talk about this year’s challenge.
I managed to complete my reading challenge of 50 books!
And actually surpassed this number, reading 58 books this year (woo-hoo!)
I was also trying to follow the categories presented in the Reading Challenge of the Facebook group called “The Dragon Rocketship”, which is a group on Facebook about fantasy, science-fiction, (hence the dragon and the rocket ship) and writing. Since this group also has many writers, a couple of the categories included reading books from its members, something I was happy to do since I’ve been friends on Facebook with a lot of them for a couple of years already.
(though a lot of the books I read aren’t into any and vice-versa)
1. A book that was written by a member of The Dragon’s Rocketship:
Taming Shadows (Revelations #1) by Fiona Skye (Author)
This book is way better than more than a couple of traditionally published bestsellers I’ve read last years. I loved Jaguar, (the protagonist alter ego), the characters, the plot, the world, and the story inspired recipes at the end of the book.
2. A book at the bottom of your To Read pile:
Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones.
This was sent to the bottom of my TBR list due to its slow beginning. The characters in this book, especially Howl, are perhaps not always likable, but always intriguing. You’ll go on reading just to know how the story will develop and end.
3. The next book in a series you never finished:
Witch & Wizard (Witch & Wizard #1) by James Patterson (Goodreads Author), Gabrielle Charbonnet.
I’ll probably never finish this series since I feel it’s targeted at much younger readers. Still, it’s an entertaining book if you don’t expect too much depth from the characters.
4. A book you can read in one sitting:
Nail Your Novel Instant Fix: 100 tips for fascinating characters by Roz Morris (Author).
This short book is packed with interesting writing tips. I recommend it also for revision as a helpful character checklist.
5. A book with a dragon:
Mine by Bryan Fields (Author)
I liked the story concept and the Steampunk details very much. The end though was a bit rushed up, and I felt there were not enough pages to develop the characters and the interesting premise. Still, an entertaining short story.
6. A book with a rocketship:
Nine Tomorrows by Isaac Asimov
My opinion is that you can’t go wrong with science fiction from Asimov.
7. A book with an LGBT Character:
Mating Flight: A Non-Romance of Dragons(Mating Flight #1) by Bard Bloom (Author), Tod Wills (Illustrator)
This book is very entertaining and it’s a page turner reading. I read this book in three days because I didn’t manage to put it down. I liked the main character, a fiery-tempered dragoness and all the witty dialogues and funny situations with the other dragons. I’ll be reading the next book in the Duology to see how this adventure ends.
8. Book 1 of a trilogy:
Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor (Author). This book has an interesting premise, setting and characters and I’ll go on reading the series. Still, three stars due to the excess of romance in detriment of the fantasy plot.
9. Book 2 of a trilogy:
Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor (Author)
I liked this book much more than the first of the series because it had more story and turning points to it. I also like the underlying theme of the book: the peace and war duality. And I’m curious to see where the story is going.
10. Book 3 of a trilogy:
Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor (Author)
** spoiler alert ** I found the book quite good, and perhaps the best of the trilogy. But I must say that I found the end frustrating, with a huge hook. Is the series going on? And if not why to leave it like if the trilogy was the prequel to another book? If this is to finish here I think it would have been better to have finished with a proper ending and with the peace Akiva and Karou always looked for and deserved.
11. A book by an author you’ve never read that is a member of The Dragon’s Rocketship:
Salvage (The Land Taking Records Book 1) by M.J. Kobernus
The short-story pacing was too fast at its end, leaving some things lacking development, but the concept was quite interesting and I’ll probably take a look at its sequence to know how it goes on.
12. An anthology:
Small Magics (Kate Daniels 0.5, 5.3, 5.6 ) by Ilona Andrews (Author)
Short-stories from one of my favorite authors, in the same awesome world of a series I love. What’s not to like? 🙂
13. A book with magic:
Magic Study (The Chronicles of Ixia #2) by Maria V. Snyder (Author)
This is the second book of an interesting fantasy series. Still, it’s slower paced and more romantic than what I usually read.
14. A book that scares you:
Sins of the Future by Chasity Nicole (Author), Debbie Manber Kupfer (Author), Jackie Pitchford, Misha Burnett (Author), Matt Lovell, R.L. Andrew, Angela Garratt, Don Miskel (Author) , Boyd Miles, Jen Ponce (Author), Stephen Blake (Author), Kerry E.B. Black (Author), C. Lloyd Brill, Steven Soul, Leticia Toraci (Author), Cleve Sylcox (Illustrator).
I’m glad I was able to join this awesome anthology with scary future scenarios; which are bound to haunt the reader even after the book is finished.
15. A book that makes you laugh:
Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi (Author)
Who read and liked “The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy #1-5)” will probably like this entertaining book as well. I must say that it’s not my favorite kind of science fiction since I prefer when science-fiction is the main theme. But, like the Hitchhiker’s guide, this is also a book which uses sci-fi to talk about humans themselves.
16. Read a book of a series with 5 or more books (1st):
Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs
A fun page-turner, I couldn’t put it down.
17. Read a book of a series with 5 or more books (2nd):
Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson #2) by Patricia Briggs
I liked this book even more than the first one in the series. This one has vampires and they are dangerous and mostly evil (as they should be). It was a nice page-turning reading for my Halloween. 🙂
18. Read a book of a series with 5 or more books (3rd):
Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson #3) by Patricia Briggs
19. Read a book of a series with 5 or more books (4th):
Bone Crossed (Mercy Thompson #4) by Patricia Briggs
20. Read a book of a series with 5 or more books (5th):
Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson #5) by Patricia Briggs
21. A nerdy book:
Youth by Isaac Asimov
I don’t know if there is something that can be called nerdy about books since I consider them really cool (probably because I’m a nerd at heart), but if so I think you could call a short story by one of my favorite authors nerdy.
22. A non-fiction book:
5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 6) by K.M. Weiland (Author)
I found this book quite helpful, it’s about story structure in a relatively summarized and easy to understand way. Great if you want an overview of Story Structure before you go into too many details. For me, this was helpful because I usually want to have a look at the whole subject before I look at each element in detail. So, if you are having difficulties to understand story structure read this short and concise book, you’ll get it in no time, it’s awesome!
23. A young adult book:
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare (Author)
This is an entertaining summer reading. It has a couple of plot devices that would fit in a soap opera, but there is nothing wrong with it if you are looking for a young adult reading just to relax.
24. A book you borrow from a friend:
Tales from P.A.W.S. by Debbie Manber Kupfer.
Three interesting background stories from the world of P.A.W.S. that made me quite curious about the book they are based on.
25. A book an older relative recommends:
I was reading Belgravia by Julian Fellowes recommended by my mother. Awesome book, with all the charm of Downtown Abbey and an even more interesting story. Loved it and can’t recommended it enough. It was one of my favorites this year.
So, I hope you liked my small challenge list and see you next week with a closer look at my 2016 favorite books!
If you have been following this blog, you probably know that I love talking about books.
I have a small library at my place and a bigger one at my mother’s house in Brazil. Since I decided to start slowly I decided to catalogue only the books I have at home and only the ones that really belong to me. I didn’t catalogue my children’s and my husband’s books since I wanted more to have an idea of how many books I personally have, in what genres, and how many of my paperbacks remain unread until today.
So I started, armed with my phone where I installed Book Catalogue, and a bar code scanner app called Zxing. Besides that I had a camera to make a picture of the books I would not manage to scan so I could even though add them later on Goodreads.
With the modest number of 150 paper books I think there is still space for more of them. I saw that I own more electronic books than paperbacks, with around 400 e-books resting inside my e-reader. The bulk of our home library consists of my husband’s and children’s paper books, DVDs and computer games.
2 – It happened quite often that it wouldn’t be possible to scan an older book
Of 150 books, 17 were impossible to scan due to an invalid ISBN number, or they didn’t have an ISBN number at all. Many times I had difficulty scanning books which are older that eight years, but most of my older books are not at my place now anyway. The number decreased further when I sent the scanned books to Goodreads.
3 – As in your cellphone, so in the internet
A bonus advice for anyone who catalogues their books: Don’t forget to organize your book shelves in your cellphone app exactly as you have them on Goodreads, LibraryThing, or any other social cataloging web application for storing and sharing books. Otherwise every new time you upload your recently scanned books to the internet, your existing data on the social app will be erased. You must check also which edition you might have previously added on Goodreads to avoid duplicates.
4 – I have less fiction books than non-fiction
At the moment, not counting the paper books I left in Brazil, I have 40 fantasy and 20 science-fiction books. But this is mainly due to the majority of them being at my mother’s place or in my e-reader. Other 20 fiction books were classics, poetry, humor or other genres.
My non-fiction books have as main subjects writing craft (33 books) and art/drawing/painting. (21 books).
5 – I read most of my fiction books and will put the few unread ones in my TBR list
Among my fantasy and sci-fi books only ten remain unread. My other unread books are mainly non-fiction and other fiction genres. I must indeed think twice before buying yet another non-fiction book. But I could imagine myself getting a paperback copy from my favorite fiction e-books in the near future.
Oh look, new dark fantasy books on amazon. I have to go now.