Hiya! Welcome to 2021!! Here’s a wrap up of the books I read in December. 😀
Full reading stats for the previous year below. ^_^
54: Every Heart A Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire
Genre: Fantasy, Novella
Rating: 5 stars
I wasn’t sure about this near the beginning. The main POV character was a smidge dumb at first. But this moved quickly, and it was surprising and a lot of fun! It’s about these kids at a boarding school for people who went through portal worlds and are struggling to readjust to the real world. This serves more as an introduction to the series as a whole, introducing a lot of characters, most of them quite desperate to return to their portal worlds, but there is a satisfying character journey for the main character, and some crazy stuff going on at the boarding school as well. I loved it.
55: 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
Author: Mona Awad
Rating: 5 stars
I’ve found a contemporary author I like! I wanted to read this after reading Bunny by her a couple of months ago, but I picked it up now because the reviews are kind of polarizing, and curiosity got me. This is a collection of vignettes – snapshots of a particular point in time – going through the life of a woman named Elizabeth (or Lizzie or Beth or Liz) from around 16, I think to maybe 29? From fat, to having an eating disorder, to some kind of road of recovery. Most of the snippets from her life were quite sad – probably all of them were sad in some way – but I found many of them hilarious. Some of them disturbing. All of them interesting. I honestly think this author is some kind of genius. There was so much to think about. She has all these layers everywhere, and I’m really looking forward to her next book which comes out in August.
56: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Author: Christopher Paolini
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 3 stars
As I said in a review for this: this was a good book, but I didn’t like it. It’s about a xenobiologist who finds an alien life form out in the outer reaches of space. They’re trying to see if the “vacant” planet they’re studying is suitable for humans to expand to. It was interesting. But it was long and it felt long. Like SO long. The author is super super thorough, and I almost cried tears of relief when I got to page 820 and realized there were only 5 pages left in the book and not 50 like I thought, because the last 50 pages are appendix stuff, and yeah. I was done. I’m glad I read it, because I feel like it raised my tolerance for sci-fi, though it simultaneously lowered my tolerance for long, dense books. I read this in 15 days though, which is kind of crazy. The simplicity of the writing made it a fast-paced read, so that’s good.
57: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Author: Disney Comics Team
Genre: Graphic Novel, Adaptation
Rating: 2 stars
Yeah, this was terrible. Maybe it was rushed? The art was nice, but the story was choppy, sloppy, and didn’t at all capture even a little bit of the movie’s charm. Who is this even for? Maybe I would like this if I was five. It barely even makes sense. They stripped the story down. Fine. But why does it not make any sense? Then they had special asides for where a song would go a few times, and instead of using poetry or the movie’s lyrics, which they should have the right to use since this is all their property, they just write some random nonsense that doesn’t even make sense. This was so poorly done.
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Rating: 3 stars
I almost DNF’ed this at 55 pages, but I decided to read one more chapter, and something interesting finally happened, and the MC finally showed some kind of personality. The first 55 pages was just the Dragon yelling at our MC with the complicated name and not bothering to explain anything at all and calling her an idiot and her just taking it and being like, “I’m a witch? I kind of just want to be a simple simpleton.” And it was really annoying. But then interesting stuff starts to happen, and all of sudden, the girl stops being a wet rag, the Dragon stops yelling ALL the time, and yeah, I liked it after that. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but only on the surface. It’s actually about this evil Wood and figuring out how to keep it from swallowing all of the villages in the land and everyone in them. I thought it was good, but it dragged in places, there were too many plot points and characters I didn’t care about, and it was too long and overwritten.
59: Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem
Author: Rosalyn Schanzer
Genre: Non-Fiction, Middle Grade
Rating: 4 stars
This was interesting. It’s rather dense and focuses almost entirely on the order of events from how the chaos started in Salem Village and how it ended, told in a slightly overwritten narrative style that I didn’t love, but it’s probably fine for the younger audience this is intended for. I, personally, would have liked more time spent on the “why it happened” which only got a few pages, but at least it’s covered in some capacity. I was hoping to learn something from this, but alas, I’ve spent too many years researching this stuff already, but it was still a solid refresher and gave me a quick reference that I can go to. And I did really like the update they gave for several of the people involved at the end of the book.
I set a record this year for male authors, contemporary books, and sci-fi! The number of male authors is somewhat inflated because I read so many graphic novels, but I still set a record outside of that. I noticed the last couple of years that I didn’t read many books by dudes. I wasn’t trying to read more though. It just fell this way. I’m not currently trying to read more of any particular genre or category or anything else. Right now I’m just curious to see what I do naturally.
I didn’t try to separate the graphic novels into age categories and genres because that was too much work, but there are definitely some that fall into adult, a few into YA, and one into middle grade. I also read three novels told in verse, so I listed them as novels in verse as well as their respective sub-genres.
Some of the fantasy books fell into the historical category as well, but I only read one non-fantasy historical book, so it’s in a category by itself.
Middle Grade: 1
Young Adult: 7
Novels in Verse: 3
Picture Books: 3
Graphic Novels: 18
General Fiction: 1
Contemporary: 6 (i know, right!)
Male Authors: 27
Female Authors: 29
Co-Authors: 3 (Assuming Grumpy Cat didn’t write a book by itself)