Backlog: What I Didn’t Talk About in 2016

Happy between holidays, everyone. Christmas is over, Hanukkah has a few days left, and soon it will be New Year’s Eve (which is one of several high holy days for alcoholics). It’s ya girl Nikkie here, pausing all the commotion of a year-end move to bring you a year-end post. Yes, Super Hubs and I are moving into a new apartment, within our current complex, over the weekend. So as you can imagine, it’s a mess over here.

In fact, this month has just been a bit of a mess, which is why I’ve been (noticably?) absent from MWB. I started a new job at the beginning of the month, this semester of grad school was winding down, so I had final projects to take care of. Thus, while on my mind, blogging found itself at the very end of my priority list. My apologies! I’m here now, semi-ringing in the new year with you. (For actual NYE camaraderie, meet us here Saturday afternoon!)

Anyway. Today’s post is going to feature a lot of the books I read this year that I didn’t share with you lovely people. Some of them were good, some weren’t; all passed before my eyes at some point in 2016.
Let’s jump in!


The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin

The Novel Cure is a non-fiction book that features bibliotherapy suggestions based on the reader’s current ailment. Are you depressed? Has someone just dumped you? Suffering from constipation? There’s a book for that!
It was really interesting. I hadn’t heard of a lot of the books, which is partially why I bought it. The next natural step, of course, is to read one of the books when I find myself suffering from one of these ailments. But you could also do that and just tell me how it worked out for you lol

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

I wrote about this book before the overhaul of the blog, but I’ll speak about it here as well. I initially started this book back in 2015 and for some reason didn’t connect with it, despite it being about a teenage girl in the 90s who wanted to become a music journalist. How could I not love this book? For whatever reason, I couldn’t get into it on my first try and gave up after about 40 pages. But then I picked it back up at the beginning of the year, and I loved it! I don’t know what happened in 2015; guess my brain was temporarily broken. But this was a really great read. It’s oddly raunchy right in the first chapter (wherein main character Johanna is trying to masturbate without disturbing her younger brother, who crawled into bed with her), and while Johanna’s raging sexuality doesn’t disappear, it’s certainly less jarring as time goes on lol. Definitely worth a read, I’d say.

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

So this is a very popular book in a very popular series . . . and I just can’t bring myself to read the rest of it. I got a little swept up in the story in that I was horribly surprised by the twist near the end (and horribly upset with myself for not seeing it coming), but the main parts bored me. I just couldn’t envision myself going through the rest of the series, so I had to bail. No offense at all to the people who like the series; it’s just not for me. I’m slightly burned out on the whole “super special young girl shaking up the status quo” trope . . .

Although . . .

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

I really like this particular series, which features a super special young girl who is shaking up the status quo lol. I plan to blog about the final book in the trilogy at some point in January (because I still need to start it), but it deserves its spot here as well! This is the second book in the series, and reading it confirmed that I actually liked it in the first place. When I read the first book, The Queen of the Tearling, I was kind of on the fence. I was intrigued, but I couldn’t tell if it was actually good or if I was being complacent. Invasion proved it: It’s good! I can’t say much more because spoilers, but if you’re into magic and traveling through dimensions and rebuilding your family legacy, then check it out!

Monstrous Affections, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant

I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK.

Seriously. I’m obsessed with this book. It’s a collection of speculative fiction YA short stories, and I love it forever!!! Super Hubs is also a major fan. There are monsters (obviously), there’s magic, there’s a gay half-harpy soldier who defends the border between the human world and the world full of (possibly) dangerous creatures. My favorite short story is “This Whole Demoning Thing,” written by Patrick Ness. It’s about a high school band made of demons, and the lesson is learning to be yourself. I probably made it sound dumb, but it’s so awesome. Naturally, the fabulous Kelly Link wrote one of the spookier stories in the book; “The New Boyfriend” is about a Boyfriend doll that may or may not be possessed by the ghost of a person whose hair is inside it. Spooooooky!!!

I would say to stop reading this blog post and get this book, but I’ve got more post to write . . . So finish this blog post and then go get this book! You dummy! (Just kidding. I love you.)

Rock Chicks by Alison Stieven-Taylor

I wanted to like this book. I really did. It’s a non-fiction biography covering a lot of the major ladies in the rock and roll world from the 60s and on. I should’ve loved this. But there were just soooooo many things wrong with it. The design is a mess. The pages have way too much going on, and I found it extremely distracting. Then the writing itself was poor. This was several months ago when I picked it up, so I can’t tell you the specifics, but I just remember thinking several times “Why didn’t she mention [this fact that I know about the woman in question]?” It was just very sloppy all around. I’m still curious about the subject matter, so I intend to find a comparable selection in the future. But this was a DNF (Did Not Finish) for me, which you should know is very rare.

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, edited by April Genevieve Tucholke

Super Hubs wrote about this, but I read it first. It was pretty good, although I’m not used to reading legitimate horror, so the morally ambiguous endings messed me up a bit. It pales in comparison to Monstrous Affections just because that book blew my mind, but this was good too. I think it’ll take a reread for me to figure out which one is my favorite story . .  . It’s hard to choose since horror isn’t my jam. It might be “Fat Girl With a Knife.” Who knows!

Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond

This was a recent read; finished it last week. It’s a memoir about the ways in which filmmaker John Hughes influenced the writer. I thought it was going to be a lot of fun analysis of the films Hughes created, but it’s actually pretty dark! Diamond’s life . . . was not great! His parents seemed like assholes, he became homeless during his final year or so in high school because his mother just bailed on him. I was constantly in shock over what he had to deal with growing up!

It was a good read, but something really stuck in my craw: There were a lot of tiny errors. Spelling mistakes, words that seemed to be missing . . . I felt like I was reading an ARC, but I actively bought this book off the shelves of a Barnes and Noble! So what happened there? Get your shiz together, publisher!

Celebrity Books

I picked up Anna Kendrick’s book Scrappy Little Nobody and Joel McHale’s book Thanks for the Money. Kendrick’s book was hilarious and relatable; McHale’s book was also hilarious but sometimes I wondered if it was just a little too “on.”

A Whole Mess of Rereads

I did a significant amount of rereading this year. As you may recall, A Song of Ice and Fire made its way in front of my eyeballs (which you may recall because of my post A Return to Ice and Fire—shameless self-plug!!). I also reread I Am the Messenger, my favorite book and the inspiration for what will be my first tattoo (on Jan 13!!!). Seriously though. Why is this book so flippin gorgeous?! Marcus Zusak, how do you do it?!

Here’s a list of my other rereads:

  • Chuck Klosterman IV. I intend to do a full post about my love/hate relationship with Klosterman in the future. But this is definitely my second-favorite of his.
  • Ready Player One. You should know I enjoy this book because of my post about the upcoming film adaptation (I won’t do a plug here; find it on your own, lazies!)
  • The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. This book was a gigantic nostalgia trip. I read it for the first time in high school and just really connected with the main character. She’s a slightly overweight girl who’s just trying to live her life. Something fairly dramatic happens with her brother, which I can’t relate to, but the way she handles the situation (and her kinda dysfunctional family) is very inspiring.
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. This was in preparation for the second book in the series, A Torch Against the Night, coming out. Still loved it, and I loved Torch as well.
  • The Jessica Darling series. I only got through the first three books in my reread, but I intend to get the final two read in early 2017!
  • Get in Trouble by Kelly Link. I had to, after Monstrous Affections. Because I love her now. I need her other books STAT.

So that was my year of reading! There were a few other things that weren’t worth mentioning (like a book I read for my book publishing overview class in the spring), and other things that I’ve already talked about (so go into the posts we wrote throughout the year!). I definitely didn’t get as much reading done as I wanted to. There were quite a few reading slumps this year—just another example of how garbage 2016 was!

I apologize for the somewhat rushed nature of this post, by the way! I’m writing it later than I intended, which means it’s getting posted behind schedule, and I’m anxious about the move, so my mind is all over the place! I promise to be back to my normal, chatty self in the new year!

May your new year be full of new books,
Nikkie

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