When people think of the end of the year and the beginning of a new one, most probably think of fresh starts, setting goals, and all the resolutions
they won’t stick to Ignore the pessimist behind the curtain. Sure, I think of those things too, but mostly I think of all the FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD that will soon be taking up happy residence in my belly. November has Thanksgiving, December has Christmas, and January has New Years, all of which are holidays generally celebrated with oh-so-wonderful feasts.
There’s osechi ryori (おせち料理 – traditional Japanese New Year food), minced pies, turkeys, suckling pig. And don’t forget the chocolate pot roast with dismenshio… no, it’s pismechio… no, it’s disminglishmaguh… duh… with yogurt. (If you can name that movie, we will be friends forever).
But there’s something else that I love to devour besides food. Can you guess what it is? Bet you can…insert dramatic pause… Yup, it’s books! I really had you sweating there, didn’t I? Don’t worry, this won’t be on the final exam. Reading books is kind of like eating – not a day goes by that I don’t do either. Plus, I talk about both with equal levels of excitement. So, I thought it fitting to celebrate the end of 2018 by having a (fiction) feast; a fancy five-course meal where I share with you the five best books I devoured this year. (And then when we’re done, let’s go get something real to eat. I’ll be hungry by then, because when am I not hungry? Hint: the answer is never.)
The Soup Course: Arc of a Scythe Series
Okay, so technically this is two books. Bite me. But don’t actually, please. In Scythe, Neal Shusterman cooked up a delectable, dark treat that made my
taste reading buds tingle with delight Psst, reading buds? That’s not even a thing, Kat! The world of Mid-America is crafted with such detail, such ingenuity, that it feels disturbingly believable in many ways. Not to mention that the end of Thunderhead burned the entirety of my soul and turned it dead black. YOU CAN’T DO THAT TO ME, NEAL!!!! Can I call you Neal? Is it too informal? Should I call you Mr. Shusterman instead?
The Fish Course: The Young Elites Series
It’s no secret that I have not been very impressed with Marie Lu’s other works. So, imagine my surprise when this bittersweet story braised my heart and broiled my emotions with it’s freshly-crafted characters and its rich worldbuilding. Adelina is a saucy, morally-grey character (which I will never not love) armed with a will of iron and a mind of sharp steel. Plus, who doesn’t need more BA antiheroines in their life? NOBODY THAT’S WHO.
The Main Course: Shadow of the Fox
Instead of trying to describe my love of this book with words (which would be inadequate), let me instead use a GIF of Kermit the Frog losing his mind. Because that’s how I feel about Shadow of the Fox.
The Dessert Course: Circe
This sweet novel will forever hold a piece of my heart. Not only is Madeline Miller’s writing over-the-moon amazing, but she breathes new life into a cast of characters that we all thought we knew. (We were wrong, of course.) As a mother of a rambunctious two-year-old myself, I connected very deeply with Miller’s depiction of motherhood, and was moved to tears many times. Circe is a book that is heartwarming, heart-breaking, and full of heart all at once.
The Cheese Course: The Poppy War
You know that saying, “Write what you know?” Well, R.F. Kuang does just that. She has a BA in International History from Georgetown University, where her research focused on Chinese military strategy, collective trauma, and war memorials. Drawing direct inspiration from her studies and from the history books, she set out to write a story centered around the 1937 Rape of Nanjing. The Poppy War is not a book for the faint of heart. It doesn’t brush the realities of war under the rug. No. It teaches lessons taken from historical fact, in all its harsh reality, and dresses it up as a fantasy novel.
After-Dinner Snacks: The Cruel Prince & The Belles
What are some of your favorite books that you’ve devoured this year?
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?
Share your thoughts in the comments!