Sunday 31 December 2017

Favourite Books of 2017

I love reading and I managed 50 books in 2017. Out of those, I've picked my favourite ten books below. I haven't ordered them as that would be an almost impossible task!

Moxie - Jennifer Matthieu
I loved this one so much I inhaled in it one night. An empowering and affirming feminist story that serves as both an intro for budding feminists and an enjoyable read if you're more familiar. I especially loved that intersectionality was included because for me this is an important element of feminism. The romance in this one also stood out to me.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe - Lauren James
It's difficult to say much about this one for fear of ruining it, so lets just say it's quite a ride! I read it in one night, finishing at 3am, and had to text my boyfriend on his night shift the whole plot so I could talk to him about it. Genuinely one of those books where the less you know about it the better.

The Pearl Thief - Elizabeth Wein
This is the prequel for Code Name Verity featuring Queenie, one of the protagonists from that story. It centres on a mystery in the holidays at her family's ancestral Scottish home and has really good bi and traveller rep. It's especially poignant and heartbreaking if you read Code Name Verity first, which I recommend.

We Are Okay - Nina Lacour
This is a beautiful, introspective and heartbreaking read. I absolutely loved it and it's one of those books where the emotions just seep into you. I actually borrowed it from a friend and loved it so much I bought my own copy. This one wins my Most Beautiful Book* Award (*not actually a real thing, but if it was, this would win)

History Is All You Left Me - Adam Silvera
Another heartbreaking one, this actually made me cry which is an uncommon experience for me! There is so much raw grief in this story; made all the more impactful by the inclusion of the 'history' chapters from before Theo's death.

All The Crooked Saints - Maggie Stiefvater
This is Maggie's first book since finishing The Raven Cycle series. It has many of the same elements seen in Maggie's other books: magical realism, characters with complex motivations, mythology native to a family/island/community and feelings ascribed to inanimate objects. At the same time though it felt very different. I didn't quite love this one as much as others of Maggie's but it's still easily in my top ten.

When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Menon
This is just the sweetest contemp romance. I really loved the elements of Dimple's culture that were brought in, especially her parents talking to her in Hindi. This is reminiscent of Stephanie Perkins and for me shows that any book can be made to be representative without losing anything at all from the story

The Spellbook of the Lost and Found - Moira Fowley-Doyle
I loved Moira's first book The Accident Season and so this was my most anticipated 2017 read. It did not disappoint. Beautiful, whimsical and unique it's a perfect read for fans of magical realism, with good LGBT rep as well.

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
Is there a top ten books list that DOESN'T feature this book?! Angie Thomas really knocked it out of the park with her debut novel, title inspired by Tupac's THUG LIFE. The subject matter is timely and powerful: an unarmed teen shot to death by a police officer in the US and the aftermath that follows. The topic is masterfully handled by Angie who characterises everyone and the neighbourhoods they live in so beautifully.

Eliza and Her Monsters - Francesca Zappia
You may notice that there are only 9 books in the above photo. This is because I lent this one to a friend for her to read! Eliza is the anonymous creator of a hugely popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea, and this book takes an authentic look at the positive and negative aspects of Fandom and at the complex relationship between fans and creator. If you liked Fangirl you'll love this one. 

What were your favourite books of 2017?

Saturday 30 December 2017

Looking Back At 2017

I feel like whenever bloggers return from a long absence they write a post explaining where they've been. I can't really say anything other happened. Things went a bit wrong. But I'd like to get back into blogging if I can and felt like a post recapping 2017 was a good start!

2017 has, overall, been a pretty shit year. Our beautiful, beautiful dog Mabel died very suddenly in January. My health has declined severely to the point I am now signed off work sick and have been for 2 months now. My mum had a prolonged hospital stay in the summer that left me looking after a young puppy and a house and still maintaining my job (though my mum is doing much better now so it was for the good). And obviously it was a very shit year for the world at large. There were some light spots in the dark though, and that's what I'd prefer to focus on now. 

Our beautiful Mabel just after midnight on New Years Day

Despite my worsening health I managed 7 holidays this year! I went to: Budapest in January, Wroclaw in March, Rome in May, Cologne in July, Prague in September, Edinburgh in October and Lisbon in November. I feel like I am now the queen of reasonably priced holidays as this lot cost me probably just over a grand. I feel like this was a good mix of holidays; I went to 5 countries I hadn't been to before, went back to Cologne which I first visited over a decade ago with school, and went back to my favourite city: Edinburgh. I think Rome and Budapest were probably my favourite out of the bunch! It was amazing to finally go to Italy and it was so warm and lovely and the city is so full of treasures. And Budapest was icy and freezing but in that clear, clean, crisp cold way that is just wonderful. I'm hoping to get some posts up about these trips! I'm so grateful to my various travel buddies for being sympathetic and understanding about my limitations and not making me feel ba when we had to miss things!

Rome - I loved all the architectural layers. Thousands of years worth of structures

In Lisbon

We also got a puppy! We found our house empty and sad without our beloved Mabel, so we welcomed little Agatha into our home in March. She was a bit of a handful at first but now at nearly a year old she's settled into a lovely dog. She's so sweet and affectionate and even though we all still miss Mabel, its really nice to have another dog to love. 

Our sweet Agatha 

I also got a tattoo this year! I went at the end of November with my best friend and that was really special. I've wanted this specific tattoo for a long time so I'm really happy I finally got it! Flecti Non Frangi translates to 'bending not breaking', which I think is pretty apt for a hypermobile person! 

Even though my health has gone in the wrong direction this year, I did take some steps forward. I eventually got a new medication added into my regimen which I think is working. I started taking Magnesium which I think was helping, but then I stopped...uhh. I restarted recently. I managed to see a physio who gave me a full stretching routine to help with my pain and muscle tightness and I started hydrotherapy. I'm hoping this will lead into more exercise in the new year. Lately I've been trying to go on more walks with Agatha to get more exercise as well. 

A small 2017 thing I'm proud of is making my skincare regime cruelty free. It's something I really wanted to do but I had existing none-CF products I wanted to use up first. Everything I use is now CF, though I do need to work on my haircare routine as some elements aren't CF yet. I also really want to work on reducing my environmental impact as much as possible in 2018, as I made small inroads this year.

And I think that's about it! I already have some plans in place for 2018 and I'm hoping it will be a better year. 

Christmas - a lovely one to end 2017 with