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top10favorite2016firsthalf

Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2016 So Far

Hello my darling bookish friends,

This year has been such an eye-opened for me in terms of books. I’d never before sought out new releases, being content to catch up on classics and other previously fully vetted books. But, through a confluence of becoming more involved on Goodreads, starting this blog, figuring out that ARCs exist and that I too, can get them, I fell into the wonderful amazing world of anticipating Tuesdays (because that’s when all new books come out? Who knew Tuesdays could become my new favorite day of the week?!)

So this week’s Top Ten Tuesdays, hosted by The Broke and Bookish since 2010, is perfectly themed for me; the prompt: Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year. Now, I’ve already bought/received ARCs for far more books this year than I’ve actually read, so I’m dividing up this list in half:

  • Top Books of (first half of) 2016 I’ve actually read
  • Top Books of (first half of) 2016 I’ve bought/have and look forward to reading soon

Also, I can’t really stick to the number 10 – as snotty as I used to be about new releases (I was one of those awful people who mostly turned up their nose at “all that new stuff”) – I found, after giving them a chance, that I simply LOVE LOVE LOVE “all that new stuff” so much – so my favorites list for 2016 is overflowing. Here are my top top favorites, but I actually have many others 🙂

I am limiting my 2016 favorites to the first half of the year (end date: May 31, 2016); the list is in order of publication. 

Clicking on the image will take you to GoodReads!
Clicking on the title of the book will take you to my review on this blog (if applicable)


Top Books of (first half of) 2016 I’ve Actually Read

splitfootMr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt
Published January 5, 2016
Genres: Literary, Magical Realism, Gothic

I loved this book SO MUCH for opening up my world to part of the US I don’t ever get to experience in my cushy East-Coast perch. And, it’s so beautifully written.


gayyareadathon.jpgJuliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
Published January 18th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, LGBTQIA

I only read this book this past weekend although it came out in January – as part of my first read-along ever, #GayYAReadalong. It’s one mindblowing, eye-opening book even for someone my age that I will be reviewing shortly!


girlglass

Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson
Published January 26, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary

The first book I ever pre-ordered, this is the perfect dance book – a beautifully-written historical coming-of-age in NYC, involving a former ballerina. Oh, and there’s mystery too, and two timelines. LOVE!


birdsAll the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Published January 26, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy

I simply loved the message of this book, and its execution for the most part – it’s an inventive, beautifully written story about the eternal human struggle to conquer nature through technology and all the moral implications of that.


losttimeThe Lost Time Accidents by John Wray
Published February 9, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Literary, Epic Head-Trip

Wow, well so I just noticed the ratings on this one are not good on GR at all at the moment; I guess it’s a very niche book- a clever, epic, quirkly different multi-faceted sci-fi exploration of time. But maybe a bit tedious if this isn’t your thing, based on other reviews.


lovecraft.jpgLovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
Published February 16, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy, Literary, Historical Fiction

Another brilliant sci-fi/fantasy, this one an inversion of Lovecraft’s often racist and sexist work, a visceral description of experienced racism, and a powerful allegory of institutional racism in the US, set in first half of the 20th century US.


evictedEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
Published March 1, 2016
Genres: Non-Fiction, Housing Policy, US-History, Oral-History

This is an eye-opening book about the effects of housing policy on poverty in the US, told through the stories of two communities, a mostly black inner-city neighborhood and a mostly white trailer park.


whatisnotWhat Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
Published March 8, 2016
Genres: Literary, Short-Stories

I’m not going to lie, this book went over my head a bit, but still is by far one of the most poetic books I’ve read this year. I also don’t read many short stories (the theme that ties these together is keys of all kinds, physical and metaphorical), so I was lucky to begin with such a beautiful collection.


Never-Open-Desert Diner3The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson
Published March 22, 2016
Genres: Literary, Noir, Western, Mystery

I LOVED this book to pieces, mostly because of its atmospheric rendering of a part of the US I’m fascinated by but where I’ve never been (the Utah desert). To someone from DC that’s as far “out there” as you can get in the US, and I was simply swept away into the world Anderson so masterfully creates.


secondhandSecondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich
Published May 16, 2016
Genres: Non-Fiction, Oral History, Eastern Europe, USSR-History

This is my soul-book for the year that I rated as “unlimited stars.” It’s brilliant because Alexievich is brilliant, but it’s also very close to my heart, telling as it does the history of the breakup of the Soviet Union. Ok, so I’m from Romania which was never part of the USSR, but this oral history is as close as I’ve ever gotten to a history of my past.


 Honorable Mentions of 2016 that I’ve Read & Liked a Lot

Clicking on the title of the book will take you to my review on this blog

midnight  cambodianoir  nyexposed  lovecanal


Top Books of (first half of) 2016 I Still Have to Read!!!

There’s actually a lot more books on this list, but these are the TOP books I still have to read 🙂 Clicking on the image will take you to GoodReads!

saltsea.jpg  suddendeath.jpg   whatlies.jpg  janesteele.jpg

lietree.jpg  mirrorthief.jpg  larose.jpg  dondelillo


Whew!! So many incredibly books in 2016 already! What have been some of your favorites, or which ones are you still looking forward to reading?

bookswhimtop

A Note & Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’ve Picked Up On a Whim

Hello lovely bookish friends –

I am so happy to be back with you after an impromptu week’s absence, and so look forward to catching up on all that I’ve missed in the following days. It’s truly in being away from something that you realize just how meaningful it is, as they say. I am so grateful for this amazing community and thank you, so much. (more…)

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Top 10 Tuesday: The DC (Political Junkie) Edition

Hi everyone!

Thank you to The Broke and Bookish for the inspiration and for hosting “Top Ten Tuesdays” since 2010! This week’s prompt: Top Ten Websites I Love That Aren’t About Books (suggestions: favorite food/travel/craft/fitness blogs I follow, websites I visit daily, fun websites I waste a lot of time on etc.)

My post this week is dedicated to my (American) hometown: DC (REPRESENT!), where I’ve lived since moving to the US at the age of 11. (more…)

top5wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Authors I’d Like to Meet

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme hosted by @ThoughtsOnTomes; the related GR group may be found here: Goodreads T5W. This week’s topic: Authors You’d Want To Meet at Book Expo America & Bookcon.

I’m modifying this a bit and thinking instead of Authors I’d Want to Meet. I’ve only ever met one author – last night, I attended a release-day talk by Don DeLillo about his new book, Zero K (post coming tomorrow! Many, many thanks to Cover2CoverMom for inspiring me to go!!!) I haven’t thought much (at all) about this question before because it never occurred to me I could meet authors in person (? right?).

(more…)

top10bookwormtop

Top Ten Tuesday – Bookworm Delights

Thank you to The Broke and Bookish for the inspiration and for hosting “Top Ten Tuesdays” since 2010! This week’s prompt: Top Ten Bookworm Delights, inspired by this post by Jamie.

There are so many ways in which bookish experiences reenchant my world daily, and so many reasons to be grateful re: books-in-my-life. Here are some highlights, in no particular order: (more…)

intimidatingbookstop

Top 5 Wednesday – Books that Intimidate Me


Top 5 Wednesday is a meme hosted by @ThoughtsOnTomes; the related GR group may be found here: Goodreads T5W

A close friend suggested yesterday that perhaps the books that are hardest to read are most worth it to try… And this got me thinking perhaps I can find the courage this summer to tackleworks I’ve carried with me for ages. In the very least, naming the problem/challenge seems to be Step 1 in any program, and declaring such things in public spaces creates some aura of accountability, so with a goal of (hopefully) having reviews of these by end-August, here’s the top 5 books that scare me witless: (more…)

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Top Ten Tuesday* Variation: Eastern Block Humor & Bulgakov’s Master & Margarita

mathuniverseI’ve been dallying on this Top Tuesday post (a meme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish; theme: humorous books) for days (originally I was going to have it ready by the end of the weekend and schedule it to post during my busy week). But the more I thought about it, the more I wasn’t sure I’d have anything productive to add to the conversation.  Because I’m probably the last person you want to get humor recommendations from (for example, the pop-physics book I’m reading now, Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality has me doubling over in hysterics every other page… sigh – when did I become the crazy math teacher?)

Still, the more I thought about it, the more I realized by not writing this post, I was practicing a favorite strategy of mine: avoidance. I mean, the things that are hardest to write are probably the most worth it to attempt. And this time, to write anything at all, I found myself compelled into a variation of the theme Top 10 Humorous Books – a meditation of sorts on my own relationship with humor, told through one of my favorite books of all time, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. (more…)

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books Every Young Woman Should Read

This week I am excited to participate in my first meme-post: thank you to The Broke and Bookish for the inspiration and for hosting “Top Ten Tuesdays” since 2010! This week’s prompt: Ten Books Every [fill-in-the-blank] Should Read.

In the spirit of the meme, I’ve titled my post Top Book Every Young Woman Should Read, but it would be more accurate to say these are the top ten books I wish I had read as a young woman (sometime between the ages of 16-21), books that opened my eyes to new dimensions of justice, experience, and possibilities for action.

Really though, if you are a young woman, you’ve had enough of people telling you what you “should” do. You should read whatever you desire and are interested in. I have only one recommendation: to expand your reading horizons and cultivate appreciation for different types of books. But, perhaps I wouldn’t have taken my own advice back then(?) I read nothing but Nancy Drew & R. L. Stine for years, and then I discovered Agatha Christie to the same effect (YA wasn’t yet a thing back in the late 1990s and early 2000, or I’m sure I would have been addicted). So do as you will. I can only hope that perhaps, one of the books below will spark your curiosity 🙂 (more…)