Favourite Books of 2016 (So Far)

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Favourite Books of 2016 - Becoming by Laura Jane Williams, Just Kids by Patti Smith, Dear Fang With Love by Rufi Thorpe, The Gunslinger by Stephen King, Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth, and Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

* I was fortunate to receive this copy of Dear Fang, With Love for review from Corsair; thank you! All opinions are, of course, my own. *

As we shuffle into July after a less than stellar June (July hasn't been that great either really, has it?), I thought it was high time I looked back and assessed my reading material from the year so far. I think this year has already been exceptionally high quality on the reading front already, so when it came to picking out a top five I really struggled to narrow my choices down. So I didn't. Here's a top six with a couple of notable mentions thrown in for giggles.

Becoming - Laura Jane Williams (2016, Hodder & Stoughton) - A real five-star read. You may have seen my review of this book back in June, but if not you can find it here. Laura Jane is an absolute star and I will be offloading this book onto anyway who gets in my path.

The Gunslinger - Stephen King (1982, New English Library) - An exciting start to a series I have been putting off for far too long. I haven't written a review of this but this is definitely one of the greatest fantasy books (that isn't Young Adult) that I've read in a long time. There's not really any way I can talk about the story without spoilers but The Gunslinger is chasing the Man in Black across the desert and from that point you'll be sucked in like I was. P.S. Beyond excited for the film.

Just Kids - Patti Smith (2010, Bloomsbury UK) - Another book without a review, but an absolutely stunning read. Patti reminisces about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe from its beginning to his death. It's an incredibly beautiful read that transports you right to the heart of the 1970s New York art and music scene. It's full of references to works that have influenced her life, which I have since gone through and highlighted and written up as a list for my own consumption.

Wolf in White Van - John Darnielle (2014, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux) - My review for this book can be found here. An incredibly unique book that delves into the world of play-by-post games, dealing with topics of loneliness, isolation, and addiction.

Dear Fang, With Love* - Rufi Thorpe (2016, Corsair) - Oh boy. I would recommend you just read my review of this book here and then pick up a copy. Probably my favourite read of the year.

Bitter Greens - Kate Forsyth (2012, Allison & Busby) - Okay, maybe this is on par with Dear Fang as best book of the year. This is in part a retelling of the myth of Rapunzel, intertwined with the story of a young woman and her experiences in the court of Louis XIV, from which she is eventually banished to a convent. I'm in the middle of writing a review for this, so keep your eyes peeled because there is a lot to cover. This book is dark and magical.

Notable mentions:

The Tale of Murasaki - Liza Dalby (2000, Vintage) - Review can be found here! This is the (semi-fictionalised) story of Murasaki, author of The Tale of Genji and lady-in-waiting of the Empress Shoshi at around 1000. We learn about her childhood and travel through life with her, through her relationships, intense friendships, and her introduction to the court of the time.

A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas (2015, Bloomsbury Children's) - I've written a short review of this book here but to summarise: this is the first in a new(ish) Young Adult Fantasy series by Sarah J. Maas, introducing us to Feyre and her experiences in the world of the mysterious and dark fae after she murders one of their kind. It's an intense and mystical read.

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