Nov. 29th, 2016

fereldanwench: (Mood - Daydreaming Ariel)
I've been trying to put together a tentative list of books to read next year. I used to be such a voracious reader when I was younger, but it's really slowed down in recent years; I want to make a concentrated effort to rekindle that love. I've tried half-heartedly since 2014, but it was more like "I wish I read more" rather than... yanno. Fucking reading more.

I've been bouncing back and forth between some chatter on A Court of Thorns and Roses/Mist and Fury Facebook group and Goodreads to get a few ideas for said list, and I've had a few disjointed thoughts about ACOTAR/MAF in general:

  • ACOMAF ended up surprising me in a good way--I was super underwhelmed with the first book, but I love where Maas took the series. It was reassuring that some of the things I didn't like about the first book were things that I don't think the reader was supposed to like. Red flags in a relationship weren't intended to be glossed over and romanticized; they were intended to be red flags. ACOMAF actually made me appreciated ACOTAR so much more.
  • I'm stoked for Wings and Ruin next year. I can't remember the last time I was counting down for a book release.
  • I tried reading Maas' other series, starting with Throne of Glass--Eh. I got through the first two books, but I am struggling something fierce with the third one. Everyone keeps saying this series radically improves with each book, and I can see why, but ultimately I'm suffering from too many POVs. I don't like having to reset my internal voice and setting with every chapter. I had the same problem with A Game of Thrones and that one Sanderson book I tried to read (The Way of Kings, I think). 2 POVs is fine, I can work with 3 if I'm really engaged, and Heir of Fire has 4. Too much to keep up with. Plus the two guys are boring me at this point. (And one is a super straight playboy named Dorian which keeps throwing me off because of DA Dorian.)
  • I feel really at odds with what I've experienced with the ACOTAR/MAF fandom... Looking through the majority of the book recs I've seen from them, I think we have a very small overlap of reading interests. I see recommendations for a lot of book I wanted throw across the room and never finished (Outlander, Halfway to the Grave) and books that after I look them up sound ridiculous to me.

  • And good god, is it super mayo. The ToG series is getting turned into a TV show and supposedly ACOTAR a movie, and you can just watch the white tears pour in anytime a main character is fancast with an actor who isn't white. "But he has red hair! He can't be black! I'm not racist--I just want book accuracy! I just don't think it would fit the character!" and so on.
  • I mean, one of the lines from a recommended series is "His spear pierced into her sanctuary." AND YES THAT WAS ABOUT SEX. Hahahahaha. No, I'm not doing that. I already had to read about a dude sucking on his female partner's tongue in Halfway to the Grave. I demand better.

I think with the small sampling of books I've read over the past couple of years, I've come to a few conclusions:

  • I really, really want to love fantasy stories with a female protag and a solid love interest, but it is really, really hard for me to find stories with that criteria that still work for me. The Kushiel's Dart trilogy and now the ACO series are the only two in the past 10 years that I have thoroughly enjoyed. There have been a couple of other ones along the way that were fun, but not nearly as memorable. There have been many, many more that I just completely gave up on. Just bad writing, protags I cannot relate to at all, forced world-building, shitty heternormative tropes--It just seems like there's a lot of junk to weed through.
  • I generally don't like sci-fi nearly as much as fantasy. Or maybe it's just the sci-fi that I've read in recent years. I don't want to get bogged down with technology and ships and all that.
  • I've read way better porn via fanfic than through published stories.
  • I want to read less het and more f/f stories.
  • After reading Gillian Flynn's Dark Places and Sharp Objects, I want more female protags who are currently dealing with some shit and maybe not that well and probably aren't super likable because of it. I want more female anti-heroes. Especially in fantasy.
  • I love a funny memoir. Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea and Tough Shit were very enjoyable.
  • I also like some good nonfiction. My brother lent me Happy City, which has been really interesting (and helping me articulate certain things I hate about suburban life). I loved The Tipping Point and Blink. I'd like to read some more things to get me thinking.
  • I don't like reading on a tablet or phone. It's convenient and doable for shorter, less involved reads, but if I want to really get into something, I need a physical book.
  • I also need to find a good place to read. My office is strictly computer time--Art, Netflix, and video games. The living room is BF's computer domain--TV and games. The bedroom works until bedtime--We usually watch something before going to bed, and I find the ambient light and sound from the TV comforting as I doze off. Google Music has some good ambient reading music; I could use earbuds to block out the noise, but I still get distracted by moving things on a screen.

Anyhow, I think I'll keep scouring Goodreads in search of 20 or so books to read next year. If anyone has any recommendations, particularly for something not so mainstream, I'm definitely open to them.


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