So Sam’s Idea was top five literary characters you’d like to get drunk with but we’re getting to the end of the year and part of me wants to save that for another time, so instead I’m going to write about my five favorite books of 2017, or at least the recent past because I might include a few books taht don’t technically fit the 2017 timeline. And now I’m looking through my year in books and damn have I read a lot. Sidenote, tonight was my office holiday party and it was a total blast.
Okay 1: Lovecraft County by Matt Ruff
This book is about a family of black people living in the south who are kind of Chtulu adjacent. The family gets wrapped up in this white nonsense of some kind of cult through no fault of their own, and it really does involve the whole family. Each chapter has a focus on a different family member and some chapters are gorgeous while others are creepy as fuck but the book itself was a gem of a book and I was kind of shocked that this didn’t end up in the press nearly as much as I thought it deserved. An then it came out that Jordan Peel is making it for television and all was good with the world. This bok definitely has a bit of horror to it, and but he characters are fully filled out and the book itself has this beautiful ark to it, and honestly this is a book I would want everyohne to read.
2.Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
I unabashedly loved the first book is this series (it’s Every heart a doorway and it was stunning), the first book is about school for children who have returned from their magical lands – the ones that suited them and no other. This book follows the siblings and tells their story of before they went to the school. Jack and Jill have been raised by parents who believed so purely in logic that they assigned their children roles and didn’t understand when the didn’t perfectly fulfil them. In this world of theirs, however, they get to choose their own paths and boy does it get twisted. Seanan McGuire is amazing at building a world that you both completely want to inhabit while also being terrified of what it would really mean for you (I’m looking at you pseudonym book about mermaids that was actually terrifying),and this book does that while delving deep into two of the more interesting characters (and that’s sayihng a lot – I would read a book about any of them characters) from Ever Heart a Doorway.
3. Something Like Happy by Eva Wood
This book made me ugly cyr through the whole goddamn thing. I was lucky enough to get a copy before it actually came out (thanks bookcon). The story follows a woman who lives an unremarkable life who meets a woman with terminal cancer. The woman with cancer is a little bit kookie (though you find out that she wasn’t always so kookie) but the woman with cancer makes it her life goal to make the main characters life better. Its’ the kind of book taht you can tell from the very beginning is going to make you cry but it came at the right period of time for me, and I liked the way the main character grew throughout the story as the other characters were also allowed to grow, as sometimes I feel like books like this are meant for the main characters growth alone, this one did a good job at ensemble growth. Basically, if you want a tearjerker of a book, please go for this.
4. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
I may have written a post about this one (we write them after drinking so this must be a judgment free zone) but I’m not sure if I did. I loved this book. This book has a level of creepiness to it that I despereately wanted to find in the Ms. Peregrine’s series. But that one failed where this one super succeeded. Without much detail, this book spun a world of magical realism that filled me with such suspense that I was reading late at night and had to put the book down because I didn’t want to freak myself out. There were at least three differetn parts of this book I would have been thrilled to get another 100 pages of. (there could be an entire series about the people who live in the magical realism world alone). But I liked the growth of the main character, and her sidekick. I believed the motivation (which can be a sticky subject in books like this where I angrily don’t understand why anyone would do what they did). The end of the book was satisfying and yeah… at whatever point it comes out, read it.
5. Radium Girls by Kate Moore
Gonna be honest, this was a really hard one to read, not because of the way it was written bit because of the outcome for a bunch of people that hand’t realized the company they were working for was screwing them over until it was far too late. I’ve really enjoyed finding books about particular points in history that have been well written, and the Radium Girls were something I was already familiar with but not the level of heartbreaking detail that this book went into. They were women working at the Radium Factories just after radium was discovered, when it was considered a ‘health cure’ rather than ‘horrifically radioactive.’ the short summary is this book follows their time in the factory as well as through the years after when they started to realize something was wrong, all the way through the court cases holding the companies liable for their pain. there are a lot of people named, which at times made it hard to follow, but Kate Moore’s factual writing style made the pages whiz by even when reading about the difficulties the women were facing was increidbly difficult. There was something amazing about these women, who even at their most fragile were willing to stand up for what was right.