If you’re looking for a good book to read this winter/holiday break, I’ve rounded up my favorite books that I read this year. I always like doing these year in review posts for myself as well, to look back at some of my favorite books of the year and what I would read again, gift to other people, and recommend to my lovely readers! So here it is, my top 5 books (of about 35) that I read in 2016:
Today I have a rave book review of a brand new release, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride. I was initially skeptical about beginning this book but I have to say, The Lesser Bohemians may be my favorite book of the year so far.
The Lesser Bohemians has a simple, almost cliché premise: an 18-year-old girl moves from Ireland to London in the mid 90s to attend drama school. She’s innocent but eager for life, and she finds herself engaged in a passionate, complicated, and challenging love affair with an actor twenty years older. He has a dark past and some very unsavory secrets. The story itself is fine, but the way it’s told elevates this book from the ordinary.
The most extraordinary and important thing to know before reading this novel is its language and style, which departs almost entirely from literary convention. It’s over 300 pages of the most gorgeous, evocative, stream-of-consciousness language that borders on being one very long poem. The literary style is not for every reader, and can be very challenging at times. I thought I would hate the style, and it only took me twenty or so pages for me to completely change my tune, believing it’s one of the most beautiful ways to tell a story. The style takes the trite subject matter and makes it real in ways I never thought possible. The style makes the characters—sometimes very abhorrent, flawed characters—lovable. The style reminds me of a mix of Howl and The Waste Land. I completely fell in love with the style once I committed to it, and this is definitely a novel you have to commit to wholeheartedly. Here are a few examples:
When I was younger, maybe an early teenager, I realized that most of my favorite books, which consisted mostly of YA fantasy and bad historical fiction novels, were all books by female authors. I adored books like Ella Enchanted, A Great and Terrible Beauty, and especially Harry Potter. My favorite authors were Jean Plaidy, JK Rowling, Libba Bray, Gail Carson Levine, and Margaret George.
Being a female writer comes packaged with tons of difficulties you’d think of being a woman in a male-dominated field. There are even some people who ignore books by female authors entirely, and won’t pick up anything written by a woman. JK Rowling styled herself that way because her publisher warned her that since she’s a woman, her books may not sell as well if she went by “Joanne Rowling.” How infuriating, and sad.