[Top Ten Tuesday] Bookish Resolutions 2016.

[This post is done as part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish]

TTTEvery year, I do up a personal list of resolutions and while I have never been able to fully adhere to the whole thing, these resolutions do help me set some targets to work towards. This year, I’ve decided to expand my 2016 personal resolutions to include a subsection purely for reading-related goals so it’s great that this is the first TTT topic (TTTT?) of the year.

Unlike some of my other resolutions, which can be rather nebulous despite my best efforts to make them as specific as possible, I think my bookish ones are going to be rather targeted and quantified.

[Bookish resolutions]

This year, I plan to:

1. Read 40 books: last year I announced that I would read 55 books, a prediction that fell totally flat when I had only achieved 27 by the end of 2015 thanks to life happening. This year, I’m going for something a bit more realistic given the many exciting changes I’ll be having in my personal life, but still a lofty enough number that I’ll have to push myself sometimes.

2. Blog here at least three times a month: running both a personal blog and this book one can be quite overwhelming at times (which…is not something you can see from the pitiful amount of posts on either) but this year I’ve set myself a comfortable target of two blog posts per week (or eight a month). At least three of those will/shall be for here.

3. Be more active in the book community: this is perhaps the vaguest of my resolutions here but it’s been something I really have been wanting to step up on. This could include taking part in more challenges, commenting more on others’ posts, or hopefully, having some collaborations.

4. Writing more: while this is only tangentially related to a blog on reading, I’ve been wanting more and more to stretch my writing muscle, something that has been sorely neglected for over a decade. I’m currently working on some Magic: the Gathering fanfiction and hope to resume my Pokemon fanfiction and perhaps even some original works.

[Book resolutions]

On top of that, I also have some resolutions targeting specific titles, including:

5. starting on The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin: this is the current hip fantasy series and I always feel like such a fantasy fraud for not having actually given it a try. The first book is lying in my TBR pile so I aim to get around to it this year.

6. starting on The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon: I’ve heard so many great things about this series that I have to figure out what all the hooha is about.

7. finishing the Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett: this year, I (and the rest of the comedy fantasy loving world) said goodbye to my favourite author of all time and it shames to say that, while I’ve devoured most of the entries in the Discworld series but have never touched this subseries. Since his last work was about Tiffany Aching, I think it’s apt that I visit this part of the (Disc)world to bid my final farewells.

8. finishing all of Tamora Pierce’s series: I’m quite liking what I’ve read so far and since her books are quite short and quick reads, I hope to blast through her collected works.

9. completing The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien: again, see what I said about George R. R. Martin, only even more epic and classic.

10. finding the Children of Amarid series by David B. Coe: this stands as one of my favourite series of all time and although I have the first book in the series, I don’t seem to be able to find the other two anywhere anymore. This year, I shall try harder.


 

Dear reader, what are your bookish 2016 resolutions?

Books Wrap-up 2015 a.k.a. Audiobooks saved my life.

This year, audiobooks saved my (book) life. Making up more than half the titles I’ve consumed these past months, the allure and convenience of on-the-go “reading” was too difficult to resist, especially when books feel like such heavy investments of time and mental energy that I usually end up devoting my sedentary breaks to calligraphy, games, shows/Youtube (and, ironically, Booktube), Pocket articles and other forms of less cerebrally-taxing general merriment.

Despite that, I still did not reach my target of 55 books this year, barely even scraping the halfway mark. This small number, of course, makes choosing the standouts this year a bit of a contradictory mess. On one hand, there aren’t that many choices to rack my brain on. On the other, that also means the quality pool is smaller, especially when my year has been dominated by middling autobiographies all quite similar to each other.

Still, there were a few outstanding titles and so, without further ado, here are The Great Gabsby’s Award Winners of 2015!

(…actually, I need to add in some further ado here just to clarify that these aren’t books that were necessarily released, just read by me, in 2015.)

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Best book to listen to: The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

In a year where I spent more time listening to books than actually reading them, this one was by far the best aural experience. Like I mentioned in my review, the story itself is nothing particularly exciting but the voicework is nothing short of riveting.

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Best Introduction to Irish Mythology 101 substitute: Hounded by Kevin Hearne

I was a mythology nut growing up but always stuck to more traditional, Greco-Roman fare so this made for an interesting premise based purely on its origins. I love this book’s blending of existing mythology and original elements and the result made for an exciting, if light-hearted, romp in the park. The voicework is pretty good here, too. I can’t wait to start on the next entry in the series.

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Best introduction to simple-but-good fantasy: Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

One of the last books I completed this year, this was a good simple read. It’s not particularly deep, the characters are all a bit too nice and perfect, and the deus ex machinating is a bit too much at times, but Pierce writes so elegantly (some might say…piercingly) that it doesn’t matter. The book will fly past sooner than you can figure out how to pronounce “Tamora”.

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Best conclusion to a sci-fi series (that I’ve read): Strike by D. J. MacHale

I have to draw your attention to the little bracket in the award since, well, this is the only sci-fi series I’ve completed. Still, genre aside, I’d still push this title to anyone. MacHale’s Pendragon series was one of my childhood favourites and it’s a testament of how good he is that he can combine two genres I don’t normally go for and get me so excited for each sequel. This was a fitting and, well, explosive end to the series and I can only hope he churns out more like it.

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Best middle child entry: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Middle entries in trilogies usually aren’t that great, laden down with the task of having to progress the plot while still holding out on enough for the exciting finale. This one was fantastic, though. It had a self-contained story while still moving the trilogy’s one along at a brisk clip. The twist at the end wasn’t as good as his usual ones but it’s nonetheless a good enough read that I’m now hankering for the final entry.

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Best This Is Not What I Expected?! surprise: One More Thing by B. J. Novak

The book that made me realise I really have to read book blurbs before starting on them, this title was interesting in that, in a year where I chowed down on mediocre author-narrated tomes (the two most disappointing ones being the sophomore efforts from Jenny Lawson and Mindy Kaling), this broke the mould by a) not being a memoir and b) being surprisingly well-written. I did not expect a collection of short fictional works and had spent the first few wondering why his life (as I had assumed this to be a memoir) was so dramatic. While I did read another “Heh?!”-inducing, celebrity-read book this year (Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance), this one was the more interesting one.

[Top Ten Tuesday] Books to Movies.

[This post is done as part of GaBloWriMo, my own version of NaNoWriMo. Find out more here. It is also done as part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.]

Generally, book-to-movie adaptations are just like movie-to-game ones – there will always be something to gripe about in the translation. Even generally-acclaimed ones like the Harry Potter series had some issues (I personally hated the choppy pacing of the Prisoner of Azkaban).

Still, it’s still awesome to see what you’ve read come to life, even if it doesn’t always follow what you have in your head. Because I cannot think of enough examples like to vary my range, I’ll be expanding this week’s TTT theme (“books to movie adaptations that I just cannot wait for) to include:

Actual upcoming movies that I cannot wait for:

mockingjay fantastic beasts Ready_Player_One_cover

  1. Mockingjay Part 2 (Suzanne Collins): I assume this is on every single list out there, and for good reason. This is the climatic end to a series that has lent itself very well to cinematics and who doesn’t want to see JLaw and JHutch one last time in their Panemagnificence?
  2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (J. K. Rowling): It’s J. K. Rowling Newt Scamander. And Harry Potter. With beasts (fantastic ones, at that). ‘Nuff said.
  3. Ready Player One (Ernest Cline): The real-life-gaming aspect of this book feels like it would translate awesomely to the big screen.

Actual movies that I need to watch:

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  1. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak): This was easily one of my favourite books of the last few years and, while I normally don’t go for war films, I would definitely pay for this one if they stick to the source material closely (and well).
  2. The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien): Yes yes, I know. I’m the only person left in the world who hasn’t seen this. I couldn’t make it through the first 15 minutes of the first film (or the first half an hour of reading the book) but I’ll have to do this someday, if only to redeem some of my fantasy cred.

Books that need to be made into movies

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  1. Animorphs series (K. A. Applegate): While I think the complexity and epic scale of this series would actually be served better by a TV show (with an actual budget and credible production values…not the deplorable attempt made years ago), I would definitely settle for a movie series condensing the more key moments of the series. I don’t think this will come to pass, seeing as how its heyday was during a time when the internet was barely even a thing, but one can always hope.
  2. Pendragon series (D. J. MacHale): A criminally underrated book series, Pendragon can definitely translate well to the large screen, with its fantastical worlds, diverse cast of characters and action-packed sequences.
  3. Sylo series (D. J. MacHale): I’m not usually into sci-fi thrillers but this trilogy was engaging from start to end and it would be a pity if it isn’t made into a movie block because the books are written so cinematically.
  4. Mistborn series (Brandon Sanderson): Brandon Sanderson’s offerings can fill up this entire list on their own (and almost did, but I only remembered them after I had generated most of this list until I decided not to be lazy) but this has to be one of his best. It fits cinema-goers’ interests too. Strong female lead? Check. Magic? Check. Strongly-built world and atmospheric excellence? Check. It’s a series of digesting metals for magic – what’s not to like?
  5. Steelheart series (Brandon Sanderson): Superhero movies are saturating the market right now but who’s to say that Marvel and DC have to hog all the fun? Again, BSand has created a cast that seems made for film, with fast-paced action scenes, cool powers, and enough intrigue to easily last three big entries (with the requisite two-part finale too).

Dear reader, what book-to-film adaptations are you looking forward to?