First things first: I'm done with NaNoWriMo, and I won!
With a total of 51,186 words. And that's the end of that chapter.
The year is drawing to a close, which means it's time for summaries, and some "best" and "worst" lists. The Broke and the Bookish (who host this meme), are listing top ten new to them authors of 2016, and I'm doing the same. This year, I've decided to put the authors in two categories - fiction and non-fiction - and write a few words about what makes them so special.
1. Rebecca Skloot
The author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the only book that the school is making us read. With the risk of spoiling the upcoming review, Skloot does a fantastic job balancing all sides of the story behind the HeLa cells, and the people who were affected by it. This was one of the most informative and engrossing books I have read in my life, so the author definitely deserves a spot on my list.
2. Solomon Northurp
Northurp's memoir, 12 Years a Slave was not an easy read. His account of the time he spent in captivity and of the reality of American slavery made me question my faith in humanity on more than one occasion. But at the same time, his narrative was filled with so much hope, love and optimism, that by the time I finished the book, I actually felt a little better.
3. Mukhamet Shayakhmetov
Speaking of memoirs that have the ability to break your heart. this list would not be complete without The Silent Steppe: The Memoir of a Kazakh Nomad under Stalin. This book gave me for the first time the full scope of the devastating effects that the Communist policies had for my homeland, but it also gave me a intimate look into a lifestyle that is completely alien to me.
More Communism and more tragedy. This time in the Soviet Ukraine. This Italian artist slayed me with his graphic novel, The Ukranian and Russian Notebooks: Life and Death under Soviet Rule, that retells the testimonies and first hand accounts of people who survived the Holodomor (famine death, that is). I for one didn't know that you could tackle such a heavy subject matter in comic book form. But Igort makes it work.
5. Felicia Day
Oh, how much I enjoyed Miss Day's über-nerdy, self-conscious, honest and funny memoir, You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). Not only is this a very fun book, but it's also very inspirational and it taught me a great deal about how you can be creative and find your own voice in the great wide web. Miss Day has a real talent when it comes to writing.
6. Kaitlyn Davis
If you're going to binge read a fantasy series, A Dance of Dragons by Kaitlyn Davis is the one I strongly recommend. I found it on NetGalley and I'm glad I did. Not only does Davis create a big and colourful world with equally colourful characters, but she uses such vivid language, that the whole story plays in your head like a movie. And even though some books in the series weren't as good as the others, they're still a treat.
7. Kurt Vonnegut
I had the chance to listen to the audio version of Vonnegut's classic short story, Harrison Bergeron, and I absolutely loved it. Vonnegut creates a giant scary idiocracy and fits it in one little short story. Well done, Mr. Vonnegut!
8. Clara Coulson
Soul Breaker is another fantasy novel I found on NetGalley. Urban fantasy this time. Coulson basically wrote a crossover between Men in Black and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it's great. Full of vivid imagery, interesting characters and solid world-building. Plus, it's the first book in the series, and I hope the second book will be as good.
9. Christopher Mannino
The Scythe Wielder's Secret is a (relatively) new YA fantasy trilogy that I read throughout the year. It started out strong, but lost some of its momentum in the third book. Nevertheless, it's a very interesting series about a teenage girl who becomes the only female Grim Reaper and has to deal with everyday sexism and harassment as well as battling an mysterious foe that threatens her entire world.
10. Robert Eggleton
Eggleton's debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow was without a doubt the strangest, craziest book I have ever read. A retired mental health psychotherapist, Eggleton writes a story about a brilliant young girl who lives in a broken home and has to deal with alcoholism and abuse on the daily basis. But this girl has an alien friend who is preparing her for a mission - to save the Universe from bankruptcy. This book is as provocative and real as it is crazy and over-the-top.