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The Best and Worst Books of Cannonball Read 10

By Mswas Sawsm | Books | December 26, 2018 |

By Mswas Sawsm | Books | December 26, 2018 |


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When you see a picture of someone reading, do you check to see what book they’ve got? Do you thrill to find a copy of your favorite author’s newest book on the library or bookstore shelf? Does your to-be-read list get longer and longer, but you just can’t help but add to it? Then this is the list for you. Participants in this year’s Cannonball Read 10 have compiled their list of their favorite and most hated books of the year. Get your Goodreads app ready, we’ve got choices for you.

And if you read the beginning sentences above and nodded, thinking "That’s me all right," then you’ll love Cannonball Read: an annual, memorial book challenge to read and review 52 books in a year. Or 26. Or 13, in the memory of the late, great Pajiban AlabamaPink. Bonus, CBR does all of this while fundraising for the American Cancer Society. Sign up for 2019’s Cannonball Read 11, and you too can stick it to cancer, one book at a time.


Cannonball Read 10’s Best and Worst Books Read in 2018

Ale

Best:

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Orphaned by Eliot Shrefer

Worst:

Crimson Peak: The Official Movie Novelization by Nancy Holden

Best of 15 books.

Aquillia

It was SO HARD for me to pick favourites this year. I had a really wonderful year of reading and will even reach my first full Cannonball by the end of December! I spent the first half of the year reading ONLY books by women, which was a really wonderful decision because it forced me to try new books instead of reading the same old epic and ‘grimdark’ fantasy that always gets recommended.

Honourable mentions in the ‘Best Books’ category go to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke; The Bear & the Nightingale and its sequel The Girl in the Tower, by Katherine Arden; A Darker Shade of Magic and its sequels, by V.E. Schwab; and Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett.

Best:

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik - Quote(s) from my review:
"Before this week, if you had told me that one of my favourite fantasy books I’ve ever read would be a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin of all things, I would have laughed in your face. … It is a cliché to say that I devoured this book, but I did so as insatiably as the Slavic demon Chernobog consumes the souls of the living."
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton - Quote from my review:
"[P]art of the charm of this book is that it doesn’t fit into genre categories. At best, it’s a historical fiction murder mystery set with supernatural elements. … But, perhaps because I generally read fantasy, it was the mystery elements that came through strongest for me. And that’s great, because I love a good mystery. And I also love historical fiction and fantasy, so really, it was a weird yet perfect melding of things I love."
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - Quote from my review:
"My only previous knowledge of Jackson was through her short story "The Lottery", which was brilliantly creepy. We Have Always Lived in the Castle was just as creepy, with that small-town New England village vibe done so well…Most of the time, though, the village plays as a background…It is ever-present in Merricat’s mind, the dreadful unknown that haunts their periphery and threatens to destroy their peaceful life."

Worst:

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances - Quote from my review:
"This book was sincerely terrible. It is predictable, thrill-less, and devoid of any interesting or even vaguely sympathetic characters. …There are no twists to this plot. Everything is as subtle as a freight train, even the ‘twist’ ending (because in this sort of book, there’s always a twist)."

Carol Kane Boo.

ardaigle

Best:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders - This book is heartbreaking, hilarious, vulgar, and simply put, very very good. I am so glad to have come across it and I enthusiastically recommend it in any format, it is definitely my favorite book that I have read this year. I also will definitely be picking up some of Saunders short story collections.
The Stand by Stephen King - Gory, surprising, thought-provoking and mystifying this is classic King, able to worm its way into your waking hours. When I first began, every sneeze or cough I heard in real life filled me with dread and I had to remind myself "it’s just a book." Well-played King, well-played.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - This was a great book. I saw that a school in Texas banned it and that is just about what I expect and is straight up garbage, but par for the course. What have I learned from this book that I didn’t already know? Nothing. Everything. I certainly didn’t know about Tupac’s activism, and his explanation for THUG LIFE - The Hate U Give Little Infants F***s Everybody. And I am going to suggest this book to everyone I know. So, in that, I’m using my voice. If I can make a little difference in my corner of the world, well, then that’s something.

Worst:

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards - I don’t know if I can say this is a bad book, but I did not like it. If you liked Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng than you may like this book. If, like me, that book made you want to choke everyone in it, stay away.

BlackRaven

Picking the worst is actually harder than picking the favorite!

Best:

Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill by Heather L. Montgomery - HOW in the world is a book about ROADKILL actually so FREAKIN’ (only I didn’t say freakin’) funny?????
An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten - I want to be an elderly lady up to no good!
Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley - I am in love. The End.

Worst:

Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham -

carriejay

Best:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Circe by Madeline Miller

Worst:

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Helen Mirren: Books are an adventure

crystalclear

Best:

SuperPowereds: Year 4 by Drew Hayes - Got to give it to my man Drew, he writes a good story. And while this series is at an end, this universe and characters will live on! If not in our minds, than in the books he will write a few years down the line, because this dude writes like crazy!
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison - This book is one of my favorites not only because it is awesome, but because I still think about it weeks after reading it. That’s the mark of a good story!
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - My first Rainbow Rowell, I can see what all the hype is about!

Worst:

My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler - This was an easy choice for Worst Book, because I wanted to give it negative stars! (Feel free to use that tag, btw)

Girl gets out of there.

dAvid
I’ve said it before, but I won’t stop saying it: CBR changed my life. Cheers to all the reviewers and the amazing crew that keep it up and running. You’ve made this unbearable year infinitely better than it had any right to be!

Best:

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee - Chee’s book of essays had a little bit of everything for me: solidarity, nostalgia, inspiration, and impeccable writing. I don’t re-read a lot of books, but I’ll be back to this one soon.
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - I don’t know why it took so long for me to find her books, but Adichie has quickly become one of my favorite writers. This isn’t an easy read due to the subject matter, but this story of a young girl’s struggle to escape her father’s madness is powerful and unforgettable.
Three-Letter Plague by Jonny Steinberg - I don’t read much nonfiction, so for this book to end up in my top three of 2018 says a lot about the quality of Steinberg’s work. Tragic yet hopeful, timeless, immensely humane, beautifully written: I can’t say enough good things about this book.

Worst:

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami - My first-ever review for CBR, and man-oh-man, did I HATE this book. 1157 pages of pointless, repetitive drivel all so Murakami could get his rocks off describing the "rape" of grown men by pre-pubescent girls. Not just the worst this year, this is the worst book I’ve ever read, and it’s not even close.

Tessa thompson YES.

ElCicco
Runners up: Tara Westover’s memoir Educated and Rachel Devlin’s A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women who Desegregated America’s Schools. This has been an unusual year for me — lots of non-fiction favs!

Best:

Circe by Madeline Miller - My favorite of the year. Miller imagines what the life of Circe, a character in Homer’s Odyssey, was really like, and she is far more heroic than Odysseus or any god.
The Odyssey by Homer by Trans. By Emily Wilson - The first translation of The Odyssey by a woman! It’s truly an achievement — beautifully written in language faithful to the original text and accessible to a broad audience. Her introduction is also a revelation.
Mothers of Massive Resistance by Elizabeth Gillespie McRae - Subtitle: White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy. Eye-opener detailing the history of educated white women using their voice to take to the streets to shore up Jim Crow. Pay attention to your local school board and get involved!

Worst:

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey - Some people call it a classic about the non-conformist vs. "the machine." I call it dated, misogynistic and kinda racist.

Ellesfena

Best:

The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman - This made reading fun again after what felt like an interminable reading slump.
Kristin Lavransdatter Trilogy by Sigrid Undset - The most beautiful books I think I’ve ever read.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - A fun read that introduced a great new universe.

Worst:

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler - A despicable woman traumatizes children in her selfish efforts to “find herself.” Don’t read this.

Elaine: It sucked.

Emmalita

Best:

All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells - I love Murderbot. I keep rereading all four of the novellas. I know the way Tor priced the novellas is bullshit, but I love Murderbot enough to not care too much.
Ms. Marvel Vol 9: Teenaged Wasteland by G. Willow Wilson and Nico Leon - G. Willow Wilson continues to put out excellent Ms. Marvel issues. If you aren’t reading them, why not?
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay - I’m still thinking about the things that came up for me while reading this book.

Worst:

Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin by Mariana Zapata - Some writers are like crack, but not in the fun way. Mariana Zapata’s romances have some sort of addictive quality, but the internalized misogyny is gross. Add a helping of gay panic and transphobia and this book made me feel like a bad person.

faintingviolet

Best:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - I was afraid of this book, and I shouldn’t have been. It is one of the most accessible works of literary and historical fiction I have possibly ever read. Gyasi’s expert craftsmanship shows in the lack of obvious work, which is quite the trick.
Saga, Volumes 1-8 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples - On the whole, this series is sophisticated but isn’t afraid to be crass. It is complex and a bit bizarre yet it feels as familiar as my own face. There is a sense that each storyline is part of this grand whole that is only slowly being revealed to the reader, that we’ve still only barely scratched the surface. I’m reading Volume 9 right now.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara - I gave this one five unapologetic stars for a book that made me feel while introducing me to a lovely person and a truly terrible one, and all the ones in between. I have to believe McNamara heard the cell door slam behind him.

Worst:

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler - This wasn’t my lowest rated book of the year (for that see Ale’s worst, The Crimson Peak Novelization we group reviewed), but it was my most disappointing. It felt like a ton of issues crammed into one book simply because there were big issues surrounding the meat of the story. Some of the events—the bigotry, threats, and brutality—are familiar and predictable and I can see why that would appeal to most readers. Unfortunately, I am not most readers.

J

Best:

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - I know I’m late coming to this book, but it was gorgeous and absolutely my favorite read of the year.
Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee

somebody forked up.

Jake

Best:

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carré
The Man on the Balcony by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
LA Confidential by James Ellroy

Worst:

Goldfinger by Ian Fleming

Jen K

Best:

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson - I had a hard time picking a top 3 because there were so many good reads this past year. Some were entertaining (hello Mr. Impossible), others were more representative of the types of books I mostly read but this one had such staying power that I had to put it in my top 3. It is a nice to change to read about a good man, and it raised so many questions and thoughts in my head about what a good life is, what our purpose is, and just really hit home, constantly making me reevaluate my feelings.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - I was almost tempted to not include this because I had already raved about it so much, and marked it as top 5, only so I could highlight a few additional books, but this one was amazing, and it would not have been at all fair.
A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant - I had a hard time deciding between this one and Circe for the top slot but given that most of my reading tends to be fantasy and/or romance, I didn’t want my entire top three to be “literary fiction” because it isn’t representative of everything I read. I read some great and surprising romances this year (Trade Me, Mr. Impossible, etc.) and while I might keep trying to get people to read Thor in regency era Egypt, this one blew me away despite being different and more serious than my usual historical romances. The scenes were so well written, the relationship and slow build between the characters was earned. So good!

Worst:

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor - This was my only one star review of the year though I considered putting one of my two star reviews in here because some of those were so boring, it almost seems like a worse sin than this.
I have to agree with something narfna said in reviewing a different novel - as readers, we are so excited about the idea of diversity, that sometimes we pick up novels we would have completely ignored if it were for the diverse setting. This was definitely one of those books for me - normally, I would raise my eyebrow at a book being compared to Harry Potter and Hogwarts, and approach with caution or not at all but this one promised something new and different. Instead it was weakly written and irritating, and I can already feel myself getting angry again.

Jenny S

Best:

The Long & Faraway Gone by Lou Berney - This was one of many books I read this year that danced around the idea of fate but this is the one that has stuck with me the most.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin - This book made me sob-multiple times and that is a good thing.
The Drifter by Nick Petrie - This book is the first in a series and I’m hooked (and I also like that Nick Petrie is a local author for me—I’m an hour south of Milwaukee).

Worst:

Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore - I didn’t hate this book. However, of the books I read this year, it was the one that I connected with the least and had the most trouble finishing (and I was so excited going in).

Huzzah!

KimMiE"

Best:

Winnie-the-Pooh, and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne - You will be surprised at how smart and funny these books are.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin - I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read LeGuin. I am a new fan!
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow - Totally outside my usual genre, this biography has so much to teach you, not just about dusty old men from the 18th century, but about how politics hasn’t changed all that much.

Worst:

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich - Almost gave up…struggled through… regretted it.

Stan Lee in the library.

leedock

Best:

The Overstory by Richard Powers - This is a weighty tome, for sure, but it’s brilliant.
News of the World by Paulette Jiles - The last sentence of my review says it best…”The beauty that is inside this tiny little book will take your breath away.”
The New Boy by Tracy Chevalier - A fantastic spin on Shakespeare’s Othello.

Worst:

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire - This was hard, because my worst book may be the best book for many of you. I just didn’t get it.

Knope thumbs down.

Lisa Bee

I just noticed that all 3 of my choices for best books of this year, and also my choice for worst are novels written by women, with a single-word title. Not that that means anything, I just found the pattern there interesting.

Best:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - So much power, emotion, and history found in surprisingly few pages.
Circe by Madeline Miller - The way this one comes together after everything that happens is a true testament to the thought and care put into this story.
Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki - Brief but heart-clenching and beautiful.

Worst:

Adam by Ariel Schrag - Annoying characters doing gross things with little nuance that I’m for some reason supposed to feel sympathetic for.

 

Lollygagger

I think this was a year of lower-than-average ratings. Not sure why, but need to sort that out for CBR 11!

Best:

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo - Every white person should read this book.
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer - If you’re even a little concerned about eating meat, this will likely help you make the jump to ethical vegetarianism.
Sadie by Courtney Summers - A fiction book - and YA at that! - on my top three? Yes! It’s so good.

Worst:

Between the Bridge and the River by Craig Ferguson - I mean, it was just SO FUCKING BAD.

lowercasesee

This was hard!! The worst book was simple, but damn, picking between my top books was very difficult. Left out of a lot of contenders.

Best:

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Worst:

The Shack by William P. Young - NO

Malin

Best:

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia - I knew very little about this book before I read it, and that probably enhanced my reading experience even more. It made me feel all the feels and I’m so glad to have read it.
Hamilton: the Revolution by Lin Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter - 2018 was a pretty big year for me - I finally became a mother (thank you, science, and years of gruelling IVF for the assistance) and my husband and I went to London, where I got to see the British stage production of Hamilton. I finished this book the night before we left. This might not be a 5-star book for anyone who doesn’t live and breathe Hamilton, but I suspect it would be a very interesting and informative read for anyone interested in stagecraft and musicals.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - I’m late to the party, but this book is just so good. I kept putting it off, because I knew it would be a very difficult book to read, and I was right. Nevertheless, this book, which is only thinly veiled fiction is so important and it’s terrible to think just how real this actually is for many young men and women in the world today.

Worst:

Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery - I could totally have done a top 3 worst books this year (thanks to Book Bingo, and especially AlabamaPink’s very different taste in books from me). This was by far the worst book I read all year, though, and it was all the more disappointing because the other books I’d read by Montgomery were so sweet and enjoyable. Don’t read this book - it’s absolute drivel.

that son of a...

mathildehoeg

Best:

Classic Scrapes by James Acaster - I love James Acaster, so I was very much the target audience for this book and my review is in no way objective, but based purely on the fact that James Acaster is in fact the greatest man currently alive.
Sweet Fruit, Sour Land by Rebecca Ley - I started reading it and I couldn’t get it out of my head till it felt like I was living those pages. It is beautifully told and the mystery lies not so much in the plot, which is fairly standard, but in the questions lived between the two women. Every accolade thrown at this book is well deserved and it should be one of the most talked about books this year.
Aspects of the Novel by E.M. Forster - Admittently this book is mainly for writing geeks and fans of E.M. Forster, but the review is filled with Jonathan Van Ness gifs, so you should click on over anyways!

Worst:

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult - Look I get really angry in this review. If you love America, don’t read the review. Don’t read the book either, though. Because it SUCKS.

Johnathan Van Ness - shamazing.

MrsLangdonAlger

Best:

I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter -
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand -
Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly -

Worst:

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent - Fuck this dude’s creepy child rape fantasy.

Mrs Smith Reads

Best:

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah - Adjei-Brenyah approaches dystopia from a Black perspective, which brings home the universal axiom that every utopia is always someone’s dystopia. Privilege, in a nutshell, plays out over subtly near-future playgrounds that ring true no matter which side of the colour line we live on.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado - Carmen Maria Machado’s collection of short stories is nothing short of perfection, and brings everything I was looking for in a year of reading mostly feminist, female-identified, and woman-positive fiction writers.
American War by Omar El Akkad - I don’t often cry when reading a book, but I cried at the end of American War. As much for the suffering and damage inflicted on Sarat, as for the dismal, timeworn certainty that humans never learn from their past mistakes. Omar El Akkad has written a beautiful debut novel which is bitterly heart-wrenching. It should be a must-read for anyone who despairs for the United States today, as it seems headed into an uncertain, and unnecessarily foolhardy future.

Worst:

In Another Country and Besides by Maxwell Jacobs - So, I’m not really sure how to say this, but I think this book was written by an Artificial Intelligence (AI). Not a clever one, but one that was trained by reading bad murder mysteries from the 1940s, and travel books. I’m not gonna lie, I only got half way through, and… I tried, I really, really tried, but oh my lord this book is soooo bad.

narfna

I read so many good books this year, it was hard to choose. Other favorites from 2018 are Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, Autoboyography by Christina Lauren, the last three Wheel of Time books by Brandon Sanderson (who did an amazing job finishing it for Robert Jordan), and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara.

Best:

Circe by Madeline Miller - This book did for me what the very, very best books do. It was so well-written and so affirming, and smart, and the ending brought everything together so perfectly, I just burst into tears upon finishing it.
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor - I fell in love with the first book in this duology last year and I was SO nervous to read the second book. It was doubly wonderful to find that the second book relieved those fears entirely and delivered a great, satisfying ending.
The Murderbot Diaries #1-4 (starting with All Systems Red) by Martha Wells - This is a series of sci-fi novellas (about 160 pages each) that tell the story of Murderbot, an android built to be owned by humans and human corporations, who hacked its own programming to set itself free. Watching Murderbot reckon with its past and slowly become a person gave me ALL the feelings. Introverts and people with social anxiety cannot possibly fail to relate.

Worst:

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi - I’m listing this book not because it was actually the *worst* book I read this year, but because it was the one that disappointed me the most. I wanted things from this book that it wasn’t designed to give.

Prisco

Honorable mention to: Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers, Roger Hobbs’ Ghostman, Pierce Brown’s Iron Gold, and Chuck Wendig’s The Raptor and the Wren.

Best:

Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer (series) by Jonathan L. Howard - A great anti-hero, darkly funny, and clever as all hell. Literally at some points.
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames - A legendary party of older adventurers - set in a D&D world resplendent with monster manual monsters - tries to get the band back together for one last adventure.
Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff - Is it cool for a middle-aged white man to cover the black experience ala Lovecraftian horror? I couldn’t say, but he did a damn good job with it.

Worst:

J by Howard Jacobson - If you put a gun to my head and told me to tell you what this book was about, I wouldn’t be able to and I’m pretty goddamn sure the author couldn’t either. It was supposed to be akin to 1984 and Brave New World, but that only furthers the truth that blurbs about books will LIE TO YOU.

scootsa1000

Best:

Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz - Hands down, the best memoir I’ve ever read. A love letter to youth. And nostalgia. And Adam Yauch.
Never World Wake by Marisha Pessl - A surprising YA entry from one of my favorite writers.
Emma by Jane Austen - This audio version narrated by Emma Thompson is absolutely amazing.

Worst:

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz - I’ll let the gifs speak for themselves. The worst.

sistercoyote

If I’d managed to get my stuff together I’d have Dumplin’ in there with the best books (probably replacing Larson) but I didn’t so it isn’t. 2019, baby!

Best:

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas - A wonderful, woman-centered retelling of Sherlock Holmes. Does it have problematic elements? Of course, but overall I thought this was really very good.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson - Few do non-fiction as well as Larson, and this book continues the trend. Though I laughingly say that what I took away from this is that the individual murdered in Clue/Cluedo (Mr. Boddy) was the heir to a protective gear fortune.
Hogtown Market (Feral Seasons Book 2) by Marianne Kirby - This continues the story started in Kirby’s Dust Bath Revival and continues Hank’s story with the same depth of feeling as the first.

Worst:

Alice by Christina Henry - A sub-par Alice in Wonderland re-telling.

teresaelectro

Best:

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn - My go to romance or urban fantasy recommendation of the year!
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby - Irby to bares her soul with her trademark matter-of-fact no fluff tone. One of my favorite audiobooks!
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler - Loved it and also read the graphic novel. Ahead of its time.

Worst:

From Compton to Congress: His Grace for My Race by Walter R. Tucker III and Martha Tucker - Part memoir, part history this book lacked balance and objectivity

TheShitWizard

Best:

Circe by Madeline Miller - Beautifully written, Circe is a book so spellbinding that I ignored everything and everyone around me so that I could devour it whole.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - The Bear and the Nightingale was the perfect read for a dark and especially chilly winter, making me want to dive deep under the blankets while wishing for my own forest on the doorstep.
The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn - Sometimes you come across a book that is so mind-blowingly good, you immediately go out and purchase every book ever written by the author. The Road to Jonestown was such a book, an intimate portrait of the lives of the Reverend Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, written with empathy and understanding.

Worst:

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - Supposedly the start of an epic love story set in a world of magic, this actually turned out to be epically boring, starring two incredibly dull people mostly doing yoga and drinking wine.

vel veeter

Best:

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing - This book is an absolutely brilliant novel whose structure involves the creation of four differently colored notebooks that each represent the writings of the main character in different parts of her life. The fifth, the golden notebook, is both the novel itself and a previously unread notebook toward the end. The novel is an amazing portrayal of the different facets, faces, and parts of the public and private life of woman who is resisting a lot of the normative expectations of modern Western life.
There, there by Tommy Orange - This is the best "book" book that came out this year, even if it wasn’t a "fun" book like the next on my list. This was simply a brilliant full-voiced and fully realized novel.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh - I loved this book, and I think many people would either love it or hate it, depending. I thought the writing was so brilliant self-indulgent and selfish, and the structure of the novel leading toward its conclusion had me a little in awe.

Worst:

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - I didn’t finish this, and usually that means I won’t discuss it. But I read The Fountainhead and treated it fairly and thought it was interesting at the very least. This book is beyond sophomoric in its process, style, and structure. It reads like it was written by a white teenage boy who got his first B- ever. It’s not good, the characters are so ridiculous, and it has the swagger of Donald Trump pushing himself in front of other world leaders in the dumb gif.

Yesknopemaybe

Best:

Circe by Madeline Miller - I was never into mythology but I couldn’t resist the rave reviews and gorgeous cover. This book was stunning inside and out.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik - Novik’s books keep getting better and better. This one was a page turner that I immediately wanted to read again after finishing it.
Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield - Gorgeous characters, gorgeous writing, gorgeous story. The writing style is stunning but even better is this story about stories.

Worst:

Pride and prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz - I’m offended that this book is associated with one of the best books ever written. In retrospect, my review should have been much harsher because holy moly this book is bad!


Did you find anything to add in this list to YOUR to-be-read list? Do you hate cancer? Then Cannonball Read is the place for you. Sign up for Cannonball Read 11, and join a fabulous, cancer-fighting, book-loving team.

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The Trailer for 'Us,' Jordan Peele's Next Film, Is Finally Here

Review: Lesters Fixins Pickle Flavored Soda


Image sources (in order of posting): Netflix, giphy,








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