2016 overview and 2017 resolutions!

2016 is just behind us and I involuntary started making 2017 resolutions. Once I realized what I was doing, I started evaluating my 2016 reading experience before making the 2017 resolutions!

2016 reading year
After a significant break from reading – and I still am not sure why I stopped reading for so long – I returned to my old love, possibly my first hobby ever. Reading.
What is reading, you might ask? Well, it is a lot more than putting eyes on a page and understanding what the author is saying. Reading is a tool that allows me to experience so many different places, points of view, worlds, characters. Ultimately, it is a journey of the mind. And it is different than visual mediums – comics, movies, TV shows – because it does not “help” you process the information by providing you the image but it allows you to process the written words into the image you make of it. To some extent, you can say it is the ultimately entertaining system. Yet, it requires a bit more “work” because you need to be more engaged.

Also, 2016 marked the starting of my Goodreads experience! I have always loved fantasy books yet I never had anyone around me experiencing the same attachment to this genre. Goodreads filled that gap in my experience and reading suddenly became an interactive activity!

I resumed reading in July 2016 – I read something during the beginning of the year but barely a book in 6 months. Somehow in July I felt like a new world opened to me and I had an interesting 2016 last half.

I read 45 books which is not too bad, although I hoped to hit 50 really. I experience a minor reading slump between the end of September and the beginning of October but I believe it is physiological.
As mentioned a billion times, I primarily read fantasy – I have so much to read I think I will be a happy reader for years.

Some series were just spectacular – the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne by Brian Staveley was just an amazing series for me.
I loved The Faithful and the Fallen by John Gwynne, albeit I need to read Wrath. I think I am still emotionally drained by Ruin and I need to gather my strength to resume the series.
Another series that blew my mind was The Red Queen’s War by Mark Lawrence. The antihero working with a violent hero, in a Nordic mythology with significant Christian influence, in a map that is so similar to Europe!
Also, the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks is a precious gem for me. I loved the magic system, the characters, the story and I cannot wait for the fifth book of the series.

Three series I started and I want to continue (this is bordering in my 2017 resolution) are:
(A) The Gentlemen Bastard series by Scott Lynch – I read The Lies of Locke Lamora and I was fascinated by the characters.
(B) The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan. I loved Theft of Sword so much but somehow I did not continue the story – my theory is that I had too many books to choose from and I wanted a sample of everything! So continuing this series is a significant goal in 2017 for me – and to start the brand new series by Michael J Sullivan!
(C) The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. I am not really sure I need to add more than the name of the series. Now, The Way of Kings is actually the only book I read in the first half of the year and it is AMAZING. I started Words of Radiance but I want to resume from the start and Oathbringer will be released in 2017 so I want to be updated for the new release! In 2016 I was also able to read Warbreaker and I loved it.

Other delightful notes go to The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman and I will continue the series. If you like fantasy, London, spies, books and magic this is just a marvelous series for you to pick!
One more shout out goes to The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan; I was so impressed by the book, the setting, the world building. Now, this is the first book of The Draconis Memoria series and I am already an Anthony Ryan fan.

I also read some YA fantasy – primarily as reads to break the other fantasy reading – and I had some interesting encounters but nothing that a YA fantasy fan cannot tell you louder and more convincingly than I can.

2017 resolutions
First and foremost, rating. I spent almost six months rating books, especially on Goodreads and I have been primarily using 4 and 5 stars rating. It means two things: One I had luck in picking the books this year, I was entertained and happy; two, I cannot modulate my ratings properly because I miss some depth.
Hence, my 2017 resolution will be to use also 3 stars rating because 3 stars must be considered a good rating. I actually read Robin Hobb page and there is an argument there that 2 stars are aa good rating too so I feel more empowered by my decision at this point. I have to confess I also started a discussion on Goodreads on the topic and I definitely feel more confident about this decision more than ever.

Second and since I set a 100 book reading goal, I want to have a TBR and stick to it. I just cannot continue starting new series without finishing the ones I want to continue reading. I just need to be more organized and I might improve my reading experience. I will also understand if I like this approach better and see whether order or chaos work better for me!

Third, and in light of the above, I want to return to the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson. I cannot recall a series that made me so excited about fantasy in the past – besides Tolkien obviously -; hence I resumed the whole series. I partially read it but I want to be consistent and read one book a month.
Also, I would love to start the Ian C. Esslemont w stories on the Malazan Empire and I might do that in parallel – although the Malazan Empire series has 6 books so shorter than the Malazan Book of the Fallen.
Also, I want to continue with the series I referred to above and read the Mistborn first trilogy!
One series I am considering starting is also The Moontide Quartet by David Hair. It appears to be a series that has mostly positive reviews but not exclusively so I am looking forward to delving into the series – I will make a post as to why this series seems so interesting to me.
Please let me know what amazing suggestions you have! This year I want to focus on epic/high/grimdark fantasy but I want to know what are the fantasy series that you like!

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