My Favourite Books of 2016

It’s that time again for my favourite books of the year. Like always these are my favourite books I read this year, they weren’t all published this year.

My Favourite Books of 2016 | bluchickenninja.com

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It’s about spiders evolving to the point where they can fly rockets.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carré. I watched the movie version of this before reading the book. And I watched it a good few times so I went into this knowing how it would end. Despite that I was still amazed by the ending even though it played out almost the exact same way as the movie.

Goldenhand by Garth Nix. I have literally been waiting for this book since I was 13 and it achieved all expectations I had for it. It continued the world I love so much and also added new and interesting threats to it.

Voyage by Stephen Baxter. This book is about what might have happened to NASA if John F Kennedy wasn’t assassinated. Spoiler alert: a woman becomes the first human to walk on Mars. Thats what happens.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I haven’t read many fantasy books recently because I found they all started feeling the same. This is one of the only fantasy books I read this year and it was a fun adventure with characters I genuinely came to care about.

My Favourite Books of 2016 | bluchickenninja.com

A Pocket Full of Lies by Kirsten Beyer. This is the best Star Trek Voyager book I have ever read and thats saying something because I have read a lot of Star Trek Voyager books. In fact now that I’m thinking about it I may have read all of them. So basically it was the best out of like 30 books.

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. This is a book that has stuck with me since I read it. It’s a first contact type story but written from a Chinese perspective. Part of this story is told in a video game and I really want to go back and reread those chapters. The whole thing was really interesting.

The Girl In The Road by Monica Byrne. This is a classic adventure story. But this adventure takes place on a one meter wide bridge across the Indian sea. It was a really enjoyable read.

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What I Read In July | 2016

 

What I Read In July | 2016 | bluchickenninja.com

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carré. I wrote a review of this here and you’re probably better off just reading that instead. Basically I really really liked this book and no other spy novel can compare to it (but you should know I haven’t read many other spy novels).

Europe at Midnight by Dave Hutchinson. I think the idea behind this book is really good. It’s essentially a spy novel with a little bit of sci-fi added on. But then it goes weird with all of these pocket universes and it gets really confusing and I didn’t like it.

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson. I really enjoy Bill Bryson’s books but in this it kind of felt like he was turning into a grumpy old man. It still had bits of a travel journal but the book was mostly about Bryson visiting places he had been to 30 years before and complaining because they had changed. Not even joking at one point he writes about how he went into H&M on Oxford Street thinking it was Marks and Spencers and somehow he made it out that it was the employees fault because he went into the wrong shop. That’s not funny thats being an a*hole.

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne. This is a sci-fi book set in India where the main character has to journey on a bridge across the Arabian Sea to find out what happens to her parents. It gets a massive plus from me for being so diverse and it’s also a really good adventure novel.

On Bowie by Rob Sheffield. This is just a short biography of Bowie written after he died. I’m not trying to say some of my readers are old but if you were around in the 70s and 80s you may not want to read this just because you probably already know most of what this book talks about. It gives a little background information to some of his more famous songs and what he was doing around the time he wrote them. I dunno, my Dad wants to read it. Is that a good enough recommendation?

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What I Read In May & June

What I Read In May & June | bluchickenninja.com

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This book is about how spiders evolve into talking, thinking, reaching-for-the-stars, scary smart spiders. And there are humans too but their part is really quite boring in comparison.

Central Station by Lavie Tidhar. I really wasn’t a fan of Central Station. It felt more like a series of short stories set in the same place rather than a whole cohesive story. The worldbuilding was good but the actual plot was boring.

The King’s Speech by Mark Logue. This is the only non-fiction book I’ve read where I’ve finished it and been genuinely sad because the person who this book is about died. Which really isn’t too much of a surprise considering these events took place 70 years ago. But I was still sad. If you enjoyed the King’s Speech movie definitely read this as you get to see how the King and Logue’s friendship continued throughout the war and after.

Voyage by Stephen Baxter. This is the story of what would have happened to NASA if Kennedy didn’t die. They continue on and send astronauts to Mars. And it’s basically everything that happens (and in some cases goes wrong) so we can send a ship to Mars. I really enjoyed it just for the insight into how NASA works.

Time by Stephen Baxter. I don’t even really know how to describe this book. It’s got an asteroid with a portal to the future inside, it’s got space travelling jellyfish. It gets really weird at the end. And I actually really enjoyed it.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. I was a tad disappointed with this book. It was good but the whole thing felt like setup for the next book in the series. If you can get around that it’s actually an interesting story about scientists finding a giant alien robot.

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What I Read In April | 2016

What I Read In April | 2016

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. This isn’t a book about cancer, it’s more a book about death written by someone who had cancer. It was really fantastic and I cried. A lot. Like you’ll need at least a whole box of tissues for the epilogue.

Lost Stars by Claudia Gray (see my full review here). This is basically Romeo and Juliette set in the Star Wars universe. It’s been advertised as a YA but I think anyone could enjoy it. It also ties in quite nicely with The Force Awakens. No spoilers or anything but if you were wondering how the heck that Star Destroyer ended up on Jakku read this book.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I was really surprised by this in that it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. It wasn’t good enough that I want to read the next book but it was still reasonably good. My only problem with it is that I got bored around 50 pages from the end and just skim read the last few chapters.

Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture. I’m kind of glad I read this but I’m also kind of glad I didn’t pay for it. This book is basically made up of well known sayings from nerd culture and each has a little paragraph of wisdom relating to each quote. It’s an interesting read but don’t pay full price for it.

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz (see my full review here). This isn’t the type of book written specifically for kids that adults can enjoy too. It feels like a mediocre kids book. I don’t think I would have liked this if I had read it for the first time as an adult. But I liked it anyway because it was a book I loved as a kid.

Colin Firth: The Man Who Would Be King by Sandro Monetti. Some books are like chocolate. You need to keep having more. Others are like a warm cup of tea. To me celebrity biographies are like crack. No matter how terrible they are I keep reading them. I’m not proud to admit I read this and it was astonishingly badly written. But I read it anyway.

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What I Read In March + GIVEAWAY

What I Read In March + GIVEAWAY | bluchickenninja.com

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce. This is an interesting one because it’s basically The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry but from Queenie Hennessey’s point of view. I have actually put off reading this book for so long because I loved Harold Fry and I was scared that this might ruin that book. Fortunately it did not and I really enjoyed it.

The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin. It took me a really long time to get into this book, I must have been a third of the way through before I started enjoying it. It was actually really good, think Contact set in China.

The Just City by Jo Walton. The basic premise for this is the goddess Athene tries to create the perfect city Plato wrote about in The Republic. It also does this really interesting thing where it’s almost a sci-fi but it doesn’t feel like a typical sci-fi. And yet it features robots and has an interesting idea that getting robots to work for humans is basically slavery. I enjoyed it and it made me want to read The Republic.

Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal. I’m not sure if it was just the translation that made this book feel strange but it felt more like a stream of consciousness rather than a proper story. This is the type of book you need to put aside time for and read in one sitting. It’s set over a period of 24 hours and you see how a boy dies in a car crash and you follow the story of his heart as it’s transplanted into another person. But it was pretty interesting, not the best, but I’m still glad I read it.

Animal Farm by George Orwell. I don’t really know what to say about this. It’s George Orwell. It’s super short and if you haven’t read it you definitely need to.

The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks. I really enjoyed this. It’s about farming in the Lake District and it’s surprisingly interesting. One thing that did annoy me however is certain parts are almost an autobiography, and considering this book is supposed to be about sheep farming they feel unnecessary. I don’t want to sound mean or anything but I’m reading this for the farming aspect not because I want to learn about the author’s life.

March also marked a huge moment for my blog as I hit 100,000 all time views. As a way to celebrate I have decided to give away a copy of Blog Inc by Joy Deangdeelert Cho. I have found this book so useful and inspirational over the last 3 years and I want to share it with someone.

All you need to do to enter is comment on this post with “I want that book!”. Of course there are a number of rules, you need to be okay with sending me your address, if you’re under 18 please make sure you have a parent or guardian’s permission. I will be sending the book directly through Book Depository so please make sure you live in a country they deliver to (you can check here).

The competition will be open for 1 week and will close at 5pm on the 8th of April.

Edit: I totally forgot to mention this but remember to leave your email address in the form or link a Twitter account so I can contact you if you win. 

Thanks for reading and good luck!
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