Last year, we at Page and Prose decided to do The 52 Book Club’s annual reading challenge. Although we didn’t actually finish the list of prompts, we had a ton of fun in the process, and you can see how far we got right here. As such, we have resolved to do this year’s reading challenge as well!
We are going to follow the same rules as we did last year:
Tag: 52 Book Club
🥂 Happy New Year, readers! May your books be ever plentiful! 📚
So, it has been a long while since last we posted on the website, because things have been absolutely nuts. But here we are, mostly alive and definitely kicking! We are also still alive and active on our Instagram page, for which the handle is @pageandprosereviews. And in more good news, Hailey and I plan to resume our monthly buddy reads, starting with Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey.
2021 has come and gone, and therefore, it is the end of all annual reading challenges for that year. Hailey and I, in and excess of overachieving, made the ambitious decision to complete TWO reading challenges. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to finish either of the list of prompts by the end of the year, but you can see just how far we made it on the Indigo Reading Challenge here, and you can find our 52 Book Club Reading Challenge here. I have to say, we did pretty well, all things considered!
Nonetheless, since we did not finish our reading challenges, we must now face a Dire Consequence. And we have every intention of following through with it…as soon as we come up with a Dire Consequence for ourselves.
I don’t really like doing top ten lists, or “Best of the Year” lists. There are so many fantastic 2021 books that I haven’t yet read, and so I would always feel that a Best of the Year list was incomplete. Instead, here are a few 2021 books that I absolutely loved, and would whole-heartedly recommend:
- A Memory Called Empire and A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine: Technically, only the latter part of this duology was published in 2021. However, since I am recommending the duology as a whole, it doesn’t really matter. This series tells a beautiful, brilliant, devastating story about colonialism, and identity, and humanity, and also giant space battles. If you prefer action and adventure in your science fiction, the duology has it in spades. If you prefer philosophy in your science fiction, there is plenty of that as well. Really, it is a win all around! (Science fiction)
- Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake, by Alexis Hall: Remember how the wholesome delightfulness of the Great British Bake-Off helped many people through the past two years? This book follows the titular Rosaline Palmer as she juggles competing on a GBBO-type show, raising her precocious daughter on her own, and navigating the various relationships in her life. Oh, and it is absolutely hilarious in a wryly British manner, so that’s a major plus as well. (Contemporary fiction)
- The Witch’s Heart, Genevieve Gornichec: A beautiful, heart-breaking retelling of the Norse mythology around Ragnarok. The story follows a witch named Angrboda, who has suffered betrayal and cruelty at the hands of the Aesir, and wants nothing more than to be left alone now…but the world is not yet done with her. I was sorely disappointed with the sexism in Madeline Miller’s Circe (see my post here for more), and this book was a fantastic antidote to all of my frustrations. PS: Hailey, you should really read it! It is tailor-made for you, and it prominently features Loki! (Fantasy/Norse mythology)
- Longshadow, by Olivia Atwater: The third in a trilogy of loosely connected fairy tales — as in, with literal fairies — set in an alternate history version of Regency England. The story follows a young apprentice magician named Abigail, who is determined to make her adoptive parents proud by solving a string of high-profile murder, with the help of her wits, her magic skills, and a mysterious young woman who keeps appearing in strange places. You can pick up any of these books as a standalone adventure, but I would really recommend reading all three in order, because some of the characters recur over the series. And if Studio Ghibli is looking for new source material, all three of Atwater’s Regency fairy tales would make AMAZING Ghibli movies! (Fairy tale/Alternate history)
In some book-related news: my own brilliant, talented, marvelous sister was chosen as one of the authors for for The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2021 anthology, and her short story is the very first one in the collection! I am so incredibly proud of her.
Readers, have you read any of the books listed above? And what were some of your favourite books from 2021?
Over the past month, Hailey and I have made a lot of additions to the Page and Prose website, and what better way to keep track of them than in our blog? Mind you, this post is not meant to be a formal, structured log of activities. Instead, consider it a kind of news report/summary of things that you might want to explore.
First off, we finished our first monthly buddy read on T. Kingfisher’s A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, and our respective thoughts on the book can be found here.
Hailey and I also plan to complete the 52 Book Club’s 2021 reading challenge over the course of this year. You can follow our progress as we meet the various reading goals here. Feel free to join the reading challenge, and let us know of your progress!
Hailey set up our Instagram account, and you can check out her beautiful photography and bookshelf compositions here. Our handle is @pageandprosereviews. We would love to chat with you on Instagram, so feel free to jump into our comments sections or send us a message!
June is Pride Month, and I really wanted to do something special to honour LGBTQIA+ stories and literature. As such, I have compiled a (short!) list of book recommendations across various genres, featuring LGBTQIA+ relationships and characters:
- The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller: A beautiful retelling of the Trojan War cycle through the eyes of Patroclus, and centering on his love story with Achilles. (Greek mythology; YA literary fiction)
- Red, White and Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston: An own-voices new adult story about a grudging friendship that turns into something more, between the son of the American president and the grandson of the British queen. (New adult; coming-of-age)
- A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine: A deeply philosophical and also thrillingly adventurous story about a young woman who is sent to a foreign planet as an ambassador, only to find mysteries and intrigue at every turn. (Science fiction)
- The Will Darling Adventures, by K. J. Charles: A (now completed!) trilogy set in post-WWI era England, wherein former soldier Will Darling must deal with danger, secret societies, conspiracies, and murder. (Mystery; thriller) ***Note: contains explicit content!
- Banner of the Damned, by Sherwood Smith: A young scribe travels from her peaceful, art-loving home to a brusque warrior society, where she must decide whether to break her vows and interfere in political events or sit by and watch the world plunge toward destruction. (High fantasy; political intrigue)
- Starless, by Jacqueline Carey: A gender-fluid young warrior, soul-bound to a differently-abled princess, navigates assassination attempts and machinations as the two seek a a way to defeat an ancient evil. (High fantasy; adventure/quest)
Have I sold you on any of them?
By the way, I am by no means an expert on LGBTQIA+ literature. If you want a more informed selection, I’d refer you to some curated lists by the CNN (here), CBC (here), The Guardian (here), and Penguin Random House (here).
I’ll end June’s post with a piece of book-related news: one of my favourite authors, Sherwood Smith is releasing a new book through her brand-new Patreon account (here). Sherwood has been through some exceptionally difficult times lately, what with perfidious agents, publication delays, and unpleasant vaccination side effects, so if you are a fan of her works, you may want to send some support her way.
We wish you well, in all your bookish endeavours!
Every year, The 52 Book Club offers a reading challenge, which I like to think of as a scavenger hunt for readers. Since this is, after all, the launch of our new book blog, we at Page and Prose decided to challenge ourselves with this year’s list, with the goal of completing all items before December 31, 2021.
Here’s the thing, though — it is already mid-year of 2021, and we have already read quite a few books!
So here’s how we are going to proceed:
Additional ground rules: