2022 look-back: reading

I tend to read about 35 books a year for the past few years. This past year, I read and especially enjoyed:

  • The Jaguar Knight by Ann Aguirre
  • Clean Sweep, Sweep In Peace, and One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  • Enemy Storm by Marcella Burnard
  • Only Bad Options by Jennifer Estep
  • The Lotus Palace and The Jade Temptress by Jeannie Lin
  • Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik
  • Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan

These were all genre novels: paranormal, Victorian historical, science fiction in space, and Tang dynasty historicals. Not in that order. I already knew I mostly remember novels that aren’t in simple popular genres, especially within romance. Some heavy topics show up in these books: torture, assault, temporary disability, and the Opium War. I like pure fluff sometimes, but less in my novels than in webtoons, it seems.

Last summer, I fell down a webtoon rabbit hole. I practically inhaled these, and wow they were tropey and fluffy. Good for when I needed a distraction, but also gave me good feelings. Here are the ones that stayed with me beyond the reading:

  • Another Typical Fantasy Romance
  • Marriage of Convenience
  • Marriage and Sword
  • Pick Me, My Queen
  • The Not-Sew-Wicked Stepmom
  • Straight to the Red Carpet
  • Roxana
  • Villainess in Love

These are all swords and sorcery with lords and ladies. Some of them have light novels but the art makes things go right down. My substitute for television, really.

Rereading older books

I think it’s important to reread books and that I don’t do it often enough. Readers love to stay current and discuss the latest releases with our writing buddies. Many good books blur together in my head. They’re fun and I’ll recommend them, but they won’t stick with me over the years. I am focusing on books I read in the aughts, and some from ten years ago, before the age of book blogging and social media.

I’m interested in how books show their age: JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books, for example, mention the Motorola Razer quite a bit. I read the books when they were initially published, so this makes me smile. But I do wonder what a younger reader, who never encountered the Razer, would think. For me, the use of objects current in the contemporary gives the voice of the book and the attitudes context.

I’m hoping that rereading books will help me codify what I think makes a book memorable: if I want to reread a book, something must have stuck with me. Ideally I can incorporate it into my own writing. I’m going to start with Meljean Brook’s Guardian series. I fondly remember the golden age of paranormal romance!