Last post of 2017!
I’m not even going to say all those things about how the year flew by, because I feel like that’s been every year since high school…
Also, looking back, it’s been a pretty long year! It lasted twelve whole months and I’m glad to say I’m happy with the (I admit, few) goals I accomplished.
And continuing with the looking-back thing, I put together a list of my favorite books I read this year so I could share it and recommend you guys only the best of the best.
There are some movies, anime and series too, because I watched so many cool things this year! Hopefully you will find a new favorite for 2018.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Even after a rough start (the introduction was the particular kind of boring that only classic books can achieve), I was surprised at how much I ended up liking this book.
It had everything a gothic novel should have: horror, romance, tortured souls and dark secrets. Plus, it had mostly a creepy and mysterious atmosphere which I was not expecting since the movies/plays tend to romanticize the opera ghost a lot. Best book surprise of 2017 for sure. (Complete review here).
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. This one was another big surprise! I picked it up out of curiosity since the protagonist is an introvert with social anxiety (#relatable), but I was not ready to relate to the point of actually crying. Eliza is, in my opinion, a realistic portrayal of the struggles that come with being an introvert trying to have a normal life and family relationship.
I did not like the romantic interest, though. But let’s not focus on that. This book is about a girl dealing with her inner monsters and that is done beautifully. (Complete review here).
The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story by Marie Kondō. Believe it or not, I do think this book can be life-changing. It’s not necessarily the most insightful read – especially because I read the illustrated version – but it struck a chord in me.
It reminded me that I cling to material objects a bit too much (book hoarder struggles, am I right?) and that sometimes my need of collecting fandom stuff can lead to gratuitous consumption.
Whoa, I wasn’t planning on getting so serious. Anyway, I hope you add this manga to your TBR! You can get it at the library if you don’t want to buy it 😉 (Complete review here).
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. This book should not be on this list since I actually read it last year. But the official publication date was January 2017 and I just HAD to talk about it again! It is a story inspired by Russian folklore that takes place in a medieval village where magical things happen.
What kind of magical things, you ask?
Well, there are invisible household demons, evil shadows and girls that communicate with horses. It also has a charming and beautiful prose that incorporates bits of Russian vocabulary. (Complete review here).
Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece by Stephen Fry. I’m cheating again because I still haven’t finished this one. But I’ve been enjoying it a lot and I already decided it’s in my Top 5 favorite books! As the title suggests, it’s a retelling of Greek myths, but with the funny narration of Stephen Fry.
It stars with the beginning of life and goes through all the titans, gods and demigods and their adventures.
The audiobook version is especially fun because most interactions between the gods include witty lines of dialogue and the author makes great voices for every character.
Movies & Series
Little Witch Academia was definitely my favorite anime I watched this year. It’s a fun and charming story about a young witch attending school. The first season is mostly about getting to know the characters and the magical world of witches, but the second season gets even better since it adds a main villain and a stronger hero story.
I would recommend this series even to people who isn’t THAT into anime. If you liked Cardcaptor Sakura as a kid, you would probably enjoy Little Witch Academia.
In second place there’s a tie between:
Mob Psycho 100, about a kid with strong psychic powers that he uses to repel evil spirits. The fun part is that the protagonist, Mob, just wants to have a normal, calm life. But trouble always finds him and he has to grow as a person in order to control his powers and save the day.
One-Punch Man. This one is a short series about Saitama, an overpowered superhero that ALWAYS defeats his enemies with just one punch (hence the title). Saitama trains so hard that he’s the most powerful person in the world, and suddenly gets bored because of the lack of challenges. I really liked this series because it showed heroes as real people with normal lives. Saitama even gets mad when villains attack the same day he was planning on buying groceries… because, how rude!
My favorite Korean Drama I watched this year was the famous Pinocchio. I had heard a lot about it and didn’t want to start it with high expectations and get disappointed… but it honestly was really good! It tells the story of a girl with Pinocchio syndrome, which means she gets uncontrollable hiccups when she tells lies. She plans to use this syndrome to her advantage and decides to become a news reporter, but soon discovers that there’s a lot of lying in the news. There’s also a co-protagonist that becomes a reporter to clear his family’s name, which was involved in a news scandal that ended in tragedy.
There’s so much fun drama in this series!
I also enjoyed Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, a series inspired by the Douglas Adams books. The series is about Dirk Gently, this holistic detective who has no idea what’s his trying to investigate, until he suddenly gets hunches that lead him to actual clues. It’s so silly!
There’s also Elijah Wood’s character, he’s there against his will but keeps getting in trouble because of Dirk and I love his mortified expressions.
Another series I enjoyed this year were Supergirl, Strong Girl Bong-soon and Hello, My Twenties! (the last two were K-drama recommendations on Netflix).
My favorite movie I watched this year wasn’t a debut at all. I watched Rear Window (1954) for the first time. Yeah, long due, especially for a supposedly Hitchcock fan.
But it was so good I had to mention it. It’s about a guy with a broken leg that starts spying on the neighbors because he doesn’t have anything else to do. Until one day he notices the disappearance of his neighbor’s wife, and he gets a strong feeling that she was murdered.
The best part of the movie though, is that everything takes place in the broken-leg-guy’s apartment, and we see everything from the window just like he does. I also loved that he and his girlfriend (James Stewart and Grace Kelly) spend most of the movie discussing his crazy theories and the dialogues are so realistic. It was just like watching a normal couple (through a window!)
Also, this was the year of Disney’s Coco! I watched it twice in theaters and struggled so much to hold my tears. It was a beautiful movie about family and art. It also made a great effort in portraying Mexican families in a realistic way, from the customs, traditions, mannerisms, wardrobe and even the small details like food and piñata designs.
I feel like I’m biased because I’m Mexican and that made me have a strong connection with the characters and setting, but I’m pretty sure it’s an objectively good movie that anyone can enjoy.
And just to not leave these out (even though EVERYONE watched them too) I’ll give a big honorable mention to Star Wars The Last Jedi and Wonder Woman. Also the live-action Beauty and the Beast since it provided my most-listened soundtrack of 2017.
This year I wasn’t in the mood for videogames for some reason.
I got a Nintendo Switch and played Mario Kart, Tetris and Snipperclips on it. But I didn’t finish any big games.
I started Breath of the Wild but, even though I love Zelda games, felt tired in less than 10 hours. I think I wasn’t ready for an open world game with SO MANY things to do.
Next year I’ll pick it up again because I do want to know the story.
Also played a lot of Hearthstone and improved my rank a little! If you’re a fan of card games like Magic and Yugioh, I would recommend checking this one out. It’s available for free on computers, phones and tablets and it’s a great way to pass 10-15 minutes in a match.