Twenty-seven thousand words later, or more like - 27,845 words later, my Goodreads challenge for the year of 2017 had been met on December 30, 2017. In total, I completed the task of reading fifty books and have come walking away from it with a library closer to the one that looks like it was from The Beauty and the Beast. So overall, it was a great year in terms of reading. Among the fifty books I've read were a few classics, adult literature, science-fiction, and the acclaimed young-adult novels that are oh-so-very popular to today's demography of teens, children, and actual young adults.
However, looking back on it, 27,000 words later and I am still a bit unsure of the world. My shortest book was a collection of poems by r.h. Sin, titled whiskey, words, & a shovel volume II. Although, while being the most terse of the books I've read - it was also the most straightforward and one of the most poignant books I've read all year. It prioritized self-love as the stepping stone to finding true love, while also running concurrent with today's theme of feminism and female self-worth; women deserve the men that see them as wholes and not as puzzle pieces that need to be completed by males, respectively.
My longest book was Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. With over 1,000 words, it delivered the opposite kind of protagonist: a selfish, beautiful, and complete woman. It taught me that in comparison to today's female protagonists in the popular young-adult novels, you truly do not need a man to make do with life. To survive, you do not need powers, or the support of a lover - just headstrong willpower that borderlines ignorance and foolhardiness. Her protagonist, Scarlett O'Hara, for all her quirks and vices, and lack of virtues - proved that a strong will and hardworking will pay off. You do not need a man swooning you to your knees to know that otherwise.
Which is so ironic, because the most popular book I've read last year was A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas. A wonderful, five-star book, which is the sequel to an equally unsavory two-star one. The second book worked hard to rectify the dependency and futility that the female protagonist had. Which I believe is what is happening to many authors and people alike today. They make the mistake that they need someone else to become someone better, or to be whole again, when what they truly need is some soul-searching and self-loving in order to grow. The most popular book I've read, is a representation of society.
While the book that elicited the most out of me, Mosquitoland, by David Arnold, was the most raw book out there. It was not labeled the worst or the best in the year, rather it remained suspended in the middle. Not too good, not too bad; a bit too raw, too real, its audience unprepared. Overall, the book was very metamorphic - it was designed to be a hit-or-miss, but if you became one of the readers who captured an inkling of what was occurring, then it was a hit. Because the main character was so broken to begin with, it took time to understand her. So much time that you would not not see yourself becoming her, and by the end of it - this book, this wallflower that I've read last year, has become one of the best out there. It touches upon depression, drugs, and mental illnesses in a way that has not been touched upon before. Because it makes you become the person suffering them. And that is what I think the world needs more of now, a little less sympathy, and a little bit more attempts to try be be more empathetic with others.
That is what those 27,000 words have taught me.