Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Looking Back at 2016

Wow, it has taken me forever to write this. I usually wait and write my yearly wrap-up post in January but this is late even for me!

So let's talk reading during 2016, shall we?

Books Read in 2016: 131
Books Reviewed in 2016: 87
First Book of the Year: Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2)
Last Book of the Year: The Paris Wife
Pages Read: 43,889 
Fiction: 64

Non-fiction: 23 
Books by male authors: 30
Books by female authors: 57

Favorite books of 2016

Returning Favorites:
I've read and loved books by these authors before, and they certainly didn't let me down this time around.

Emily, Alone is essentially the story of an elderly woman learning to live alone after the death of her husband. Emily is a delightful character who will stay with you for a long time.  

Flight of Dreams is a book I could not put down. I carried it around with me, desperate to read a few more pages. You know how things will end if you know your history, but I needed to know immediately which characters were going to make it. Ariel Lawhon writes speculative historical fiction like no one else. 

I love a good WWII story and Everyone Brave is Forgiven did not disappoint. It's both a specific look at World War II and a universal story about the unrelenting cost of war. 

I didn't even write a review for Commonwealth. I finished the book and thought that it was an effortless and beautiful novel. I didn't know what to write besides "is it possible for Ann Patchett to get any better?" I don't see how, and yet I certainly hope so.


I love Ramona Ausubel. She is on my automatic, no questions asked, buy it right now list. Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty follows a family one summer in 1976 when a financial crisis threatens to tear them apart. Novels about poor, sad rich people are usually a skip for me, but this one is amazing.


New-to-me Authors:

I am not entirely new to Emily Wirenga's writing, since I've read her work before on her blog and some other websites. But Making It Home is a stunning book about feeling inadequate in the constant pull between loving and caring for others and trying to find some time for yourself. It's a book for parents, but really it is a book for anyone who loves beautiful and honest writing. 

I read this book for almost two months, so I need to give it some love. I love Lin Manuel Miranda's musical based on this book and I love history, so I was excited to join a readalong at Reading Rambo. Alexander Hamilton is a well-written, well-researched door-stopper for all of you history nerds! 

I've figured out somewhat recently that I really enjoy books that combine medical history and personal narratives (see The Immortal Lives of Henrietta Lacks). Patient H.M. is an examination of a man who taught us much of what we know about the brain after he was in an accident and became a life-long test subject. The author here is the grandson of the man who studied H.M. so he is able to mix personal memories with some ethical questions about his grandfather's actions as a doctor.

Mr. Splitfoot is dark and creepy and mysterious and I loved it. This is the kind of book where it's good to go into it without knowing too much, so take my advice and go read it!


Great historical fiction? Check. Questions about faith and family and what it means to be human? Check. Magic? Check. The Golem and the Jinni was an incredible book and I can't wait for the sequel next year!

It's your turn! What were the best books you read in 2016? 


  1. The only author I've read of yours listed above is Stewart O'Nan, whom I've enjoyed with about five titles, but not the one you read. Yours is a continuation of a character in the last book I read by him.

    You always choose such interesting books, and I admire your reviews-- glad you had a very good year!

  2. It sounds like you had a great reading year, with a wonderful mix of genres and authors. Some titles you've featured as favourites I'm keen to learn more about.

    My favourites from the year definitely include Love Anthony by Lisa Genova, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue and The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern.

    I hope 2017 treats you well this year, books and otherwise.

  3. Great list! I still want to get to a lot of your favorites :)

  4. There's a sequel to The Golem and the Jinni?!?!

  5. There's going to be a sequel to The Golem and the Jinni? I hadn't heard this! Yay!!

  6. I just finished reading Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave and loved it. Haven't read anything else by him though I heard a lot about Little Bee when that came out years ago.