Hello, 2017. What a year that 2016 was, eh. Like, wow. Good riddance.
You may or may not recall at the beginning of 2016 I set out a goal to write a review for every book I read, with my reading goal being set at 60 books for the year. Not only did I fail in my attempt to write a review for every book, but last year marks the first time, since I started setting reading goals, that I missed that mark as well. All told, I wrote 28 reviews and read 52 book (really had to cram that final one in, staying up way too late New Year’s Eve Eve to finish it, making New Year’s Eve pretty much a non event for me. My final one was for a book I finished in July (though posted in September because I’m slow on things). Why stop there? Well, in August I read about nine books and I just couldn’t face that many write-ups. And for what, for a New Year’s Resolution, which I shouldn’t have set up for myself to begin with? Aiyayay.
I’d say the main difference between 2016 and the prior years is my commute. I took the bus for a number of years to Bellevue for work and in the fall of 2015 I moved offices over to Redmond and started taking the company shuttle. There is still time for reading on a commute, but thanks to wifi I found myself working on my laptop for some of the commute. I also had a knitting project I was cramming in for a few months. And then I discovered podcasts. So, yeah, there were other things to be done that wasn’t reading-related. I noticed in November I only read two books, which is far lower than my average. That was a bad month for me. I spent a lot of time fuming while reading Facebook. So, yeah. F-you 2016.
I’m not terribly sad about missing the goal. I accomplished a lot more. I knit a pretty badass Gryffindor scarf (and I’m in the midst of Ravenclaw one). I tried crocheting (still trying to get the hang of that). I opened my mind to podcasts and have had a blast listing to Anna Faris is Unqualified, The Nerdist Podcast and others.
Today I went through my list of books I did read (hey, 52 books means one book a week, more or less), and have compiled a list of 2016 favorites:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. (pub. 2007).
Read in Feb. 2016. I don’t need to do another review, right? I already did one. It’s right here. But I will say this. If a friend, whose book recommendations are often on the mark for you, recommends a book to you year after year, for the love of all things holy read the frikking book. By far the best book I read this year, and the only one I gave 5 stars to on Goodreads this year.
Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson (pub. 2016)
Read in July 2016. I couldn’t get over the young boy in the novel. As a mother striving to be the best mother I must say the mom in this book drove me nuts but the boy made me want to be a kid again. \
Here’s my review.
Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride & Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld (pub. 2016)
Read in June 2016. I got kind of obsessed with this one. I just loved what Sittenfeld did with this modern version (all but the “Bachelor”-type setup near the end). I dare anyone to find me a more compelling tribute/fan-fiction etc to P&P.
Here’s my review.
The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller (Published 2012, Read in Feb 2016). My goodness do I love post-apocalyptic popcorn fiction like this. And guess what, I actually did not write a review for this one even though I read it early in the year. I did write a bit for another post-flu endemic type novel, Station Eleven, which also wowed me (and if I thought more about this post I’d pair them up together in my best-of list because they were both so enjoyable in this genre).
Set in Colorado, a man goes through life following a sickness hits the country that wipes out the majority of the population. His dog and a fellow survivor are his only companions and he longs to see if there’s something else out there.
A great story of survival that also helped layout a plan for when the flu pandemic finally hits. I also have a review for Station Eleven here.
Others that I loved … Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters, The Lake House by Kate Morton, The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher.
Most of my faves were read earlier in the year. The latter half of the year, I definitely hit a low season. Another possible reason I didn’t reach my goal was the number of books I started but didn’t finish (includes: The Avenue of Mysteries, A Discovery of Witches, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven).
And here’s one I did not love but really wanted to: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Really lame fan fiction, IMO. Hopefully it shows better on stage than it did on paper.
So, Happy new year! I’m setting my 2017 goal for reading to 52 books, which will hopefully give me some time to knit while I commute and do other fun stuff as well.