My year in books! 2016


How many books did you read this year?
66! I’m not a bookworm. I’m a bookpython.

(Why yes, I did make an almost identical joke last year, and I’m going to keep making it with slight variations until I’m tired of it, so there!)

What was your number one TOP FAVORITE of them?
Oh jeez, this is so hard, erm, agh, uhh… Gone Girl. No, wait. Wild. No! My Sister’s Keeper! WAIT, NO! The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake! A Man Called Ove! We Need To Talk About Kevin! WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT WHAT A CRUEL QUESTION THIS IS.

Final answer: “I Have Too Many Favorite Books: A Memoir,” by Shannon Noel Brady.

Favorite new-to-you author that you discovered this year?
Definitely Gillian Flynn, without a doubt. I read all three of her books this year. Normally I like a diversity of authors, but in this case, I was Team Gillian all the way.

Best new-to-you book by an author you already liked?
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. It’s his most famous one but I do everything out of order. Dessert for breakfast and breakfast for dessert, that’s how I roll. (Seriously, I do that sometimes.)

What book were you surprised to like?
None were really surprises, because I specifically pick books that I, um… want to read? I know, crazy. If I had to pick, I guess I would say Every Day (Levithan) and Perks of Being a Wallflower (Chbosky), only because I normally don’t read YA. Both were excellent.

What was the funniest book you read this year?
Shrill by Lindy West. This was a book where the jokes were so gut-bustingly good that I immediately read them a second time so I could laugh all over again.

What book made you cry?
These two both tie for BUCKETS OF TEARS. I’m talking big, loud, sloppy sobbing. Now that I think of it, MSK probably beats out Wild because the latter’s tearbuckets mainly came at the beginning, while in MSK there was NO MERCY AT ANY TIME. Any page, any paragraph, could suddenly send you flailing for tissues.

What was the most beautifully written?
The Wisdom of John Muir, collected by Anne Rowthorn. Muir was an conservationist in the 1800s, the man who fought to preserve the exquisiteness of Yosemite as a National Park. This was a collection of his best writings on nature, and ohhh they were lovely… Fluttery-heart and wistful-sigh kind of lovely.

Most thought-provoking or life-changing?
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert had an immense effect on me. It was all about coping with fear in the creative process.

Most unputdownable?
Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris had a ruthless tension and a feeling of “OH NO” on every page, making it a book I read in about two sittings. (And the only reason I put it down between those sittings was because I had to leave for dinner with the in-laws.)

Most shocking or disturbing?
We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver. Hoooooo boy, this was an unsettling read. It’s the kind of book where it’s impossible to say you’re “enjoying” it, as it’s such a punch to the stomach, yet you’re thoroughly compelled to turn each page. Tough as it was, it also was amazing.

Most imaginative?
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. It wasn’t packed with imagination the way the fantasy novels on my list were, but its concept was surreal in a completely unique way.

Who was the most memorable character of the year?
Get ready to have your heartstrings pulled.

Most memorable friendship or romance?
Bill and Stephen had a hilarious dynamic in A Walk in the Woods (Bryson).

What genre or subject matter did you try that you normally don’t read?
I read my first “whodunit” mystery – Where Monsters Dwell by Jorgen Brekke. Enjoyed it, would like to read more.

What book can you not believe you waited this long to get to?
Matilda by Roald Dahl. I know I know, probably everyone else read it as a kid! I also finally read Perks of Being a Wallflower after having it on my to-read list for years. It was amazing.

Favorite quote from this year’s reads?
“…it was enough to trust that what I’d done was true. To understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it was… To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.” – Wild

What books did you read based mostly on recommendation or peer pressure?
Lord Foul’s Bane (Thomas Covenant #1) by Stephen Donaldson. I thought it had an awesome concept, but a few chapters in, the main character did something so horrible that my fury never went away. But I pushed through because the premise is similar to my own novel, so I felt like I had a duty to finish it.

Which of your reads did you recommend most to others?
Gone Girl

Did you start or finish a series?
I started a re-read of The Chronicles of Narnia. I was a kid the last time I read them so I wanted to refresh my memory. This year I completed the first two and will read the rest sporadically over the next couple years.

Shortest book?
Phoebe and Her Unicorn, by Dana Simpson – a kids’ comic book, so it took like 10 seconds to read. But it was hilarious and awesome.

Lord Foul’s Bane, 480 pages. Felt like 480,000 though.

Favorite cover of the year?


What was your favorite reading spot?
I discovered a cliffside trail overlooking the ocean this year. I loved finding remote spots where my legs could dangle over the edge, and read as the waves crashed below.

Did you read anything published within the year?
Yup – Behind Closed Doors, Shrill, I’m Just a Person, and Borderline.

Did you watch a movie based on a book you’d read?
Yup – My Sister’s Keeper, Gone Girl, Dark Places, Before I Go To Sleep, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Wild.

Which books were re-reads?
The Chronicles of Narnia #1 and 2

What are you most excited to read next year?
The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. I love her comedy.

And lastly… THE LIST! All of your reads from this year, ready, go!

  1. Matilda – Roald Dahl
  2. When You Reach Me – Rebecca Stead
  3. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane
  4. The Lot – by my good friend, Clayton Snyder!
  5. The End of the Alphabet – CS Richardson
  6. Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke
  7. The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes
  8. My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
  9. The Snow Globe – Jenna Nelson
  10. Where Monsters Dwell – Jorgen Brekke
  11. Fade to Black – Tim McBain
  12. Every Day – David Levithan
  13. The Book of Flying – Keith Miller
  14. Above – Isla Morley
  15. The Book of Lost Things – John Connolly
  16. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
  17. Find Me – Laura van den Berg
  18. Borderline – Mishell Baker
  19. Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
  20. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
  21. Phoebe and Her Unicorn – Dana Simpson
  22. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
  23. High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
  24. Before I Go to Sleep – SJ Watson
  25. The Quality of Silence – Rosamund Lupton
  26. Six Words You Never Knew had Something to Do With Pigs – Katherine Barber
  27. Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosh
  28. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – Aimee Bender
  29. Twisted – Andrew Kaufman
  30. The Light Between Oceans – ML Stedman
  31. The BFG – Roald Dahl
  32. We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  33. Agorafabulous – Sara Benincasa
  34. Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things – Randy Frost
  35. The Leftovers – Tom Perrotta
  36. Stitches – David Small
  37. Invisible Monsters – Chuck Palahniuk
  38. Lock In – John Scalzi
  39. Goddesses: A World of Myth and Magic – Burleigh Muten
  40. The Madness Vase – Andrea Gibson
  41. A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman
  42. Landline – Rainbow Rowell
  43. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
  44. The Three – Sarah Lotz
  45. Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
  46. The Magician’s Nephew (Narnia #1) – CS Lewis
  47. Barrel Fever – David Sedaris
  48. Thunder Dog – Michael Hingson
  49. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
  50. The Wisdom of John Muir – Anne Rowthorn
  51. The Man Who Couldn’t Stop – David Adam
  52. A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson
  53. Annihilation – Jeff Vandermeer
  54. The Dogs of Babel – Carolyn Parkhurst
  55. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Narnia #2) – CS Lewis
  56. Lord Foul’s Bane – Stephen Donaldson
  57. I’m Just a Person – Tig Notaro
  58. Shrill – Lindy West
  59. Wild – Cheryl Strayed
  60. Behind Closed Doors – BA Paris
  61. Paddle Your Own Canoe – Nick Offerman
  62. Dad is Fat – Jim Gaffigan
  63. The Dinner – Herman Koch
  64. When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chodron
  65. Lullaby – Chuck Palahniuk
  66. Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

Voila! If you got a kick out of this survey, feel free to answer it yourself and let me know so I can read your answers. 🙂

Merry reading~



79 thoughts on “My year in books! 2016

      • See? Can’t remember! I’m reading one now called The Sad Tale of The Brothers Grossbart which is pretty good. I just read one called The Invoice which stood out for me. I read an autobiography by Guns N Roses drummer Steven Adler and then a biography on The Ramones. Couldn’t tell you the authors if I tried…oh, accept Steven Adler.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’d do this but I’ve only managed three bike this year, and one of those was a re-read. I know the old thing about writers should read, but you know me and the so called rules never get along. One of the bother books I read though was Sharp Objects by one Gillian Flynn, which was a little outside my usual genres but I enjoyed it, and am definitely intrigued to give the others a go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 23 is still a lot! Bummer about the DNF’s. I had a few DNF’s too, but didn’t include them on the list.

      Aw, I noticed you gave The Road to Little Dribbling only one star! What didn’t you like about it? I haven’t read it, but I loved his book A Walk in the Woods and am curious about his others.


      • He’s very variable, Bryson. I loathed Dribbling because he was so grouchy and mean-spirited all the way through it, and seemed proud of being rude to sales and wait staff, a thing I detest. Also, I know a lot of the places he visited, and his research was crap.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, well I would, except that also as an American, I don’t like being told what to do! So I’ve just found myself in a pickle.

        Also, I’m not technically a librarian. But I enjoy the error so carry on. 😉


      • It was a suggestion, not an order :)* And, yeah, you don’t get to be a proper librarian until you’ve done the blood moon sacrifice thing. (My mother told me that, and she would never lie to me).

        * But you totally should.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just wanted to add a few thoughts on Bill Bryson (because I love him) (but occasionally don’t like him): I agree with Jon that some of his books carry a mean-spirited tone. I was hoping it was just his older books — such a shame to hear that it’s crept into some of his newer ones! I also loved Mother Tongue, though, along with In a Sunburned Country and I’m a Stranger Here Myself. I’d definitely recommend at least those three.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m definitely planning to read Mother Tongue soon because I’m interested in linguistics – glad to hear it’s good. I’m also glad I started with A Walk in the Woods because it was fantastic! It set a good impression of him for me.
        So which ones should I avoid, besides Little Dribbling?


      • The only one I distinctly recall as off-putting was actually The Lost Continent. But if that one didn’t bother Jon too much, maybe it won’t bother you either? Or maybe the narrator amplified the mean-spirited undertones? (I listened to that one on audiobook.) Or maybe it just requires the right mood?

        In any case, his books do seem to be a little hit or miss, but his hits are worth the misses.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. On another note, I have only read 6 of your list … I remember reading ‘Lord Foul’s Bane’ many years ago, in a vain attempt to impress the very lovely Sharon Rose Morris. It was awful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very cool. I wish I had more time to read. I’m on my 18th and 19th book right now (one paperback, one audiobook). Did a few super long ones and then a couple graphic novels to balance it out. 🙂 Almost done with American Gods, which is the new, author-preferred, paperback. My answers would not be nearly as entertaining as yours!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Well, I re-read The Lord of the Rings trilogy this year, which is an all time favorite, so it’s hard to beat that. But for new ones, I really loved The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and I actually really enjoyed one of the graphic novels I read: Saga (volume 1) by Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples. I’m not usually into graphic novels, but this one was really good. If I can find a minute, maybe I’ll tackle your list after all.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. As you can imagine my list is short enough to render it pointless! Loved reading yours though – particularly We Need To Talk About Kevin – read it years ago and it has stayed with me. Amazing piece of writing. Oh, and I’m so sorry for playing a part in making you suffer what seems like relentless leper-based torture at the hands of Thomas Convenant 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, no worries, you weren’t the first person to recommend Covenant. A bunch of people suggested it to me all around the same time – interesting coincidence. There was actually a lot of good stuff in it, but the rape of Lena made me furious, and made it impossible to enjoy the rest of the book. If it hadn’t been for that, I might have had a better response.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I loved the first six Covenant books, but I understand about the rape. A friend of mine felt the same way and couldn’t get past it. Part of what I loved about those books though is that Covenant is so completely flawed. I found myself often unhappy with his choices but still compelled to keep reading. If you ever decide to continue the series, do yourself a favor and pretend that the final series (The Last Chronicles) doesn’t exist. I wish I had.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Couldn’t find a reply button after your last comment! So…putting it here. Saga is about a couple who are from two different warring races and who are on the run from both sides of that galactic war. They have their baby with them, who narrates some of it, and are trying to keep her safe. It’s kind of a Romeo & Juliet story in space without the joint suicides. It’s super interesting, well-written, and the artwork is great. I recommend it. I have to now pony up for the rest of the series!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read Matilda this year, too! I’ve started a “rereading books from elementary/middle school” project and love it so far.

    What did you think of The Rosie Project? I keep coming across that title and wondering if I’d like it. Is it worth a read?

    BTW I decided to do one of these book retrospectives this year! I’m almost done drafting it but probably won’t post it until January… I loved reading yours and look forward to more!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Isn’t Matilda wonderful?? I kept smiling all the way through it. I want to re-read more books from my childhood too. I found Island of the Blue Dolphins at a used bookstore, AW YISSS. What elem re-reads have you done so far?

      I enjoyed The Rosie Project. It wasn’t a favorite, but I found it endearing and sweet.

      YAYYY I’m so glad you’ll be doing this survey! I can’t wait to read it.


      • I loved Matilda. I couldn’t get over the idea of this little girl empowering herself with books. (Well, and magic. But MOSTLY books.) So, so cool. She’s like Roald Dahl’s Hermione!

        So far I’ve only reread that one and The Witch of Blackbird Pond (which was also great this time around). I have a bunch of others, like The Westing Game and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, on my list. There’s something extra special about times when I can combine an already excellent read with a dose of nostalgia!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post, very impressive numbers! I have just looked at my list for 2016 and have only read 17 books so far, will hopefully be 18 by the time I get to the New Year. Must try harder! At least I have something to aim for in 2017. I blame the fact that I read ‘A Little Life’ (Hanya Yanagihara) this year which was pretty lengthy and towards the end I was just waiting for it to be over… It was good, but not sure I would recommend it to others unless they are made of pretty strong stuff. I have also been reading Roald Dahl (to the children though) so can’t count in my totals, I still have my childhood copies!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s not about numbers or trying hard! I don’t read a lot in order to win a race, I just happen to be lucky with a lot of reading time, which I know is difficult for others who have crazy busy lives.

      Reading to kids totally counts if you’re enjoying the book too! 🙂 Which Dahls have you read to them? I admit, I’ve only read Matilda and The BFG. Do you have a favorite?


      • Merry Christmas!
        I’m probably a little bit older than you so I have read them all as a child as I remember them coming out! I remember Roald Dahl died when I was 11, I had a poster of him on my wall! How sad is that!
        With the kids we have done George’s Marvellous Medicine, The Twits, The BFG, Fantastic Mr Fox and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I think I like Matilda the best, but they are a wee bit young for it yet I think.

        Liked by 1 person

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