I have finished reading 44 books this year. (I have to say, I thought this number would be higher. I was hoping to average a book a week and I am having a surprisingly emotional reaction upon not reaching that goal.) This number does not include what I am sure would add up to hundreds of pictures books I have read this year. These 44 are books of my own choosing (well, some are the book club’s choosing). They span the genres of fantasy fiction (9), historical fiction (1), science fiction (3), literary fiction (8), mystery (3), Newberry Award winners (3), Western classics (5), and non-fiction (11). This break down seems about right for my reading habits, with the exception of that double-digit number by the non-fiction books. I do not remember the last time I read more than ten non-fiction books in a year. Overall, I have come away from these choices better for having read them.
Having said that, for the first time ever two books were removed from this list because I did not finish them. I usually operate within the strict “once you start it, you finish it” reading code. But this year, not just once but twice, I abandoned this code. LaRose by Louise Erdrich I plan to finish at some point. The other, The Girls by Emma Cline, I have no interest in ever seeing again let alone reading. For whatever reason, this year I finally gave myself permission to give up on a book. It has been a sad and liberating experience.
And so, after all this reading, here are my thoughts on the books that have traveled the year with me. Most of the books listed were written this year, but there are a few now dear books that, though written previously, were new to me this year.
My Favorite Books Written in 2016:
- Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
- Underground Airlines by Ben Winters
- Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
- City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin
- Morning Star by Pierce Brown
- The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
My Overall Favorite from 2016: Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Least Favorite from 2016: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
Best Book from 2016 Yet Unread: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
Most Stress Inducing Read: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Favorite Non-Fiction Books Read in 2016 (not written in 2016):
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer
- Even The Stars Look Lonesome by Maya Angelou
Favorite Fiction Books Read in 2016 (not written in 2016):
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- Homeland by R.A. Salvatore
- The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Here’s to reaching that magical 52 in 2017!