Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: My Bookish Year in Review

my bookish year in review

Books read: 86 (80 fiction, 6 non-fiction; 85 adult, 1 YA)

5-star books: 14 (definitely a record!)

Favorite book of the year: "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi. Superb writing, clever format, fascinating plot, timely topic. I loved everything about it and everyone should read it! (I won't mention it again because it would take up half the answers!)

Favorite historical fiction: It was an awesome historical fiction year for me and I can't choose just one -- and hell, I'm making this questionnaire up as I go, so I can do what I want, right?! I'll say it's a multi-way tie between "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles, "To the Bright Edge of the World" by Eowyn Ivey, "Letters to the Lost" by Iona Grey, "Burial Rites" by Hannah Kent, "Jane Steele" by Lyndsay Faye and "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. (Those were all 5-star reads, by the way.)

Favorite mystery/thriller: "The Wolf Road" by Beth Lewis (more thriller than mystery, with an added post-apocalyptic element; I read way fewer mysteries than usual this year.)

Favorite sci-fi: "Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch

Favorite fantasy: "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik (no review for this one, but trust me, it was ah-maze-ing. Even if you don't normally read fantasy, you should check it out!)

Favorite women's fiction: a tie between "Maybe in Another Life" by Taylor Jenkins Reid and "The Things We Keep" by Sally Hepworth

Favorite non-fiction/memoir: "When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi, "Furiously Happy" by Jenny Lawson

Most unputdownable: "The Fireman" by Joe Hill, "Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch, "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik

Most disappointing book: "The Hike" by Drew Magary. Pointless plot and terrible writing -- ugh.

Best plot-driven novel: "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik

Best character-driven novel: "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles

Longest book: "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" (7 trillion pages... oh wait, it just felt like that. It was actually 782.)

Shortest book: "Saga" volume 5 (152 pages)

Favorite new author(s) discovered: Amor Towles or Eowyn Ivey; I'm so excited to read their previous releases!

Best debut: "The Wolf Road" by Beth Lewis or "The Atomic Weight of Love" by Elizabeth J. Church

Best series started: The Others urban fantasy series by Anne Bishop ("Written in Red" is the first book); the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik (starts with "His Majesty's Dragon")

Most pleasant reading experience: "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles

Most unpleasant reading experience: "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara

Most over-hyped book(s): "The Couple Next Door" by Shari Lapena, "Be Frank With Me" by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Biggest let-down: I definitely gave some books lower ratings, but I had such high hopes for "Today Will Be Different" by Maria Semple; sadly, while it was ok, it didn't hold a candle to quirky, brilliant "Where'd You Go, Bernadette."

Most memorable character(s): Count Alexander Rostov from "A Gentleman in Moscow," Jude from "A Little Life"

I can't believe I waited until 2016 to finally read: "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr, "Maybe in Another Life" by Taylor Jenkins Reid, "The Royal We" by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Novel that taught me the most: "The Last Days of Night" by Graham Moore, a great novel about the battle between A/C and D/C current and between Edison and Westinghouse

Most thought-provoking book: "Poor Your Soul" by Mira Ptacin, a wonderful, laid-bare memoir about an impossible choice, grief and moving on

Best worldbuilding: a tie between "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik and "The Fifth Season" by N.K. Jemisin

Most atmospheric novel: "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton, "The Moor" by Laurie R. King (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #4)

Most underrated good book(s) I read this year: besides "The Wolf Road," I'd say "The Atomic Weight of Love" by Elizabeth J. Church (about a wife and aspiring ornithologist who follows her husband to Los Alamos, New Mexico, for his work on the atom bomb in the 1940s) and "Letters to the Lost" by Iona Grey (an absolutely fantastic dual narrative set in present day and WWII, told partly in letters)

Favorite book-to-screen adaptation: "Me Before You" -- I thought the casting was spot-on!

Favorite covers: apparently I read a lot of blue books this year! In no particular order...

book covers 2


  1. This is a great wrap-up...with the end of the year, there have been lots of these types of posts floating around and the way you've put yours together might be my favorite! So many of these books are on my TBR, and I'm particularly looking forward to Uprooted and Homegoing and Gentleman in Moscow!

    1. Thank you so much, Gabby! Those three books you mentioned were all absolutely fantastic. I hope you enjoy them too! :)

  2. I had a lot of 5 star reads this year too. I think too many to be honest. I was happy to see Homegoing on my library's website so I will be making that a 2017 priority. Love both of your nonfiction choices. Pretty covers :) Seems like a great reading year for you!!

    1. Definitely check out "Homegoing" -- it was unlike anything I've read before and I loved that about it.

      I love all those covers! Unfortunately a couple of the covers were a bit more appealing than the content within. (Although two -- "To the Bright Edge" and "The Atomic Weight" -- were favorites of mine this year!)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Stormi! Wishing you a wonderful, book-filled new year! :)

  4. Homegoing was one of my favorite books this year and one I'll continually recommend too! I agree with you about Today Will Be Different being a huge letdown-- it sounded like it was going to be so good, but I was really underwhelmed with the story.

  5. Such a great list, Lindsay! I am really looking forward to reading Homegoing this year. So many other books you mention are on my to read list too. I hope to read Uprooted this year, and Fifth Season. I hope you have a wonderful New Year, Linsday.

  6. I've put both Homegoing and To the Bright Edge of the World on my must-read list for 2017 (which I'll be posting soon!) I wanted to read Eowyn Ivey's book anyhow because I loved The Snow Child so much, but your enthusiasm for Homegoing really sold me on that one.

  7. Looking forward to reading Homegoing.


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