2016 Reading Wrap Up

I’ve had a great reading year. My original target was 50 books, which I then revised twice up to 60 and then to 70, which I met. I also took part in the 2016 Classics Challenge, and while I didn’t complete it I still found it a really useful thing to do. I’ve not always been fond of making myself read things, but as time goes on I find it more and more rewarding.

I’ve been blogging more consistently this year, and as the year’s gone on I’ve got into a better schedule. There have only been four weeks where I didn’t post anything at all, in January, March, May and December, and for a while between July and September I was even posting three times a week. This was the first year I’ve posted monthly wrap ups, which I’ve found a really useful way to keep my own track of what I’ve been reading and to motivate myself. day-14-book-chevron

My goal last year deliberately excluded rereads, because I wanted to push myself out of a habit. I decided this year that I would include them, yet I still haven’t reread that many books. Of the 70 books I’ve finished this year, only 10 were ones I’d read before. Two were ones I read a long time ago, while the others were comfort reads that I first read more recently. In June particularly, when I was feeling a bit down, I did a lot of rereading to cheer myself up.

Best of 2016

I’ve read some really fantastic books this year. The first book I picked up, Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt, has stayed one of my favourites. It takes on huge subjects with impressive tenderness and provides a huge amount for anyone to think about – while it’s marketed mostly for young adults, I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone.

My favourite of all the books I picked up for my unfinished Classics Challenge was The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford. It took me a while to get into the rhythm of Mitford’s writing, but once I was there I really fell in love. I’m absolutely intending to pick up Love in a Cold Climate in 2017.

The author I read the most of in 2016 was Sarah J Maas. In May I had a craving for a fantasy series, and found Throne of Glass on a Waterstones wander. I read the whole series (reviews here and here), and then Mass’ other series A Court of Thorns and Roses in July while waiting for Empire of Storms’ release in September (review here). They’re brilliant fun, full of great characters. I’m looking forward to the third ACOTAR book in May 2017, A Court of Wings and Ruin, and the final Throne of Glass book – whenever that may be!

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There are a few authors I read for the first time this year whose books I enjoyed so much, I can’t rank them above each other. I read two books by Kate Atkinson, the interconnected Life After Life and A God in Ruins, and loved both of them – I really can’t pick one over another. While the writing itself is similar, the approach in each is so different.

I’ve also read two books by Elizabeth Strout over the past couple of months, My Name is Lucy Barton and Olive Kitteridge, which I found completely fascinating. There’s something uniquely realistic about Strout’s characters which I adore.

It’s impossible to put into words how hard in love I’ve fallen with books by Becky Chambers. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit are two of my absolute favourites of the past year. They fulfill everything I have ever wanted from a book – fantastic characters, a huge amount of imagination, gorgeous writing with complex and emotional themes.

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill left me with a huge book hangover, especially considering how thin a volume it is. I’ve never read anything else like it, in the best possible way.

But my absolute favourite book in 2016 was (perhaps predictably) The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss. This book completely took my breath away. I’ve got little moments and quotes stored in my head, which played around and around for weeks after I finished it. It left me speechless and amazed, and marveling at the brilliance of life.

Monthly Wrap Ups:

– January FebruaryMarchAprilMayJune  – 6 month review
– JulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember –

Books Read in 2016

  1. January – 4 books
    Orbiting Jupiter
    by Gary D Schmidt
  2. Serious Concerns by Wendy Cope
  3. Night Owls by Jenn Bennett
  4. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
    February – 6 books
  5. Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
  6. How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne
  7. Soulmates by Holly Bourne
  8. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  9. Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher
  10. Silas Marner by George Eliot (reread)
    March – 4 books
  11. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  12. Here by Richard McGuire
  13. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
  14. And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
    April – 8 books
  15. Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
  16. The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene (reread)
  17. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  18. When We Collided by Emery Lord
  19. Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel
  20. Faber New Poets 13 by Elaine Beckett
  21. Faber New Poets 14 by Crispin Best
  22. Faber New Poets 16 by Rachel Curzon
    May – 10 books
  23. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling (reread)
  24. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  25. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
  26. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
  27. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
  28. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas
  29. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas (reread)
  30. Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas
  31. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas
  32. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    June – 7 books
  33. The Remains by Annie Freud
  34. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (reread)
  35. Night Owls by Jenn Bennett (reread)
  36. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (reread)
  37. The Good Story by JM Coetzee and Arabella Kurtz
  38. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (reread)
  39. Fiere by Jackie Kay
    July – 7 books
  40. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
  41. Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
  42. An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
  43. Playing to the Gallery by Grayson Perry
  44. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
  45. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
  46. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
    August – 4 books
  47. The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
  48. The View on the Way Down by Rebecca Wait
  49. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  50. Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall
    September – 3 books
  51. Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas
  52. Just Juliet by Charlotte Reagan
  53. Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes
    October – 5 books
  54. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
  55. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
  56. All That Man Is by David Szalay
  57. Conclave by Robert Harris
  58. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
    November – 5 books
  59. Black Water by Louise Doughty
  60. A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton
  61. Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer
  62. Cove by Cynan Jones
  63. Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav
    December – 7 books
  64. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (reread)
  65. Swing Time by Zadie Smith
  66. A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
  67. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  68. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (reread)
  69. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  70. Landing by Laia Fàbregas

 

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