Good morning! Another day – but, ugh: Monday. Another day for #MonthOfFaves – and today is focusing on our Year in Reading, so I totally take back what I said about Monday!
#MonthOfFaves is hosted by the lovely Andi at Estella’s Revenge, Tanya and Kimberly at Girl XOXO, and Tamara over at Traveling with T. These ladies are seriously some of my favorite people in the entire world, so you should definitely go see what they’re up to. Especially during this month when everything is merry and bright! Who couldn’t use a little more of that in their lives?!
Today’s prompt, like I said, is our year in reading. Which means, it’s a great time for our End of Year Reading Survey! It should be a good one because I am at 220 books and going strong! My high water mark is 239, and I want to at least top that. But I need to get crackin’ if that’s going to happen! The good news is that my male:female ration improved, at 39/69% (from 45/55% last year); as did my percentage of books by people of color, at 25%. Yes, that’s still abysmal, but it’s up from 16% last year, and 11% the year before that. So at least I’m trending in the right direction.
Best of Reading for 2016!
1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
Hands down, it’s My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. Such a magical book on par with Ya Ya for how I want to parent. It’s about finding magic in the everyday mess, and really gives me hope for having to “grow up” one day and be a grandparent. I can totally do this, you guys, if I follow this blueprint.
Caroline Kepnes’s You and Jandy Nelson’s The Sky Is Everywhere are close behind.
2. Book You Were Excited About and Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
This is a tough one because I always think I’m going to love a book! I suppose the biggest letdowns were new releases by some of my favorite authors – Commonwealth by Ann Patchett didn’t have the catchy writing that has sucked me in to her other sagas, though family dramas are very hit-or-miss for me; Kids of Appetite wasn’t quite as quirky as Dave Arnold’s Mosquitoland; and Francisco Stork’s The Memory of Light was okay, but not nearly as dazzling as Marcelo in the Real World.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2016?
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. YA books can either crossover or not, and I’m especially wary when they come in a YA-geared subscription box. This one, too, was about two descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson who meet to solve crimes – an over-focused subject that could easily come off as kitchy. Didn’t help that the two protags are male and female and – you guessed it – supposed to be potential mates. If they can get over the whole “hating each other” thing. But here’s the surprise – I LOVED this book! In fact, as soon as I finished reading it, I checked to see when Cavallaro was supposed to deliver the next in the series. It was smart and well-paced and flew in the face of everything it could have crumbled into. I am definitely pre-ordering the next book!
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2016?
You by Caroline Kepnes. How had I not ever heard of this before?!
5. Best series you discovered in 2016?
Series aren’t my bag, usually. A Study in Charlotte is supposed to be a series – and one that I’ll read! And Bee has been adoring the Miss Marvel series. She read six volumes in one week – an unprecedented pace for her.
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2016?
I loved Caroline Kepnes and Ruth Ware. Pamela Erens’s voice was lovely, so I’ll be watching for her. Jewell Parker Rhodes’ Towers Falling was powerful and get-attable, so she’ll be on my list. And Sonali Dev is a new darling of mine.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I am not one for romance, but Sonali Dev made me change my mind quite a few times. I also read quite a few graphic novels so I could talk about them with my former-non-reader. Nimona, El Deafo and the Miss Marvel series were all outstanding!
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, The Royal We, You, and Exit, Pursued by a Bear were all impossible to put down. Who doesn’t love being stuck helpless like that?!
9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
My Grandmother Asked Me is high on my re-read list, naturally. I need to commit entire passages to memory.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
Covers dazzle me in the moment, but rarely stay with me. In other words, don’t hold me to this!
11. Most memorable character in 2016?
Oh gosh. The title grandmother from My Grandmother Asked Me…
and Joe Goldberg from You (and oh how Beck would hate that)…
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
A toss-up between two books both written to help cope with grief: When Breath Becomes Air and H Is for Hawk. Both exquisitely written books written with intense grace under the very worst of circumstances.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2016?
A Mother’s Reckoning, by Sue Klebold, mother of Dyland Klebold, one of the Columbine killers. It made me realize how much is out of my control, no matter how much I do to try to influence the outcome of my career, my children’s education and what they do with it later, their behavior… And while, yes, there was a bit of panic with the realization, I also stopped and was grateful that I have good kids, and a good job, and a wonderful village surrounding me. We luck into a lot in our lives, and so rarely stop and count our blessings.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Mortality by Christopher Hitchens, and – yes, it’s true, Roots by Alex Haley. I feel like the very last person to have read or watched that.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
I am not one to quite or track passages. I used to keep a quotes journal and I wish I had the time to start that again.
16.Shortest and Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Shortest: Lumberjanes Vol. 1, by Noelle Stevenson (24 pages)
Longest: The Fireman, by Joe Hill (768 pages).
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
My sister Rhianyn was reading The Royal We at the same time I was, so I was able to share all the fun shippy moments with her and BLAH! over certain plot points. It was such a fun, smart-fluffy book to read! it was pretty much this year’s Outlander.
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2016 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Elsa and her grandmother from My Grandmother Asked Me, although I really can’t stop and think about it too much because I will break down in tears right here.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You Read Previously
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. Nelson was introduced to me by my cousin, and an author I will automatically pre-order. Her style is breathtaking and comes closest to understanding the crazy, magical, nearly-annoying, couldn’t-live-without insanity of my family.
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
A good percentage of the books I read are solely based on others’ recommendations!
You by Caroline Kepnes was recommended by my friend Fitz from high school.
H Is for Hawk was recommended by my friend Care from my bookish community online.
We Are the Ants is a book that was included in a bookish subscription box, and was something I really wasn’t interested in reading at all, because of the genre (fantasy) and plot (captured by aliens? really?), but ending up adoring!
21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2016?
Fiction. Hands down. Contemporary mostly. Although I did improve my ratio of non-fiction to fiction this year.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
Is it terrible that absolutely no one stands out?
23. Best 2016 debut you read?
So many! I’ll go with A Study in Charlotte and Exit, Pursued by a Bear.
24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2016?
You are going to get sick of listening to me talk about My Grandmother Asked Me, but it really was an incredible world – or worlds, when you consider her creative license and world-building that was going on. It was good enough to make me upset that it doesn’t really exist.
25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2016?
Okay, I’m going with a different answer, lest you best me about the head. I did a fair bit of guilty reading in 2016. There were two books by Peter Allison about safaris in Africa that was fun reads. There was a bit of true crime splurging, too. The Jodi Arias story was fascinating (in a creepy, psychotic killer sort of way), and then the behind-the-scenes liner book about Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda was a riot!
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
The books about grief that I mentioned made me cry, as did My Grandmother Asked Me. I also found reading Exit, Pursued by a Bear to be a very challenging read because too many too-young children are having to deal with issues far more adult than they are, and it breaks my heart.
So there you have it! A lot of fun, a LOT of reading, and lots more in my future. It’s what makes my happy place happy, and I love being able to share it with you!