08 January 2017

My 2016 In Books

As is my wont, I checked my Goodreads stats to see how many books I read in 2016, and I was kind of shocked to see that I'd not met my goal of 60. I was also shocked to see how far off of 2015 I'd been.


One of the books I read in 2016 was actually an omnibus volume of all six of the Mapp & Lucia books - 1,119 pages! - so really, the total should have been 62. And 2015 was clearly an aberration; how I read 79 books in a year is beyond me. Looking at 2011 to 2014, 60 books is pretty close to average for me. Here are some of the 2016 highlights, bookwise.

Non-Fiction that has totally stuck with me: M Train
Patti Smith's memoir completely got under my skin. I need to buy my own copy, and scribble in the margins. I did chase down some Weleda salt toothpaste, and I think of her every time I brush my teeth.

Non-Fiction that was everything I hoped it would be: Hamilton: The Revolution
The sound track is terrific, but it wants a libretto. (CDs and LPs are sorely missed in that regard.) Genius is all well and good for lyrics with annotation, but sometimes you want paper. The Hamiltome is pictures, essays, lyrics, notes - all in one glorious package.

Fiction that totally surprised me: The Girl With All The Gifts
Zombies! I'm not a sci-fi horror zombie aficionado. But several people, from different parts of my life, recommended this and I succumbed. It blew me away. Yes, the main character is a zombie. Put your preconceived notions aside and read it.

Delightful new-to-me author: Sarah Caudwell
Caudwell wrote four mysteries. Her master solver is one Professor Hilary Tamar (of indeterminate sex), the cast of characters includes a bunch of London Barristers, and the crimes all hinge on arcane points of British law. The dialogue is wry, the settings are fetching, and I have read three of the four and am saving Thus Was Adonis Murdered for a moment of great need.

26 of the books I read were library books. I didn't finish three, because they were too tedious for words. Only one book was a re-read (Supreme Courtship, and that was by accident on vacation, because I found something in the book swap in the rental house laundromat, but it was fun to read again and had an odd synchronicity to the presidential election). Another book was a suggestion from my (then) 12 year old daughter (The Memory Keeper's Daughter). And one book was edited by someone I know (Joanne Bamberger's Love Her, Love Her Not) and I met one of the other authors (Sari Wilson, of Girl Through Glass) at a work event.

And, because of all the new books for Christmas and my December birthday, the pile next to my bed is as huge as ever.


alejna said...

I'm very happy that you were also so taken with Sarah Caudwell. I can also assure you that they hold up very well to re-reading, and I think I appreciate them more each time. They are my go-to comfort books. In fact, I think I need to re-read one of them. Or all of them. (And I have you to thank for my discovery of Dorothy Sayers. I have been working my way through the Lord Peter books. It is such a treat when good mysteries are combined with really clever writing.)

The Girl With All the Gifts sounds intriguing! I will have to check it out.

Florinda said...

Totally with you on the Hamiltome, but I read it as an audiobook and that is not the ideal format. I bought a print copy on New Year's Eve as a belated Christmas gift to myself :-).

MARY G said...

I have a huge pile too. Luckily, the weather is awful.
And Sayers is my all time favourite. I am about to add Caudwell to the pile.

Kyla said...

My husband loves zombies, but lost interest in The Girl With All the Gifts. I think our house needs the Hamilton book. I almost got it for N for Christmas, but he wanted the biography instead.

I think I read 7 books last year, which was up from the year before in which I believe the total was 1. Velcro babies don't like to let their humans focus (on anything other than them). Maybe I'll read 10 this year! The sky is the limit! LOL.