Monday, January 16, 2017

10 Favorite Reads from 2016

Well, here we are half-way through January. It's past time for me wrap up 2016 and give my final reading report. 2016 was actually, surprisingly, my best reading year since I started tracking. My reading goal for the year was to read 50 books, and in the end I actually hit 56 books (maybe 57, but I didn't record any of my December books until January, and I feel like I'm forgetting one. I know I did a lot of reading, but everything from the month of December is kind of lost in a hazy fog of general miserableness.)

I never quite know how to go about assessing my favorite reads from a whole year. I thought it would be easier this year, with so many books to choose from, but it was harder. So, like with all of my book rating decisions, this is just a gut check list of what struck me as my top 10 today. (If I wrote this list two weeks ago, or next week, or next year, it would probably come out different.) Anyway, in the order I read them, here were ten of my favorite reads in 2016.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - Possibly my favorite favorite of 2016. It wasn't perfect, but I loved it. Read my thoughts here.

H Is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald - Favorite mixed genre: part grief memoir, part guide for training birds of prey, part biography of T.H. White. It's a strange little mix, but was exactly my cup of tea. Read more of my thoughts here.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi - Favorite book about death? Beautiful and powerful and entirely too short. Read it with a box of tissues.

Jayber Crow by Wendell Barry - Favorite book without much plot. This book hit on the exact recipe that makes for my favorite kind of literary read: character driven, deep reflections on life, thoughtful and considerate discussion of Christianity, beautifully written... I'm a sucker for these.

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham - Favorite parenting book. This book has had such a powerful, positive influence on my parenting. It was kind of one of those Gretchen Rubin "lightening bolt" moment type of books for me. Read more of my thoughts here.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - Favorite sentence structure and imagery in a literary book. Still not sure how I feel about the book as a whole, but I definitely appreciate how well written it is.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling and John Tiffany - Favorite play read this year. Favorite book read that was actually published this year. Favorite simply for the sake of my love of Harry Potter, not because it was particularly good.

Echoby Pam Munoz - Favorite middle grade fiction. Guys, get the audio book for this one, simply delightful!

Still Lifeby Louise Penny - Favorite murder-mystery. This was not a genre I thought I was interested in, but this was just so well written. The characters were fascinating, and it was a whole lot of fun.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - Favorite fantasy of the year. This one was quite a bit of fun. It was a good combination of fun fantasy world-building, thriller-heist drama, and strong, well-developed characters.


  1. I could not get through Hawk but When Breath Becomes Air is on my list. Still Life is the first in the Louise Penny series. I've read them all and these characters get better, deeper until you feel like you really know them. So thoughtful and much excellent philosophy in her books as well.

    1. Yeah, Hawk is not for everyone. It is a bit of a strange book, but I found it was just perfect for me. I will definitely have to read more Louise Penny books though, it was just so good.

  2. I can't believe that I haven't read Six of Crows yet. I loved her previous trilogy. And A Man Called Ove was probably my favorite book of the year (with Being Mortal being the winner of the non-fiction.)

    1. Wait, what's her previous trilogy? I'm going to have to look into this immediately...