Saturday, December 31, 2016

Books 2016 - A Year in Review


Back at the start of the year, I decided two things related to books: First, I set a goal of reading at least 100 books (approximately 2 per week, so it should be fairly reasonable to accomplish). And, harder to do, perhaps: I was going to try to read my way through the books I have on my To Be Read Shelf/List and not buy so many other books, even from charity shops, etc.

At the start of  January 2016, there were 55 books on the list. Of these, 7 had been on the list before the start of 2015 and the rest were acquired at some point during the year. There are now 47 books on the list, but of course, books have come and gone through the year, because who reads things in strictly the order they are bought, received or otherwise acquired? (OK, there may be some people out there who do, but I'm sure not one of them...)

Because I like to look at statistics, here are some possibly interesting figures:

Number of books read in 2016: 103
Number of books on my TBR list at the start of 2016: 55
Number of books on my TBR list now: 46
Number of books on my TBR list now which were on it at the start of 2016: 16
Number of books on my TBR list now which were on it at the start of 2015: 4
Number of books bought (for myself) in 2016: 35 (new: 18, used: 17)
Number of books acquired as gifts or for free otherwise: 8
Number of library books read: 6
Number of books re-read (which I own already): 42
Number of books read which other people in my house already owned: 5
Number of books tried and abandoned: 8

But more importantly (or interestingly, or both), which books that I read this year stood out? Well, not counting books which I re-read for whatever reason (obviously, they stand out in some way or another or you wouldn't re-read them), here's the list of books I read in 2016, with ones I thought good underlined, and those I thought particularly notable with some asterisks.  I chose 13 particular favourites in a variety of genres and subjects, which works out to approximately one per month plus one superstar (just a coincidence - I just chose the ones I liked best). The favourites are also the ones which make up the collage at the top.

Many years it's hard to pick one book which stands out as an absolute favourite, though some years, it's obvious (for insteance, the year I read Kate Atkinson's Life After Life). This year was another easy year - by far the most remarkable book I read this year, even among some pretty good stuff, was Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See. Just stunning.

I'm not too hard to please with reading - I like a wide variety of stuff and it just has to be well written and capture the imagination in whatever way. However, I seem to buck trends from time to time. Two books I read this year which were very hyped I didn't like at all - the first was My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. This was ok, it just didn't excite me. The second was one of those which everyone reads and raves about and I just absolutely hated (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn). Although it was reasonably well-written (which lack will often kill off an otherwise promising book for me) I hated all the characters and had a fairly good idea where the plot was heading and frankly, just didn't give a toss.

  • 103: Hollow City, Ransom Riggs
  • 102: The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch
  • 101: Two Moons, Jennifer Johnston
  • 100: Death in a Strange Country, Donna Leon
  • 99: Goldenhand, Garth Nix (SF/F)
  • 98: Abhorsen, Garth Nix (SF/F, re-read)
  • 97: Lirael, Garth Nix (SF/F, re-read)
  • 96: Sabriel, Garth Nix (SF/F, re-read)
  • 95: No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy
  • **94: The Reader on the 6.27, Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
  • 93: Faery Tales, Carol Ann Duffy
  • 92: A Face Like Glass, Frances Hardinge (YA)
  • 91: Busman's Honeymoon, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)
  • 90: Gaudy Night, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)
  • 89: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs (re-read)
  • 88: The Nine Tailors, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)
  • 87: Ink and Bone, Rachel Caine (YA)
  • 86: Crooked Heart, Lissa Evans
  • 85: Winter, Marissa Meyer (YA)
  • **84: Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel
  • 83: Death at La Fenice, Donna Leon (re-read)
  • **82: The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
  • 81: Naked in Death, Nora Roberts (re-read)
  • 80: Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo (YA)
  • 79: My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante
  • 78:Cress, Marisa Meyer (YA)
  • 77: Murder Must Advertise, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)
  • 76: Crystal Line, Anne McCaffrey (SF/F)
  • 75: Killashandra, Anne McCaffrey (re-read) (SF/F)
  • 74: Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
  • **73: Shadow Scale, Rachel Hartman (SF/F)
  • **72: A God in Ruins, Kate Atkinson
  • 71: Seraphina, Rachel Hartman (re-read) (SF/F)
  • 70: Crystal Singer, Anne McCaffrey (re-read) (SF/F)
  • 69: Scarlet, Marissa Meyer (YA)
  • 68: The White Dragon, Anne McCaffrey (re-read) (SF/F)
  • 67: A Christmas Party, Georgette Heyer
  • 66: Dragonquest, Anne McCaffrey (re-read) (SF/F)
  • 65: Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey (re-read) (SF/F)
  • 64: Dragondrums, Anne McCaffrey (re-read) (YA)
  • 63: Dragonsinger, Anne McCaffrey (re-read) (YA)
  • 62: Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey (re-read) (YA)
  • 61: An English Ghost Story, Kim Newman
  • 60: Cinder, Marissa Meyer (YA)
  • 59: We Are Not Ourselves, Matthew Thomas
  • 58: Far, Far Away, Tom McNeal (YA)
  • 57: Have His Carcase, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)
  • 56: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J K Rowling (re-read)
  • 55: The Girl who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two, Catherynne M Valente (YA)
  • 54: Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince, J K Rowling (re-read)
  • 53: Birdy, William Wharton (re-read)
  • 52: The Stand, Stephen King (re-read)
  • 51: Moriarty, Anthony Horowitz
  • 50: The Disappearing Spoon, Sam Kean
  • **49: Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell (YA)
  • 48: Five Red Herrings, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)
  • 47: Strong Poison, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)
  • **46: The Enchanted, Rene Denfeld
  • 45: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)
  • 44: Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix, J K Rowling (re-read)
  • 43: Beauty, Robin McKinley (re-read)
  • 42: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, Katarina Bivald
  • 41: Lord Peter Views the Body, Dorothy L Sayers
  • 40: The Shock of the Fall, Nathan Filer
  • 39: Unnatural Death, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)
  • 38: Bloodlines, Jan Burke
  • 37: Clouds of Witness, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)
  • 36: Whose Body, Dorothy L Sayers (re-read)
  • 35: The Illusionists, Rosie Thomas
  • **34: Wolf Winter, Cecilia Ekback
  • 33: Lisette's List, Susan Vreeland
  • **32: The Bees, Laline Paull
  • 31: Howards End, E M Forster
  • 30: Tregaron's Daughter, Madeleine Brent (re-read)
  • 29: Last Act, Jane Aiken Hodge (re-read)
  • 28: Summer of the Dragon, Elizabeth Peters (re-read)
  • 27: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J K Rowling (re-read)
  • **26: All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  • 25: Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Lynne Truss
  • 24: Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
  • 23: Downtown, Anne Rivers Siddons (re-read)
  • 22: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
  • 21: The Unpierced Heart, Katy Darby
  • 20: The Girl Who Wasn't There, Ferdinand von Schirach
  • 19: Darkling, Laura Beatty
  • 18: Dreaming Spies, Laurie R King
  • 17: Abbatoir Blues, Peter Robinson
  • 16: Us, David Nicholls
  • 15: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (re-read)
  • 14: The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco (re-read)
  • 13: A Spool of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler
  • 12: Only Say the Word, Niall Williams
  • 11: The Anatomy of Ghosts, Andrew Taylor
  • **10: The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge
  • 9: Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (re-read)
  • 8: Career of Evil, Robert Galbraith
  • 7: Play with Fire, Dana Stabenow
  • **6: The Good Italian, Stephen Burke
  • 5: Merivel, Rose Tremain
  • 4: Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone (re-read)
  • 3: Flight, Jan Burke
  • **2: Goodnight Nebraksa, Tom McNeal
  • 1: Sarasawati Park, Anjali Joseph


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