Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What I Read in 2016

Each year, I do a reading challenge on Goodreads. I usually set a goal of 52 books a year, one per week and most recent years I haven't been able to make it. There have been times in my life when I've read more than that, but here in the middle of what my mom calls "the busy years" (careers, kids, house, etc.), one a week is more than I can do sometimes. Reading is a sanity saver for me, a solace, a balm, inspiration, escape. When I don't get enough story time, I'm a serious cranky pants.

In 2016, I read seventy-one books!

That number is slightly inflated because I counted books I read out loud with my fourth grader (in past years I haven't counted those), but I still feel proud of myself.

So, what did I read?

I read eleven indie books. My favorites of those I read this year were The Cogsmith's Daughter by Kate Colby and Ithaka Rising by LJ Cohen. But several others were really good as well. Indie books are the Rodney Dangerfields of the publishing industry in a lot of ways in that they "get no respect." But indie authors are passionate, hardworking, and often creative and risk-taking in ways that more traditionally published authors aren't. If you're feeling in a rut in your reading life, I recommend indie books. Take time to read some reviews to weed out the unprofessional books and you'll find some real gems!

I read twenty-eight audio books. Audiobooks were a big part of why I managed to read so much this year. I can listen to an audiobook while hanging laundry, cooking dinner, driving my car, or many other mundane things that suck up my daylight. A good reading can make a good book even better. I loved Behemoth by Scott Westerfield and West With the Night by Beryl Markham, The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon and Doc by Mary Doria Russell, and I think all four of those were enhanced by the audio experience.

I was all over the genre map this year. I read classic science fiction like Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke and The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin. I read superhero novels (including my own book!), graphic novels, literary fiction, women's fiction, steampunk, nonfiction, memoir, historical fiction, paranormal fantasy, and horror. Looking back on my year in books is like making a list of friends I've made or journeys I've taken. I am the richer for the experiences.

2016 was rough in a lot of ways. But it was a good year for reading at least! What did you read this year? What do you want to read next year?


  1. You definitely smashed the challenge! Very impressive - I didn't take part this year, but I'm sure I didn't read anywhere near as many. Yes, indie authors do deserve more respect, especially with the amount of work that goes in. The stories are usually as good as or better than those that are traditionally published, they just might not fit a publisher's mould.

    1. Thanks. I'm a happier person when I read more, but time is always the struggle. I agree that indie books are often more risk taking and innovative.

  2. Congratulations! I made mine 52 as well, and seem to be heading towards 66 - more than any other year, and without the excuse of someone to read to! We only have one cover in common, but you have three I want to read and one I've read, plus one our bookclub read and I didn't fit in!
    Have fun with next year's challenge.

  3. What a great accomplishment! I now have a whole pile of new books to add to my TBR! Happy New Year!