Well, Christmas has come and gone, and it’s been a truly lovely one here for our family. My son is five, and he is still at a sweet age to believe in Santa and the magic of Christmas, and not too cool yet to sing carols with his family on Christmas Eve while Dada plays guitar. (He still calls my husband Dada. We’re hanging on to that as long as we can!) Our parents are all still healthy and with us, and even though they’re long divorced, my mom and dad get along well enough to spend Christmas Day with us at my in-laws house. I’ve had some days off and return to work tomorrow. My family has baked and listened to Christmas CDs and watched The Charlie Brown Christmas Special and drove around looking at lights. We’ve done all the holiday things we love to do, including reading lots of Christmas picture books! It’s been so sweet and I really feel grateful.
That said, I’ve not done a lot of reading the past few weeks, and I’ve done even less blogging. But I feel the desire for both returning, and I’m super excited about my reading plans for 2017!
But before I get to that post, I need to take stock of my reading for 2016. So without further ado, here’s the Big Reading Life Best Of List!
- (TIE) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and The Book of Night Women by Marlon James. Both novels deal with slavery – James’s book is set in Jamaica on a sugar cane plantation, while Gyasi’s spans continents and centuries. Both illuminate the horror of slavery in ways I’d never even considered before. Both are stunning.
- Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. A memoir as open and vulnerable, but also as joyful and hilarious, as The Boss himself. I truly appreciated Springsteen’s willingness to call out his own bullshit while not “telling tales” about others. I especially loved the sections in his childhood and young adulthood. I love this guy.
- Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt. Weird, sad, and hauntingly romantic. I haven’t been able to forget about this one all year.
- Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Words fail me here. Utterly magical.
- The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. This kind of book is my catnip anyway – multiple perspective family saga! Rich People Problems! But I was wholly invested in these messed-up, authentic characters. Truly a standout of its type.
- March Books One and Two by John Lewis. While I haven’t yet read the third in the series, I am wholly taken with the first two. They’ve shown me the power that a graphic novel can have to illuminate and educate.
- Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Quietly devastating and powerful coming of age story in Nigeria. So glad I finally read it.
- Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. So. Much. Fun. Romance and gothic intrigue, a respectful but liberated take on Jane Eyre. It’s not for everyone, but I just adored it.
- Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. A surprise love for me this year. Something about this novel just hooked me and didn’t let go even as I could see its flaws.
Goodreads tells me that I completed 80 books this year. Of these 21 were by authors of color, which is about 26%. Not quite as high as I’d intended at the beginning of the year, but an improvement on last year. More stats:
Audiobooks: 4 (Interestingly, all were nonfiction.)
Graphic Novels/Comics: 14 (the most I’ve ever read!)
Nonfiction: 20 (8 were memoirs.)
Middle Grade: 3
Rereads: 4 (an unusually high number for me)
Fun Fact: The only YA titles I read all year were all comics/graphic novels!
So there you have it. It’s been a very good reading year. I began the year participating in a reading challenge (the TBR Triple Dog Dare) and ended the year rereading a trio of books, apparently seeking comfort (Little Women, Murder on the Orient Express, Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies, which I’m still reading.) I’ve been thinking about my reading goals for weeks now, and am really excited to share them in my next post.
I hope you all had/are having very Happy Holidays! Have you met your reading goals for this year, or made progress towards them? What was your standout book for 2016? Have you read any of my top ten?