What was your year in reading like?
I know a lot of my bookish friends tend to describe their year in reading by how many books they read — and I do that too — but that still doesn’t say much about your year in reading, like what you were actually reading in those 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, etc. books you read over the course of 2016.
And, so to that end, I thought I’d recap my year in reading –a lot of which did not end up on the blog — and you could share your year in reading in the comments.
Note: not all of the books I mention are available in the library, but we can certainly try to get them for you through ILL if you’re interested!
Of course, our 2016 Library Challenge did dominate a lot of my reading and certainly led to quite a few of my choices. However, I wasn’t always a model citizen about it. I finished the challenge, but I noticed I tended to do it in chunks. I’d spend some months where I’d read several books related to the challenge and then I’d sometimes follow up with another month or two where I didn’t read anything that counted toward it.
I think a large part of that is because I tend to be a binger when it comes to my entertainment. I’ll get interested in a topic — and it could be anything from ancient Rome to World War II to Victorian gothic novels — and it will pretty much dictate all of my reading and viewing for weeks at a time.
I just go with it because it’s hard for me to work up much interest in unrelated things during that time period and also because I know that, inevitably, something else will soon pique my interest. And then I’ll abandon whatever I was so obsessed with for some other topic and so it goes. A lot of them are recurring obsessions (like Russian history or World War I and II), so I end up working my way back around to them every couple years.
This was also the first year in a long time where I wasn’t in school and actually had free time to read, so I ended up finally catching up with things that most people read a long time ago.
To that end, I read the Harry Potter series, the Game of Thrones series, and the first book of the Outlander series this year. I noticed in all of those books that at least 1 character has one of their mother’s former suitors hanging around, either being helpful or creepy or both helpful and creepy. I’ve started to suspect that since I don’t have any of my mother’s former suitors hanging around being helpful or creepy that I am not a character in a major fantasy franchise.
I think my biggest find of the year was finally getting around to reading Hilary Mantel. I read 3 of her historical fiction books and really loved her work. Now, I am stuck waiting around for the next book in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy. Ordinarily, I’d be pretty mad about having to wait indefinitely, but I enjoyed her writing so much that I’m okay with it.
I also particularly enjoyed reading Brooks Blevins’s Ghost of the Ozarks, a historical true crime story. Even better, I got to meet him and hear him talk about the book twice this year (once at Books in Bloom and once at our library) and even got a signed copy of the book from him.
As I’ve mentioned on here before, I am an avid mystery reader, so I sampled one series that is new to me — Rennie Airth’s John Madden series — and nearly read all of the Jussi Adler Olsen’s Carl Mørck series (I just lack 1!). I also revisited an old favorite — Agatha Christie — by reading several of her oldest books. It was interesting to watch her style evolve as she found her own niche and sense of self.
I also sampled manga for the first time with Death Note and Shaman King. And I revisited a couple of favorite humorists who pair their work with illustrations in Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half and Kate Beaton’s Hark! a Vagrant.
Earlier this year, I talked about how one of my jobs for the library is co-moderating our tween book club. In addition to the books I outlined there, I read several other books for the club, with my favorites that didn’t make the list being Appleblossom the Possum and City of Ember.
In the course of 2016, I also either reread some books I’d read before — Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, James Howe’s Bunnicula, Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels — and also got to read some books I’d never read before from authors I’ve enjoyed in the past, like Louise Erdrich’s LaRose, Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Towers, and Truman Capote’s The Thanksgiving Visitor.
I love history, so I always find time for it. I read some random historical stuff that I didn’t really enjoy toward the beginning of the year (about messy historical breakups and Presidential assassinations), but I also went on research binges about Soviet criminal prison tattoos and am ending the year with a reading binge about the American Civil War and American West.
But a big part of my reading year has been reading books that were suggested to me, by friends, coworkers, library patrons, blog readers, and also random people I’ve encountered on the internet. I covered a lot of those books in reviews, and the books that are suggested to me always end up among some of my favorites any given year because it’s usually stuff I never would have been aware of to begin with or that I may have delayed reading until someone emphatically told me that, yes, it was worth my time.
So, thanks to all of you for helping make 2016 a great year for reading! 🙂
What was your year in reading like? How many books did you read this year? Do you have a goal for how many books you want to read in a year? What’s on your reading list for 2017? Tell us in the comments!