What kind of nerd are you? I guess I’m a bunch of different types. Like, I’m a music nerd for sure and a bit of a Star Wars nerd and I guess maybe a vampire nerd if that’s a thing. It should be a thing. But at my core I’m a book nerd. I not only keep track of the books I read each year, I also participate in the Goodreads challenge and give myself little yearly assignments. I am my own professor each year and I freaking love it. The power! The little tweed blazers! So, yeah, I love reading and therefore I love this yearly post. I get to pick my 10 favorites, set goals for the next calendar year and give you guys recommendations. (If you couldn’t tell, I also love being bossy.) For even more recommendations, check out these lists from years past: 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012.
My reading goals for 2016 were to reread the whole Harry Potter series (check!), read Catch-22 (check check) and all of Hemingway’s short stories (no check). I got about a third of the way through the giant book of short stories and gave up. I was all, “I’ll for sure do this later,” but then I never did it later. Oops. The book started to blend into my coffee table even though it was roughly the size of a fat house cat and it lived there forgotten for months while I read tons of other stuff right in front of it! Poor fat cat book. Oh well. I’ll do better this year. Also, Re: Harry Potter: I’m not including any rereads in this list but even though it’s not on the list, yes, it was as wonderful as I remembered, yes, I loved it and yes, I’m still in that one black and green Hogwarts house. Snape forever.
In 2016, I read 70 books (one down from 2015) so picking 10 was hard but I DID IT, Y’ALL. TEN POINTS TO SLYTHERIN. (To see the full list, here is my Goodreads challenge.) Without further ado and stuff, here are the Top 10 Books I Read In 2016. Whoop!
- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin: Upon finishing this sweet, magical and clever little book, I immediately Instagrammed it and told everyone to read it ASAP. So maybe you already did. But if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. I laughed, I cried, I fist-pumped with joy.
- Slade House by David Mitchell: I bought this book at Powell’s in Portland because I thought it looked cool and Powell’s in Portland just makes you want to buy everything. After I started reading it, I found out that several of my friends were either currently reading it or had just read (and loved) it. I can see why we were all drawn to it. It’s creepy, fascinating and structured in an interesting way. I couldn’t put it down.
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman: I’ve been on a Neil Gaiman kick ever since I read The Graveyard Book and The Ocean at the End of the Lane last year. Out of the three Gaiman books I read this year, American Gods is by far my favorite. It’s sweeping, funny and irreverent, combining mythology with modern fantasy. And, guess what, they’re making a TV series out of it!
- Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Trilogy by Ransom Riggs: You might say putting a whole trilogy as one number on this list is cheating and you’d be right but guess what? This is my list SO THERE. I inhaled these little books. I liked them so much that I sent a set to my nephew for Christmas. So fun and so neat how the author used real vintage (creepy af) photos and crafted a story around them.
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert: I desperately need books like this every once in a while and Elizabeth Gilbert’s voice feels like a wise older sister slapping some sense into me in the best possible way. She uses humor and wisdom to calmly make the case for creativity for creativity’s sake. I found it really inspiring.
- Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins: I’m so lucky I have bossy book friends to tell me what to read. (Thanks, Drew!) I really liked this book! It’s beautiful and moody and dark, sort-of post apocalyptic and tragic with a dash of magic, just like I like it. The book is also set in California, which I loved so much for obvious reasons.
- Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple: This was another recommendation (Shout out to my reading pal, Kim!) that I ended up loving. I think I read it in one sitting on a flight. Bernadette is a relatable quirky mess and you’ll love her as much as I did.
- Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa: I was writing YA in 2016 so I made sure to read some too. This poignant book was my favorite. I fell so deeply in love with the characters that I was sad to leave them and thought about them for weeks after.
- The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness: Oops I trilogy-ed again. I brought the first of these with me to Maui this summer and got so into it that I had to buy the second one on my Kindle because I couldn’t bear not starting it right away. It has everything good: witches, vampires and a mysterious book. A very good way to spend a vacation.
- Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes: It’s no secret that I adore Shonda Rhimes and Year of Yes did not disappoint. Her voice is just as delightful on the page as on-screen and I thought it was inspiring and cool. This book may have even been responsible for me actually looking at my Facebook invites last year. I mean, most of them. Some. Some of them.
Honorable Mentions (Loved these but didn’t have enough spaces ugh): Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Modern Lovers by Emma Straub, Slash by Slash (yes really) and The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.
And that, dudes, is my list. 2016 wasn’t the best year in general (hahaha understatement) but reading-wise it kicked ass. This year my goal is to read 75 books. On the list are: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami and to reread It by Stephen King, which is a very fat book that I doubt will blend into the coffee table. I also have a stack of self-help type books I want to tackle. Ahhhh! I can’t wait.
Cheers and Happy Reading in 2017, lovely people!