Thursday, December 29, 2016

What I've Read: 100 Books in 2016

2016 is almost at a close, and it's certainly been a year filled with challenges and change!

Aside from the nitty-gritty, more difficult personal stuff: I started a new position at work, started a blog covering my witchcraft practice, and published more this year than any previous, excluding 2010, but those were all unpaid. This year? All paid gigs. I'm working for free no longer!

I started training myself in reading Tarot cards. I dabbled in brushing up on my French. I started practicing yoga and keeping a day planner (hey, no achievement is too small)!

I'm proud of myself for having reached my goal of 100 books. It's been a busy, messy, wonderful, challenging time!

Here's a round-up of my favorite books from the year:

Favorite Book Published in 2016:

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch!

As I wrote in my post on this book, I don't usually read in the sci-fi/sci-fi thriller genre, but I'd heard so much hype about this book and was so intrigued by its description that I snapped it up from Blogging for Books as soon as I could. The twists in the plot, its philosophical themes, and its mysterious tone all made this one of the books published in 2016 that I enjoyed the most. I highly recommend it to one and all.

Favorite Classic Book:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte!

I don't know if it's possible for a classic to be underrated, but when I'd signed up for the BerkeleyX Book Club through EdX, I'd fully expected to find the book to be boring. Instead, it was a beautiful Gothic meditation on identity, loneliness, and love - as well as self-preservation, class division, and secrecy. It quickly became one of my favorites of all time.

Favorite Nonfiction Book:
A tie between A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit and Upstream by Mary Oliver.

Mary Oliver is definitely an American national treasure, whether it's through her poetry, scholarship, or nonfiction writing - check out my thoughts on Upstream here. Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost was the first book I'd read in 2016, and it was a beautiful meditation on wandering and being lost, interspersed with history and memoir. 

Favorite Poetry Book:
Trebuchet by Danniel Schoonebeek!

I posted my review of Schoonebeek's Trebuchet here, but it's certainly worth talking about again. I read a lot of truly amazing poetry this year (a cursory glance through this blog will tell you as much) and will read hopefully even more next year, but Trebuchet remains my favorite of them all. Stark, experimental, and deftly observational, this book is poetry truly perfect for the times we live in.

Favorite Shakespeare:

Measure for Measure! Yes, the Bard gets his own category - I don't call myself a Shakespeare fangirl for nothing!

Not only is Measure for Measure my favorite Shakespeare play that I've read in 2016, but it's one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, ever, ranking with tragedies like Macbeth and Titus Andronicus and the sole other comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream. (As You Like It is pretty okay, too).

A dark comedy, this play features executions, dick jokes, and contemplation on morality and mortality both - a 'problem play', to be sure!

Favorite Young Adult Book:

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero!

I'm not a Mexican-American teenage girl, but this book still read as true to an essential part of the teenage experience. Sure, some plot points are a little over-the-top, but the voice of this narrative nonetheless makes it believable, fresh, and engaging. It's also a rare moment of a book containing diagetic poetry written by the narrator wherein the poetry is just as enjoyable as the prose.

                                                               Favorite Horror Book:

The Troop by Nick Cutter!

I had to distinguish this book from other books read this year, since this is also the category I write in - I didn't want to include anything published by myself or my friends! I also read The Shining for the first time this year, but figured handing it to Stephen King would be a cop-out. Everyone knows that The Shining is scary.

Anyway, I made the mistake of reading this body-horror book on my lunch breaks. At work. In a hospital cafeteria.

Suffice it to say that I still can't eat roast beef sandwiches without thinking of the visceral horror of isolation, starvation, and parasites.

Other Books I Read and Was Surprised to Enjoy:

The Hobbit! A Study in Scarlet! Gone Girl!

And with that, we bid my 2016 Reading Challenge adieu! May the new year find you merry!

1 comment:

  1. I've never read 100 books in a year. I got close in 2016, though! I set my goal to 90 in 2017 but hope to surpass it.
    It's great that you're only working paid gigs now. You deserve it!

    Dark Matter definitely has me interested. I love the multiverse theory and SFF novels, so I'm probably going to read it sometime in 2017. And omg, your pick for favorite YA made me smile big! Gabi was such a good story. <3