Books and Reading 2016

Don’t you love end-of-year recaps of what other people have been reading? I do! That’s why I’m sharing mine.

I used to be a book-blogger wanna-be, but I abandoned that idea. I’m too indifferent a “blogger” (term used in the loosest sense of the word) to be anything other than “occasional.” But I did like having a record of all my reading, and now I keep that in my bullet journal. (Yes, I am card-carrying member of that club–two years and counting.)

Just for fun, here are my year-end stats and the best titles of the year. My grand total is 33 books finished this year. I have a couple more in progress, but they will not be completed this year.

Of the 33, 9 were non-fiction, and 24 were fiction. Thirty-three is a low number–probably one of the lowest ever. I consider averaging a book per week kind of a minimum standard, but I fell far short of that this year, even if I give myself half-credit for books-in-progress.

Of the 24 fiction, a whopping 13 were rereads. This has a lot to do with the fact that I was away from home for over three months, traveling a lot, and I had my Kindle library with me.

Of the 9 non-fiction, 2 of them were re-reads (You will not be surprised when I tell you the re-reads were Comenius and Charlotte Mason–hence, the blog series.)

So, choosing only from the books that were new for me this year, my top 5 non-fiction books (in no particular order)

  1. Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins

If you are a mom, do not miss Mere Motherhood. If you want some insight into written narration, I recommend the Zinsser book. I am a Sire fan, and reading this book gave me an appreciation for John Newman. King Solomon’s Ring is a delightful living science/nature book written by an Austrian naturalist. It will be the most fun if you live in Europe and have jackdaws about; however, not all the chapters are about jackdaws, and it is a worthwhile read for anyone. If you follow Charlotte Mason’s methods with highschoolers, this would be a great pick.

And my top 5 fiction books (also in no particular order)

I have nothing to say about these that hasn’t been said elsewhere, I am sure. I am years behind other readers, and not up to date with the latest titles by my favorite authors. If you haven’t read Edith Wharton yet, Bunner Sisters should not be your first pick. It’s achingly sad (typical Wharton), but The House of Mirth remains my favorite, I think.

Looking over my reading for the last couple of years, I am also making plans for 2017. I must plan, or I’ll end up reading deplorable titles on the spur of the moment. Of the 24 fiction books I read in 2016, two of them were absolutely awful, and I don’t have time to waste on awful, while another half-dozen were merely mediocre, and I’m not interested in mediocre, either.

I’m not planning the whole year, but to start with my top-picks for 2017 are:


(Oddly enough, these are all translations–from Russian, Japanese, and Spanish. Further titles will be English originals, maybe something from E.M. Forster and hopefully the Pulitzer winner All the Light We Cannot See)


1. (reread)

2. (reread)


And I’m in the middle of Essays on Educational Reformers by Robert Quick, so I’ll be finishing that. I would also like to read Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton and/or Roots Of American Order by Russell Kirk. And it would be lovely to squeeze in something by Jacques Barzun, but have you noticed that a year has only 12 months in it? We’ll see how it goes!

If you’ve something to recommend that you think I’d like, I’m all ears–hit me with some great titles, and I’ll be happy to take a look at them.

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2 thoughts on “Books and Reading 2016

  1. I love these kind of lists! The Age of Innocence was the first Edith Wharton novel I read, and I have House of Mirth on my TBR for 2017. Glad to hear it’s a good one. I’ll be reading Brothers Karamazov with you (on the AO forums). Silence keeps popping up everywhere, but I haven’t paid attention. Will have a peek to see what that’s about.

    1. I am tickled to hear you are finally going to read Manso. Galdós observed and loved children. His books are rich universes where nature vs nurture, education, character are explored through stories.
      I plan to read Brothers Karamazov and Silence too.

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