My Year in Books: 2016

This year was a horrible one by any stretch of the word, of course. In these past few weeks since the sham of an election we had, books have been my saving grace; one of two things that've kept me afloat, kept me sane. (The other is parenthood which, with all its tedium and chores and capacity for awe and joy, keeps me grounded and reminds me what we need to fight for, and why.)

There's nothing groundbreaking about saying books save people but that doesn't make it any less true. So I am grateful, again and eternally, for all the people who work to put books out in the world: the writers, the editors, the marketers, the printers, the designers, the publicists, the many many teams that help produce a single book. Thank you for distracting me, for inspiring me, for pushing me forward.

And 2016 wasn't ALL terrible; just the whole of it. We bought a house and I am in love with it, still. I got pregnant again (our boy is coming any week now...). I watched my daughter turn into the sweetest, funniest, smartest two year old you've ever seen. I re-established an old friendship that I missed. I learned, I grew, I loved. And I read.

Here are the books I read in 2016, in approximately the order I read them:

  1. My Brilliant Friend by Elana Ferrante
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  3. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine
  4. Spinster by Kate Bolick
  5. The Clasp by Sloane Crosley
  6. The Witches by Stacy Schiff
  7. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
  8. Food Whore by Jessica Tom
  9. The Forgotten Room by Beatriz Williams, Karen White, Lauren Willig
  10. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  11. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  13. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  14. Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook
  15. The Mermaid's Sister by Carrie Anne Noble
  16. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
  17. How to Be Bad by Lauren Myracle, Sarah Mylnowski and Emily Jenkins
  18. The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
  19. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
  20. Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle
  21. Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson
  22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  23. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
  24. Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle by Katie Coyle
  25. American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Life of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales
  26. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2 by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
  27. Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
  28. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
  29. The Diviners by Libba Bray
  30. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
  31. The After Party by Anton DiSclafani
  32. A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
  33. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
  34. The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
  35. Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam
  36. Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
  37. Tumbling by Caela Carter
  38. Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford
  39. You Will Know Me by Megan Abbot
  40. The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close
  41. Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
  42. Shadow House by Dan Poblocki
  43. Act Like It by Lucy Parker
  44. The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
  45. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
  46. Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
  47. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
  48. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
  49. Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
  50. The Lottery's Plus One by Emma Donoghue
  51. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
  52. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
  53. Songs Without Words by Ann Patchett
Some of my favorites of the year.

Some of my favorites of the year.

I had several stops and starts this year (and every year), with books I just couldn't get into after 50 pages or so. And obviously, this list doesn't include the hundreds of books I've read to my kid, or the Baby-sitters Club titles I still pick up when I need some soothing. Too, it doesn't include readings of my husband's drafts.

Of this list, my favorites include The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, Sweetbitter, Eligible, Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, The Lottery's Plus One, Commonwealth, and Today Will Be Different.

All told, I read 53 books, with 21 of them classified as YA or Middle Grade and 6 classified as nonfiction (which may be a record for me!). 

I used NPR's Book Concierge to get started on my list of books to read in 2017. I'll be on maternity leave for the first half of the year which, if it's anything like my first maternity leave, means I won't get much reading done for a while. But here's to hoping. Now more than ever, we need books.

Happy holidays and Happy New Year.