Saturday, December 31, 2016

Best of the Year, 2016

Already time for the yearly roundup of some of the best reads this year. I always wait until the very last possible moment to post my list; you never know what you'll come across around Christmas! I like to give every book I've read this year a chance to appear on my favourites list, no matter if I read it in the first week of January or the last few days of December.

I also create a statistical summary each year, mostly for my own geekish pleasure. As I've said before, I don't think of reading as a competition -- I keep track of numbers and various stats for my own interest, not to prove anything or compare myself to anyone. 

Here are my reading stats for 2016:

 Total Reading: 154


Female: 129
Male: 24
Nonbinary: 1

Genre etc.

Fiction: 99
Non Fiction: 42
Poetry: 6
Graphic Novels: 7

In translation: 

French (Quebecois):12
French (France): 2
Inuktitut: 2
Italian: 1
Catalan: 1

My Own Books: 23
Library Books: 103

Review Copies: 28

Rereads: 3
E-reads: 7

Author who I read the most from: Mary Burchell (3)

2016's Weird Random Stat - Books with a Number in the Title: 11


And now on to my favourite reads of this year!

I found quite a few great novels this year, all of which I liked for their powerful writing, great characters, beautiful settings, or just for their sense of fun. All of these are my personal favourites of the year -- I've chosen them because I personally enjoyed and/or admired them. 

1. Crosstalk / Connie Willis
This entertaining new novel was one of my rereads this year even though it only came out in October. I read it twice in prepub and then again when it came out in paper. So much fun!

2. Five Roses / Alice Zorn
Set in Montreal, this novel has a lot of my favourite things in it: baking, fibre arts, Montreal, and a large cast of characters who are connected in more ways than they know. A great discovery.

3. Do Not Say We Have Nothing / Madeleine Thien
When I first read this sweeping family saga of classical musicians swept up by the Cultural Revolution, I said it was one of the best of the year already. I haven't changed my mind - it has won numerous awards this year, and it is a spectacular read.

4. Memoria / Louise Dupré
I finally read this long time resident of my bookshelves, and the story of a Montreal translator getting over a romantic breakup and moving on is much more than it sounds like. Gorgeous writing. Loved it.

5. Serial Monogamy / Kate Taylor
A mix of perspectives on marriage; from the contemporary central story to the serial novel that the main character is telling about Dickens and his famous mistress, it all slots together beautifully. This one is a bit of a sleeper that I haven't seen much talk about this year, but I think it deserves more attention.

6. The Spawning Grounds / Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Set in the Shuswap region of B.C., this tale of two families facing their past history,  dual cultures, and a river spirit was a very rapid read.

7. The Hidden Keys / Andre Alexis
A fun and entertaining mystery-adventure tale, which evokes a visceral sense of Toronto as place in addition to the plot's Treasure Island quest inspiration.


There was also some noteworthy poetry this year:

8. The Pillow Book / Suzanne Buffam
I loved the way this book mixed up form, and took inspiration from Sei Shonagon, and made it all spectacular.

9. Standard Candles / Alice Major
One of my favourite poet-essayists, Major had another wonderful poetry collection out this year, and I really enjoyed it. Her mixture of poetics and science hits all the right notes for me. 

Then there were a few good nonfiction titles that caught me:

10. In-Between Days / Teva Harrison

This graphic novel/memoir about her cancer diagnosis and life afterward is powerful, honest, and an unforgettable read.

11. The Tomboy Survival Guide / Ivan Coyote
A collection of personal essays that are warm, funny, honest and very timely. Highly recommended. 

12. The Name Therapist / Duana Taha
This very light and entertaining book all about names and how they affect us was so enjoyable to read - I ended up sharing it with many friends as we all laughed about waiting to hear our names mentioned on Romper Room... ;)


And there were so many more enjoyable reads this year. I hope you've all had an equally good year, at least in terms of our reading. Let's hope we all find some inspiring and uplifting reads in 2017.



  1. It's great to find another Canadian blogger, and one who likes to read non-fiction too. I haven't read any on your list but Memoria caught my eye since it's set in Montreal where I live.

    1. Oh, there are so many great Montreal books! (Five Roses, on this list, is also a Mtl read) I used to live downtown at Atwater, so love reading about Montreal as well :)

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful post, Melwyk! I've read many of your review posts, and am interested in reading many of the books you've enjoyed. Have a happy and safe New Year's!

    1. And to you, Suko! Have a wonderful New Year's

  3. I really need to read Madeleine Thien. I have heard of her, but never checked anything out by her before!

    1. I'm really glad I read her this year. What a great book.

  4. What a great reading year. I also enjoy keeping stats just to see where my reading has taken me. I love your "weird" bookish stat :)

    Wishing you a Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year to you, too!

      And there's always something weird about one's reading to share ;)

  5. A good year! I hope 2017 is off to a roaring start! Happy New Year!


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