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
Non Fiction: 42
Graphic Novels: 7
French (France): 2
My Own Books: 23
Library Books: 103
Review Copies: 28
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.