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

Authors

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)

2015's Weird Random Stat - Books with a Number in the Title: 11

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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... ;)


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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.


  

9 comments:

  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.

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    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 :)

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  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!

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

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

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

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  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!

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    1. Happy New Year to you, too!

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

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

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Thanks for stopping by ~ I hope you will leave your comments and reflections to let me know what you think!