Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 in books!

In 2016 I read 80 books!  What a great way to spend a year :)  I spent a huge amount of effort moving all my books over from Shelfari to Goodreads and in the process I tweaked my tagging process to have a better sense of what I'm reading.  Here's what I learned about my reading this year, based on my tags:

I read 76% fiction and 24% non-fiction

54% of the books I read were read on my kindle
16% of the books I read were actual paper books that I own
15% of the books I read were listened to in audiobook form
15% of the books I read were books I got from my library

I rated 11 books 5 stars!  That's a lot more than last year's four :)

A dark, dystopian tale of a solider and a spy - super fast paced in a Roman-like world 
(part 1 in a series).

I think he would've totally convinced me to commit treason.

This fantastical look at the life of Lady Jane Grey had me laughing out loud - I highly recommend the audiobook.

If you are a fan of this musical like I am, this is a MUST read - not only do you get the entire libretto but all the background, his notes, pictures.  It's fabulous.

So many good ideas in here, things that actually made my life easier.

From my review: "As someone who rarely, if ever, picks up a book with the death of a young girl at its core, Everything I Never Told You engaged me with its gentle yet painful quest to peel back the layers of a family...The one major drawback, of course, is that it is only ever sad. People make poor choices, completely misunderstand each other and make very regrettable mistakes. Blatant or underhanded racism and misogyny is painful to read about. A daughter is dead. With a fifteen year old daughter myself, I had a lot to sort through in my own emotions and choices, and that isn't particularly comfortable either. Despite these hard things, or maybe because of them, the book gets five stars from me because it stretched me and makes me want to live my life a little more kindly and deliberately. Five stars for the almost poetic prose and a conclusion that, while not full of sunshine and rainbows, felt right and redemptive enough to be satisfying. note: language and some mild sexual encounters"

from my review: "Sometimes you listen to a series of books that entertain in their own way but it feels episodic and choppy.  And then sometimes you find a gem of a series that is truly just one long story - The Harry Potter Series and The Daughter of Smoke and Bone come to mind.  At the beginning its as though a thousand piece puzzle was thrown onto the floor by one of my three year old sons.  And slowly pieces begin to be put together, things that astound and amaze, ideas that feel right and true and powerful, things just FIT, things you hadn't imagined - pieces from past and present that rearrange and reconnect to make the future possible.  By the end of your puzzle-venture you stand back and are so pleased with the overall picture, how every little detail fit into the whole. " Yeah.  These books are like that.  Not QUITE as amazing as HP and DOSAB but close.  There is magic, romance and adventure in a historical setting.  I HIGHLY recommend the audio.

This is a story about two broken teens, one with significant mental illness, one struggling with an incredible loss. It's also about suicide and while not everyone wants to read about it, the reality is that people DO commit suicide - I lost a close friend to suicide after high school - and it is important to have books to help us process the loss.  This is an incredible and beautifully written story.  Warning: language and teen sex (not graphic).

from my review: "This is an incredibly readable story, a tale of not only disease investigation but also social history and the personalities of a doctor and a priest that used creativity and critical thinking to turn a stack of statistics and narratives into a defined path of contagion.   We also spend time learning about urban sprawl itself, it's benefits and shortfalls, how millions of people living in proximately to each other can affect our health.  Yes, it's nasty. We are talking about cholera: waste and filth and people who are living in the actual dung heaps of London life.  But it was reality for generations of people and their lives deserve to be documented.  As a history and a mystery, this story is at the literal heart of modern-day epidemiology and I was fascinated."

And also, I didn't give these books five stars because they have some minor flaws, but, oh MAN did I love the Winner's Triology.  I gulped them up like a freezing cold Diet Coke on a hot day.  Please do not judge them by their covers.  The covers make me sad because they give you absolutely NO sense of how awesomely intricate and dark these books are. They look like they'd be trashy and dumb.  They aren't.  They are about war and figuring out how far you're willing to go for the greater good and how does one go about rewriting your own schema of right and wrong?  Plus, fabulous romance and intriguing secondary characters.  

Oh friends.  BOOKS.  I just don't know how to not always be reading a book. One of the best parts of the new year is looking forward to whatever gems I find next.  If you have a recommendation I always love when people pass on what they like!!

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