I love seeing people’s yearly reading lists. And, as a co-worker and I agreed on, time is really best measured by the books you’ve read. There are not nearly as many as I would have like to have read. However, at the beginning of the year, I felt like I’d never have me-time again, so the fact that I read recreationally at all makes me okay with this amount. And then there’s the fact that I started this blog and a small business and have yet to really figure out how to divvy up my time between all these things.
This list doesn’t count roadtrip audiobooks since I half-listened, half-attempted to appease a crying baby during those. It doesn’t count short stories or poetry or the ten books I started and never finished. (For some reason I feel like I’m trapped in a never-ending cycle of starting The Little Oratory, reading twenty pages, putting it down in favor of something else, and starting the process over again a month or two later. Haalp!)
Anyway, here we go. 2016 in books:
Kristin Lavransdatter: a friend put out a facebook status asking if anyone wanted to form a bookclub to read this with some class notes on the book from one of our college professors. Naturally, lots of us jumped on board. It was such a good read during the winter. Such a good read for having a newborn and having just become a mother for first time and thinking about changing roles and vocations and whatnot.
Till We Have Faces: I can’t believe this was the first time I’d read this, but I really loved it. I loved how Lewis married the archetypal style of a myth with the very personal nature of a novel. It was so rich symbolically, psychologically, spiritually–I’ve already marked it down to reread in the future.
The Death of Ivan Ilyich: technically a novella but damn it, if a read a Tolstoy cover to cover, it’s going on the list. And it really is worth it to give your time over to these sixty pages. I’m always in favor of writing that makes me contemplate my own mortality.
All the Light We Cannot See: for the most unpopular vote in the room…I was pretty meh about this one. It was just a stylistic thing, not a plot thing. I kind of felt like I was reading a film script instead of great prose.
The Remains of the Day: Ishiguro writes so finely, so subtly, and reveals so much more than he outright says.
Village Diary: sweet and sassy and British to the bone. You can never go wrong with Miss Read.
Trains and Lovers: I really liked this one or at least the parts that I did like, I really liked. It was thoughtful and understated and kept me interested from start to finish.
The Temperament God Gave You: ugh yes. I needed to read this. Lots of slapping-hand-to-head moments where I realized this is why I react certain ways to things (for good or for worse) and how best to motivate myself to do things. This should be required reading for marriage prep.
What Mothers Do Especially When it Looks Like Nothing: Katherine, who is a book fairy godmother and whose blog is my best internet find of 2016, sent me this after I expressed interest in it, and now I want to send it to all my friends who are new mothers. At our last bookclub meeting, a friend mentioned a quote (I don’t remember who from) that most of salvation history was brought about by ordinary people living their ordinary lives. And that immediately brought me back to this book all about the ordinary but complex, intimate but exhausting, repetitive but ever-new and important work of raising babies.
The Catholic Catalogue: my review here. I’ve read most of this but not cover-to-cover. It’s not that kind of book though, but it is the kind of book that will make your home happier and your faith richer.
A happy New Year’s Eve to you all! May 2017 be filled with good cheer and good books!