I legitimately look forward to writing this post every year - such a fun chance to look back and remember all the books I've read in the past year, and get my gears moving towards what books I want to read this time around! There were a lot of great titles this year, both classic and otherwise, so without further ado, let's get reading!
Books I Read In 2016
1. SHOW YOUR WORK by Austin Kleon - I read this book in one sitting during the first week of January and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd recommend it to all creatives, of every type. (Steal Like An Artist should be read first though.)
2. THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE by Thomas Hardy - Not my favorite.
3. HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad - This book was...interesting. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't my favorite either. A bit too dark for me, perhaps (and I like dark stuff).
4. PROSPERITY AND POVERTY by E. Calvin Beisner - It's not a light read, but I learned a lot from it and enjoyed doing so.
5. THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING by J. R. R. Tolkien - This was a re-read for my British Literature class, and I must say: I loved this book so much more the second time! It was already a favorite of mine, but I felt like I just sped through it so much faster this time (probably because of enforced deadlines - ha!) and still gleaned even more from this classic fantasy novel.
6. OSCAR WILDE'S WIT + WISDOM edited by Dover Thrift Books - Just a lot of fun and nonsense, really, but hilarious and sobering in turns. I don't normally go for quotes books, but this was easy to read one hour on a rainy afternoon. (And yeah, okay, it was assigned too.)
7. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by Oscar Wilde - OH my WORD. This play is a must-read if you have any interest in classic literature. Hilarious, in the best British-style.
8. LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding - Still not sure if I loved this book or hated it, to be honest with you. It was so well written, and rich with symbolism! But it was also quite grotesque. So I don't know.
9. PERELANDRA by C. S. Lewis - Absolutely LOVED this one. If you haven't read C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy yet, what are you waiting for??
10. YEAR OF NO SUGAR by Eve O. Schaub - I learned so much, commiserated with so many of the struggles and just plain laughed while reading this book. It was actually the reason I decided to continue eating sugar-free after Lent (and am still *mostly* to this day!)
11. 1984 by George Orwell- Because it is really the father of all the dystopian novels we see on the market today, I respect 1984. Because it was incredibly insightful, especially for it's time, I give it all the kudos. Because it drew me in and made me love the characters, I even loved it. But the ending just killed me, and there was no sort of catharsis. Which I suppose is kind of the point, but still - it hurt.
12. PYGMALION by George Bernard Shaw - I think My Fair Lady tells the same story better, and in less time.
13. A GRIEF OBSERVED by C. S. Lewis - I wept and mourned and recovered and grew, right along with Lewis in this one, and all in the space of two afternoons. Possibly the best - the most accurate - piece on grief I've ever read.
14. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PENNY CANDY by Richard J. Maybury - All in all I felt like I didn't really learn much from this book, which was disappointing, and the cluttered layout irritated me to the point where I felt like it could have been any book, and still I wouldn't have been able to enjoy it.
15. THE CODE OF THE WOOSTERS by P. G. Wodehouse - This was my first Wodehouse, and I loved it! I'd love to dive into more of his clever, humorous style this year - any recommendations?
16. THE TWO TOWERS by J. R. R. Tolkien - This is supposedly the most dull of the Lord of the Rings series, but I found it equal in interest to The Fellowship of the Ring. Now I need to start The Return of the King...
17. YES, PLEASE by Amy Poehler - I learned so much about the world of comedy, and the world of show-writing in general from this book! What I wasn't so impressed by was her careless attitude towards drugs presented in the biography...I just felt she could have been a better example, especially considering her large audience of young women. But that's just my 2 cents.
18. THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah - A sweet historical fiction novel set in Paris during World War II. I enjoyed this one during our beach trip this year.
19. THE ABC MURDERS by Agatha Christie - One of the best I've read! I love a good Poirot mystery, especially since until I discovered this one, I thought I'd read them all!
20. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Rita Sepetys - (No relation whatever to 50 Shades, FYI) Such an underappreciated little novel! This ties with Perelandra for best read of the year; I was thoroughly moved by this historical fiction, set in the Baltics, also during the second World War.
21. THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Schaffer - This was a cute one, to be sure - but more serious than I had expected, based off of the title!
22. ALEXANDER HAMILTON by Ron Chernow - My "Magnum Opus" of 2016, if you will (though technically reading hardly counts as "work") - this book took me just short of 5 months to read, but was well worth it. I love a good biography, I love American Revolution history, and getting to learn more of the real life that inspired the musical Hamilton was an experience I'll always be proud of.
23. 1776 by David McCullough - Another very well-written history. I only wish it had lasted longer!
24. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr - I was kind of disappointed with this one. I expected a book with such high praise to have more of a plot structure, a better editor (some parts could have been seriously consolidated, I thought) and a stronger ending (it felt too disjointed to me). Not horrible, but again, not my favorite.
If you read this far you're actually magnificent.
What are some books you read in 2016?