As the end of January approaches, it’s time to get on the ball with the wrap-up for the previous year. Normally, I write these entries in the first week or so of January. I plead that late December surgery as my excuse for the delay.
I managed to finish 49 books this year, three short of my goal, but acceptable nonetheless. Of those 49, three were re-reads, so 46 new-to-me books completed. Two were non-fiction, one was a collection of essays, and the rest was fiction from a variety of genres. Like last year, the majority of the books I read came from the library or were books already in my personal collection.
Of those 46 new books, a few were standouts, and a couple that I expected to be standouts were disappointments.
My chief disappointment was Gregory Maguire’s After Alice. Maguire’s prose is clever, but the story itself was uninspired and plodding. Click the link to read the full review on WordPress or click the book cover to go to the Goodreads site.
Another disappointment — the fault for which I lay at my own feet rather than the author’s — was Neil Gaiman’s A View from the Cheap Seats. This was the book that finally convinced me to avoid essay collections, because they just don’t work for me, and it doesn’t matter who wrote them. Sorry, Neil.
Happily, one of the standouts this year was another Neil Gaiman collection, this one of short stories. Trigger Warning was fabulous. Go read it.
Another collection of short stories I read this year was also stellar. Kelly Link’s Get In Trouble is filled with the kind of short stories I love: weird and off-kilter and a teensy bit disturbing. Plus they’re exquisitely written. I’ll be looking for more Kelly Link in the future.
David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks cemented this author’s position on my “favorites” list. What an amazing, far-flung, rambling, glorious story of youthful passion, mistakes, and greed.
A few other books worth mentioning: Listen, Liberal by Thomas Frank is a wake-up call for the progressive movement that’s especially relevant considering the unqualified narcissist this country somehow elected in November 2016 and who is being sworn in as POTUS as I type this blog entry.
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff is an intimate look at a marriage wherein neither individual is exactly who they appear.
And finally, I Am No One by Patrick Flanery is as much a love story to the city of New York as it is the story of a man who reaches middle age and wonders how he got there.
Looking ahead to 2017, I set the same goal of 52 books, but I may reduce that number due to lifestyle changes and a few other priorities. Or not. We’ll see.