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My favorite books of 2016

I’m sorry to report that I only read 12 books in 2016. Of those, 7 were audiobooks, and 2 were re-reads.

I’m going to go ahead and blame the baby, because it is her fault. In a way, though, she actually has me reading more than ever. I spend practically every free moment poring over the internet’s wisdom (or “wisdom,” in some cases) about pregnancy and parenting.

The good news is, over half of the books I read were diverse — in subject matter, authorship, or both. That’s a trend I hope to continue with all my future reading.

Here are my favorite reads of 2016:

The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1) The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) All the Light We Cannot See Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE features a halfie protagonist and was written by a fellow halfie, Heidi Heilig. I really enjoyed the lush settings and the sense of adventure.

THE RAVEN KING completes Maggie Stiefvater’s wistful and lovely Raven Boys series. Not perfect, but really magical. I aspire to write at this level someday.

Andy discovered ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE a couple years ago and urged me to read it. He said it was more like a work of art than just a book or story, and he was right. It took me a long time to read, but that time was well spent.

Technically I haven’t finished BRINGING UP BÉBÉ, but I’m enjoying the examination of different parenting styles, and I appreciate the practical tips.

Click here to see my favorite reads from previous years.

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My favorite books of 2015

The past few months have been a blur — mostly due to the new house — so going over everything I’ve read this year proved to be a nice surprise. I had forgotten how many great books there were!

In order of when I read them:

Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1) My Heart and Other Black Holes The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles, #1) Black Dove, White Raven Lexicon: A Novel An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) Bone Gap Me Before You (Me Before You, #1) The Walls Around Us Chasing the Sun Conviction Yes Please

Notes:

  • A particularly lovely treat is that several of of my favorite reads this year were written by friends of mine, including Jasmine Warga, Becky Wallace, Natalia Sylvester and Kelly Loy Gilbert. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to read the work of people you know in real life, because what if you don’t like it? (Awkward…) Fortunately, with each of these books, I could tell I was in good hands from page 1.
  • LEXICON was a book that Andy discovered on a whim, devoured, then urged me to read so that we could discuss it. That doesn’t happen often.
  • The author of BONE GAP is an “agent sister” of mine, and I’m honored to think that Tina has as much faith in me as she does in Laura Ruby, whose writing is so lyrical and fierce.
  • Once again, I’m trying more audiobooks. (Including SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT and YES PLEASE from above.) In our old neighborhood, I could hold a book or my phone and read while I walked Riley, because there were only a couple streets and virtually no traffic. But our new neighborhood is much busier and more urban, so listening to books is a safer way to go. Unfortunately I don’t have the best attention span when it comes to audio, and I’m picky about narrators/voices. For that reason, nonfiction seems to work best for me.

What were your favorite books of 2015?

If you’re interested, here are the roundups from previous years.

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My favorite books of 2014

I guess it’s become a bit of a holiday tradition to look back on my year in books and pick out favorites. According to GoodReads, I’m “behind” on my reading goal for this year, but it doesn’t feel that way to me.

Thanks in part to the YA Diversity Book Club, I was exposed to a really wide variety of stories in 2014, and that’s a trend that I hope to continue, if not improve upon, in 2015. My nonfiction reading was down, but I did end the year with a really thought-provoking book recommended by Andy called MINDSET. (Which might warrant its own post in the near future.) And surprisingly, my audio “reading” may be on the rise, due to my realization that it’s much easier to listen to my iPod while walking Riley than it is to hold a book and flip pages.

Anyway, in order of when I read them, here are my favorite books of 2014:

Easy (Contours of the Heart, #1) We Were Liars Caminar Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3) Pointe Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3) The Walled City Landline Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
(If you’re curious, you can also check out my roundups from previous years.)

What were your favorite reads this year?

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My favorite books of 2013

To be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump these past couple weeks, so it’s particularly nice to take a look back on the books I’ve enjoyed this year and see that there were some really spectacular stories.

In order of when I read them:

Mind Games (Mind Games, #1) Eleanor & Park Code Name Verity Where'd You Go, Bernadette Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead Olive Kitteridge Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1) Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2) The Secret Daughter Fangirl The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

Interestingly, this group features several books with unconventional structures. BERNADETTE is told primarily through “found” documents — emails, court records, magazine articles, and passive-aggressive notes between neighbors. HYPERBOLE is an extension of the hilarious blog of the same name. FANGIRL includes snippets of fanfic for a book series that doesn’t even exist!

Maybe it’s a sign of our modern sensibilities creeping into our fiction?

Regardless, there’s one thing that I think will never change for me: My favorite stories are the ones that resonate with me emotionally. Make me cry, make me laugh, or best of all, make me do both.

(“Kiss me, Hardy! Kiss me quick!”)

What about y’all? What were your favorites books of the year?

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My favorite books of 2012

I gotta say, it’s been a good year of reading. Part of that may be because I have made more of an effort to abandon books that aren’t doing it for me — and furthermore, not to even pick up a book unless it really interests me or has been personally recommended.

It’s still hard for me to ignore a free book, or not feel guilty if I haven’t read whatever the latest/hottest bestseller is, but I’m trying to remember: let things pass.

Anyway, these were my favorite reads of 2012, in order of when I read them:

The Night Circus The Fault in Our Stars Sweethearts The Paris Wife Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1) The Language Of Flowers Silver Sparrow The Scorpio Races The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2) Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar Gone Girl

To be honest, I debated the inclusion of GONE GIRL and LIFE OF PI, both of which were “total mind fraks.” In the end, I listed GONE GIRL because I’m more likely to reread it, due to the intricate plotting and character arcs, which I really admired, even though the story/characters didn’t touch my heart. (Emotional impact is a big factor in favorite-ing for me.) With LIFE OF PI, I’m glad I read it once, but from now on, I’d rather just watch the movie.

So, what were your favorites (books, movies, songs, whatevs) of the year?

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