2016: My Year in Books

For the second year running, I managed to average one book every two weeks. Not bad, huh?

For the record, here’s the list:

  1. Kafka on the Shore by Harumi Murakami – Off to a flying start, one might say. One Murakami down the hatch and things can only get better. I mean, Murakami is awesome… but one per year is about all one can manage without losing one’s marbles.
  2. Revival by Stephen King – He’s the boss! Every book of his is a masterpiece!
  3. The Green Mile by Stephen King – Ok, he’s still the boss, but it’s difficult to take two slightly similar books of his one after the other. Still, an unforgettable book.
  4. The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry – I picked this one up at the library just because I liked the title and the blurb. Weird but interesting book.
  5. Disgrace by Jussi Adler Olson – Good book, but not great. I’ve read others by this author (Mercy, Redemption), and all of them are good, but not great.
  6. The Help by Kathryn Stackett – Oddly enough, I enjoyed this very much. Again, I picked it up at the library in a “what’ve-I-got-to-lose” kind of way because I don’t really go for this period nor for serious black/white discrimination kind of themes… but it was extremely interesting and kept me hooked.
  7. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – I read this only because it was by JK Rowling, and I enjoyed it immensely.
  8. In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri – Not such an enthralling book.
  9. The Third Twin by Ken Follet – Ok, I picked this one up at the library only because it had “twin” in the title. And after all, Ken Follet, so it should be ok. It turned out to be too old-fashioned and rather superficial – both characters and plot lacked depth. At the time it was written, it might have been more cutting-edge, I suppose.
  10. A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon – I’d read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time more than a decade ago, and I picked up this book just to see what the author was up to these days. Turned out to be quite an interesting book about a somewhat weird (but believable) family.
  11. Flesh and Blood by Jonathan Kellerman – A run of the mill serial murderer book.
  12. Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud – I loved the Bartimaeus series, so I was looking around for something by the same author and this is what I found. Once I read the first of the series, I was hooked. Fantasy, but such fun!
  13. The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie – Another slightly-weird-family with a wedding in the offing book. The third this year! Quite interesting.
  14. Gone by Lisa Gardner – Apparently I quite enjoyed this book, but I can’t for the life of me remember anything about it, so it must have been rather forgettable. I read it in July.
  15. Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud – A delightful book a step up from Enid Blyton. Well, I don’t think one ever entirely outgrows Enid Blyton, so why not? A 14-year-old boy runs away from his protected and sheltered home to fight a war and cover himself in glory.
  16. Tar Baby by Toni Morrison – Good lord, why do I even try to read these literary books? This book drove me crazy. Started off so well, I loved it, and then it went on and on and completely lost the plot and my interest as well. And ended with a whimper, to top it off.

17, 18, 19. Lockwood & Co by Jonathan Stroud – Ah, great, back to light, easy, fun reading. And like desert after veggies, I got myself a triple helping. The Whispering Skull and The Hollow Boy and then, to my chagrin, I had to wait several weeks for The Creeping Shadow. In fact, not all the books are equally good… but all of them are good.

20. Good Omens by Neil Gaimen and Terry Pratchet – Two fabulous fantasy writers collaborating on one book? How can it not be awesome?

21. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith – The third book in the series. I didn’t like this one that much – too much relationship stuff going on and too little whodunit.

22. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters – Again, an odd choice for me, because I stay away from books about the Second World War. This one wasn’t depressing (the war was just in the background, really) but it was just way too weird with way too many lesbians. Why do I even pick up these books?

23. The Gunslinger by Stephen King – I’d been waiting to get my hands on the first of the Dark Tower series but when I finally did, I didn’t like it. Most upsetting, given that I was expecting to like it. The combination of Western and Fantasy (or plain weird, in Stephen King’s case) just didn’t work for me.

24. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu – Probably the most memorable book of the year (which is saying a lot, given that it’s competing with Lockwood & Co, to say nothing of Kafka on the Shore). I loved the first half of the book, but then it began to demand a little too much willing suspension of disbelief even for Sci-fi. The first half was so interesting, though, that I will probably pick up the next book in the series.

25. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin – Alright, this really is a children’s book, but it’s a delightful read. I loved the way the story was woven in and out of a fairy tale, complete with dragons and kings and the man in the moon. Beautiful!

26. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Another amazing book and possibly a contender for most memorable book of the year. Fantasy again, yes, but the setting is fabulous. Also, along with Good Omens, it’s a book that I need to go back and read a second time to understand all that’s going on. A great book to end the year on.

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