Tuesday, February 6, 2018

2017 reading roundup

We're more than a month into 2018 and I've already got 8 books under my belt, and I realized I never uploaded my 2017 reading roundup. So without further ado, here is my reading summary for 2017.

2017 was a much better reading year than 2016. I read (or listened to) 70 books in 2017.

I was evenly divided between reading and listening in 2017, with 34 ebooks or paper books and 36 audiobooks. 

Here is the list of books I read in the reverse order I read them. I've linked to their pages on Amazon and linked to the author's homepage, Facebook page, or Wikipedia page if that was what was available.

Title Author
Manhattan Beach Jennifer Egan
Close Enough to Touch Colleen Oakley
Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel Jesmyn Ward
State of Wonder Ann Patchett
Seven Days of Us Francesca Hornak
IQ Joe Ide
The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds Michael Lewis
Two Kinds of Truth Michael Connelly
Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance Atul Gawande
The Last Ballad Wiley Cash
Option B Sheryl Sandberg
The Midnight Line  Lee Child
No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories Lee Child
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End Atul Gawande
The Silkworm  Robert Galbraith
Turtles All the Way Down John Green
The Unquiet Dead  Ausma Zehanat Khan
Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words Michael Ausiello
Somewhere Inside of Happy Anna McPartlin
Y is for Yesterday Sue Grafton
The Trick Emanuel Bergmann
Orphan X  Gregg Hurwitz
Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death Adrian Owen
Please Look After Mom Kyung-Sook Shin
The Muse Jessie Burton
Magpie Murders Anthony Horowitz
The Reminders Val Emmich
The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes Anna McPartlin
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) Rick Riordan
A Man Called Ove Fredrik Backman
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead Sheryl Sandberg
Tell Me Three Things Julie Buxbaum
Our Chemical Hearts Krystal Sutherland
House of Spies Daniel Silva
Chemistry Weike Wang
A House Among the Trees Julia Glass
The Hate U Give Angie Thomas
The People We Hate at the Wedding Grant Ginder
מה יקרה אם אמות מחר בבוקר יפעת ארליך
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think Laura Vanderkam
The Dry Jane Harper
Dreamology Lucy Keating
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Gail Honeyman
Golden Prey  John Sandford
Celine Peter Heller
Sisters Raina Telgemeier
Smile Raina Telgemeier
A Little Life Hanya Yanagihara
A Word for Love Emily Robbins
The Burial Hour Jeffery Deaver
The Hearts of Men Nickolas Butler
Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations Thomas L. Friedman
Bone Box Faye Kellerman
What You Break  Reed Farrel Coleman
The Serpent King Jeff Zentner
Here I Am Jonathan Safran Foer
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman Lindy West
I'll Take You There Wally Lamb
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis J.D. Vance
Codex Lev Grossman
The Book of Speculation Erika Swyler
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley Hannah Tinti
Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients Ben Goldacre
The Age of Miracles Karen Thompson Walker
This One Summer Mariko Tamaki
The Sun Is Also a Star Nicola Yoon
Wonder R.J. Palacio
The Mothers Brit Bennett
The Husband's Secret Liane Moriarty
Holding Up the Universe Jennifer Niven

This year I read 13 non fiction books which is a new record for me. I find it difficult to read non fiction even when it's something I want to read and do much better listening to non fiction on audio. Before I tell you which books I loved and which disappointed me, I'd like to mention where I find the books I read. I follow various book blogs which keep me up to date on what's coming out and allow me to read synopses and reviews. My literary friends (you know who you are) recommend books, I listen to TED talks and read books by TED speakers, and sometimes, interesting articles or posts pop up in my Facebook feed and lead me to a new book. I'm also the librarian in my town so I'll get recommendations from readers and also read young adult books which are popular with the youth.

Some of my favorite books in 2017, in no particular order were: Manhattan Beach, Close Enough to Touch, The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds (fascinating!), Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance, The Last Ballad, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words, The Trick, The Reminders, The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes, The Hate you Give, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Celine, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (a must read for all women), The Serpent King, Holding Up the Universe (much less heartbreaking than All the Bright Places), and The Sun is also a Star. 

As usual, Lee Child and Daniel Silva did not disappoint and I enjoyed both their new books, The Midnight Line and House of Spies. Also, John Green's new young adult book, Turtles All the Way Down was a great read and definitely one of his best. 

The book that had the biggest impact on me was A Little Life. At 832 pages it was also the longest book I read and it absolutely destroyed me. It chewed me up and spit me out in little pieces. My feelings for it can best be summed up as follows:

Some of my least favorite or most disappointing reads were books that just didn't live up to their hype/reputation or their author's previous works. JK Rowling as Robert Galbraith does not do it for me. I found Silkworm long and convoluted. I'll Take You There was less interesting and engaging than Wally Lamb's previous books. Ditto for Nickolas Butler's The Hearts of Men. Chemistry was annoying - none of the characters had names and Please Look after Mom didn't live up to the hype I had read. I read The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) because the kids in the library love it and I was very disappointed. It felt like an inferior Harry Potter knock off. I'm not going to continue with the series. 

There are authors whose books I always look forward to and wait for (Lee Child, Daniel Silva, Faye Kellerman) and one of these authors  is Sue Grafton, author of the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series. I was excited to read Y is for Yesterday and a little heartbroken to read the sad news that Sue Grafton lost her battle with cancer on December 28, 2017. Her daughter, Jamie's post on Sue Grafton's facebook page summed up how Sue's many fans feel: "the alphabet now ends at Y." 
Alphabet Ends With Y Magnets

In 2017 I read 13,564 pages and listened to 343 hours and 46 minutes of audio. The longest book I read was A Little Life at 832 pages and the shortest was מה יקרה אם אמות מחר בבוקר at 207 pages. The longest book I listened to was Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations with 19 hours and 54 minutes and the shortest was Chemistry with only 4 hours and 53 minutes.

One of the things I like about doing my year end reading recap, is that I get to revisit the books I read over the year. I see that 2017 was a good reading year, both in numbers and in the many books that were enjoyable.

Looking forward to exploring new worlds and experiences in 2018 through the wonderful world of reading. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

2016 reading roundup

I started writing this year's reading roundup when I finished my last book of 2016, on December 26th. But the computer is downstairs where it's absolutely freezing so I've been delayed. But I am braving the cold (okay, I'm sitting under a blanket with one of those pillows you heat in the microwave) in order to get this post online.

This past year I read 41 books, the fewest since I've started keeping track.

I think there were a few factors which negatively affected the number of books I read in 2016. Even though I prefer my books depressing and my literary families dysfunctional (they always make me feel so much better about my own life), I read a lot of very heavy books in 2015, particularly young adult novels. I think this made me wary in 2016 and also made me doubt myself when I chose books. Secondly, after many years of watching TV shows on the computer, we got a screen, media streamer, and Kodi. Please don't ask me to explain any further than that. All I can tell you is that it allowed me to binge watch 3 and a half seasons of Blacklist from the comfort of my couch. And lastly, the auxiliary hookup in my car stopped working so I couldn't listen to audio books.  This was rectified, thankfully, when my co-worker brought me a JBL Flip 3 Bluetooth speaker when she flew to England and I am now happily listening to audio books on my commute to and from work.

Here is the list of books I read in the reverse order I read them. I've linked to their pages on Amazon and linked to the author's homepage, Facebook page, or Wikipedia page if that was what was available.


Some of my favorite books (in no particular order) were The Mathematician's Shiva, A Hundred Thousand Worlds, The Unseen World, The Two-Family House, The Forgetting Time (intriguing), All Who Go Do Not Return, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, Dear Committee Members (funny), Everything, Everything (pleasantly surprised by the turn of events), Code Name Verity (even though I try to avoid WWII or Holocaust books), and My Heart and Other Black Holes (because you just can't quit depressing young adult literature cold turkey).

I liked Commonwealth and Redemption Road but they weren't as good as the authors' previous works. Grief is the Thing with Feathers and I Let You Go got a lot of buzz but they didn't do it for me. And I was inspired by a Facebook friend, RZ, to try another Neil Gaiman book. I snared a copy of American Gods, considered his best book, from Rebooks/סיפור חוזר and it was not an easy read. 

I read 22 books by male authors and 19 books by female authors. Seventeen books were by authors I've previously read.

Here is the breakdown of books per month and genres:

In 2016 I read 11,817 pages and listened to 108 hours and 56 minutes of audio. The longest book I read was Nemesis at 695 pages and the shortest was Grief is the Thing with Feathers at 129 pages. The longest book I listened to was The Unseen World with 14 hours and 22 minutes and the shortest was Dear Committee Members with only 3 hours and 55 minutes.

Hopefully 2017 will be a good reading year. I've got three books under my belt and if you want to follow what I've read, check out my Goodreads page.