The 60 books of 2016

This year I just barely managed to meet my Goodreads challenge of 60 books in 52 weeks. I thought I’d give out my own awards to the books I’ve read in various categories, so here they are. For books that have them, I’ve also linked to my reviews (which are often very short).

What are some of your favorite books you read recently? Any recommendations for 2017? Let me know in the comments!

Children’s Literature:

Most charming: The whole trilogy of which When the Sea Turned to Silver is the conclusion. Start with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
Most timely: Homesick definitely struck home as I returned to my native country from overseas.

Young adult literature:

Most informative: Dead End in Norvelt. An engaging novelization of the author’s childhood in rural America.
Most fun: Paper Towns. No road trip will ever be as epic.
Most anticlimactic: More than this. Somehow it lost all its mystery about halfway through.

Historical fiction:

Best writing: All the Light we Cannot See. It’s long and it’s gorgeous.
Most enlightening: Orphan Train. I knew nothing about this part of American history before reading this book.

Other Literature:

Most confusing: The Powerbook. Maybe I’ll give it another try in the future.
Most important: The Bell Jar. Everyone should read it.
Most uncomfortable: The Kite Runner. Everyone should read it too.

Fantasy and science fiction set on Earth:

Most imaginative: The Margarets. Definitely looking forward to reading more by this author.
Most imperative: The Circle. It’s the modern equivalent of 1984.

Fantasy set elsewhere:

Most worth the effort: The original Mistborn trilogy. It’s long, but so good!
Most hilarious: Across the Wall. Especially the spoof choose-your-own-adventure story.
Most socially relevant: The Graceling series, filled with themes of responsibility and control.

Nonfiction about the world:

Best writing: The Worldly Philosophers.
Best for understanding why people study math: How to Bake Pi.
Best for understanding why people should study math: How Not to be Wrong.

About mind and work:

Most motivating: Zen in the Art of Writing.
Most disappointing: How to Write a Sentence. Stay away! Read How to Write Short instead.
Tied for most practical: 7 Habits, Deep Work, and Switch.
Tied for most practically kooky: Big Magic and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

I guess the moral is that even a love of the fantasy and self-help genres doesn’t entail a love of self-help books whose titles contain the word “magic.”


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