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!
- Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
- Homesick: My Own Story by Jean Fritz
- A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
- The Squire’s Tale by Gerald Morris
- When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
- The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
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:
- Permanent Rose by Hilary McKay
- Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
- Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
- More than this by Patrick Ness
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
- The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
- Paper Towns by John Green
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.
- Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
- All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
- Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher
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.
- The Powerbook by Jeanette Winterson
- A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
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:
- The Once and Future King by T.H. White
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Significant Digits by Alexander Deebus
- The City and the City by China Miéville
- The Circle by Dave Eggers
- Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
- The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer
- The Margarets by Sherri S. Tepper
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:
- The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
- Other Brandon Sanderson works in the same universe
- The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
- The Graceling Trilogy by
- Across the Wall (short story collection) by Garth Nix
- Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
- The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
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:
- How to Bake Pi by Eugenia Cheng
- How Not to be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
- In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
- The Hidden Wealth of Nations by Gabriel Zucman
- The Worldly Philosophers by Robert L. Heilbroner
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:
- Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
- How to Write a Sentence by Stanley Fish
- Slipstream Time Hacking by Benjamin P. Hardy
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
- Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
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.”