Books: 2016

  1. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
  2. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy
  3. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancy
  4. The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
  5. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  6. On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle
  7. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  8. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  9. Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
  10. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
  11. Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
  12. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  13. Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle
  14. Wonderfully Dysfunctional by Buffi Neal
  15. The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp
  16. The Passage by Justin Cronin
  17. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  18. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
  19. The Last Child by John Hart
  20. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  21. Leave Me by Gayle Forman
  22. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
  23. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
  24. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  25. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
  26. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  27. 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
  28. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  29. My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
  30. Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich

2016 was a really good year for reading. I wasn’t sure at the end of last year how reading would fall into my life as a mom of two, and I’m really glad that I found a way to make it work. I was hopeful in setting my 2016 reading goal at 30 books, and although I had to read 5 books in December to get there, I’m really pleased to report that I accomplished it (with a few days to spare, even!)

I still stand by my preference for reading during naptime; reading is one of the things that really makes me feel like myself, and while there’s ALWAYS something else I should be doing, taking a little time (when I can) to sit with my coffee and a book is never something I regret. I’ve been struggling with a lot of my other hobbies (photography, scrapbooking, hell anything crafty whatsoever) this year, and in 2016, reading was the one thing I returned to. I probably say it every time I write this year-end post, but reading a lot of books is a big part of my self-identity, and it helps to remember that when I start to feel a little bit lost. (Two and a half years into this stay at home mom life, and I’m still trying to figure it out in so many ways. It’s too bad I don’t have a blog where I could write about it 😉 )

I read some really good books this year! And some other books I really didn’t care for. I started a few new series, including the Stephanie Plum series, which I never read way back in the day, and those have been great when I need something fun and quick that I can just finish. I started a few new YA series that I’m looking forward to finishing (The Raven Cycle and the Lunar Chronicles), and I read way more adult fiction than I EVER do…. wondering the whole time if adult fiction is so dark and/or depressing and/or full of affairs and awful people, if I’m really missing anything at all by largely avoiding the genre.

My favorite books of 2016 were by far The Nightingale (if you haven’t read this, you really should), Big Little Lies (late to the game on this but it was different and interesting), My True Love Gave to Me (such a sweet collection of YA holiday-themed stories; I’ll definitely come back to this year after year), and Cinder. Some of the adult novels (The Vacationers, Leave Me, Fates and Furies) were super well written but full of characters I disliked, and therefore I have trouble recommending them.

So! What will my goal for 2017 be? To be honest, I sort of want to go big and set my goal at 52 to have something to work toward… but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I don’t have THAT much time on my hands. My average is 40 books, so I think I’ll aim to read that many, and maybe even a few more. I’d like to finish some of the series I’ve started (including the 3rd novel in Justin Cronin’s the Passage series and the next by Tana French), and look for some of the other books written by authors I enjoyed this year (Liane Moriarty, Kristin Hannah). It’s been a while since I’ve re-read Harry Potter… it’s been a while since I’ve read a classic… but we’ll see. Happy reading!

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013
Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010
Books Read in 2009
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

Books: 2015

  1. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
  2. Just One Year by Gayle Forman
  3. Just One Night by Gayle Forman
  4. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivy
  5. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  6. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  7. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
  8. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
  9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  10. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  11. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
  12. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
  13. A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
  14. Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
  15. Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts
  16. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  17. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  18. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  19. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
  20. Broken Harbor by Tana French
  21. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
  22. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
  23. Groundswell by Katie Lee
  24. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  25. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
  26. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
  27. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  28. Easy Prey by John Sandford
  29. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  30. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  31. Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford
  32. Night Circus by Emily Morgenstern
  33. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  34. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  35. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  36. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  37. After You by Jojo Moyes
  38. Finding Lily by Rachel Del
  39. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
  40. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

2015 was a really great year for me, reading-wise. (Maybe not so much blog posting-wise? Ha.) Using Elise Cripe’s daily goal tracker, I made a goal to read every day. I even gave myself an out on that goal, and would count it even if it was reading to Ben or reading a single paragraph. In the end, I didn’t read for 365 consecutive days, but I only missed about one day per month on average. My conservative goal was specifically to read 30 books, which seems pretty reasonable for me, since I average about 40 books a year. And I definitely surpassed my goal, and got back to a perfectly even 40 for the year, which I feel great about. (I may have chosen a YA book after Christmas specifically so I would end up with a nice, round 40 books total for the year.)

I got into a nice habit of reading during Ben’s afternoon nap, which seems to work better for me than reading at night (when I often fall asleep after a page or two). It also works better in general in terms of feeling like a human person again after a half day of wrangling a tiny human, which I need to remember going into 2016. I just feel more like myself when I’m reading every day.

The really new thing for me in 2015, reading-wise, was joining two book clubs: an online summer book club run by one of my former librarian colleagues, and an actual in-person book club run through my local chapter of the MOMs Club. I have always wanted to belong to a book club, and it pushed me totally out of my comfort zone (going to a meeting at the house of someone whom I hadn’t met! Whaaaat.) But I’ve been able to go to quite a few meetings since I started in the spring, and although most of the selections have been re-reads for me (I guess I stay more current with books than I realized?), it has been great, and I’m looking forward to sticking with it in the new year.

I read quite a few books that I ADORED this year: The Royal We was thinly veiled Kate Middleton fan fiction and I enjoyed it so much; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is one of those books that is so charming that everyone should read it; I absolutely loved Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and companion book Carry On (and will definitely be re-reading those at some point); and The Beekeeper’s Apprentice was so interesting and different than my usual choices, and I look forward to reading more in that series. I also re-read the first three Outlander books and was kind of surprised at how I had forgotten how absolutely engrossing they are. It always surprises me so much when a 900+ page book can be so un-put-down-able, and I’m beginning 2016 by reading the fourth book.

(I guess I should blog more; I clearly have a lot of things to say.)

Setting 2016’s reading goal has been tricky for me. Knowing that I stopped reading for a few months after Ben was born, I’m trying to adjust my expectations accordingly for this year. If it was hard to read with one baby, it’s sure to be difficult to find the time with a Ben AND a new baby. But I do want to keep reading, and goals help motivate me. So… I’m going to set the goal optimistically at 30 books, and I have printed a new 2016 goal tracker (although I’ll be blocking off April, May, and probably June, and just release myself from the expectation that I’ll read daily or at all during those months). We’ll see. Happy reading!

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013
Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010
Books Read in 2009
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

Books: 2014

  1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  2. Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  4. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  6. Dance upon the Air by Nora Roberts
  7. Heaven and Earth by Nora Roberts
  8. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
  9. Face the Fire by Nora Roberts
  10. Great with Child by Beth Ann Fennelly
  11. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  12. Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher
  13. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp
  14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  15. The Search by Nora Roberts
  16. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
  17. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
  18. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  19. Coincidence by J.W. Ironmonger

I’m not sure whether to say that I read more or less than I expected I would in 2014. I certainly didn’t make my original goal of reading 30 books (although even when I chose that I knew it was totally arbitrary and quite possibly unattainable). I was keeping up a pretty standard pace of consumption before Ben was born, with audiobooks on my commute and regular books at lunch and at home. Once he showed up, of course, I pretty much stopped reading entirely for a while there. I don’t really understand how people read during middle of the night baby wakeups; I found I was too tired to concentrate on an actual book, but that if I could stay awake enough to read, then I’d be TOO awake to fall back asleep once Ben was asleep again. And now, I’m trying to read before bed like I used to, and after a few nights of reading until 1am and still having to be up with Ben at 5 or 6, really regretting it. But I feel like I’m back in a reading phase (and over the years of documenting what I’ve read, I know that I definitely go through phases in which I just don’t read at all for months), and I’m glad for that.

My favorite books in 2014 were definitely Attachments (omg I ADORED this book. I loved Eleanor and Park, which I read last year, but I was legitimately sad when Attachments was over. I just loved it.), Coincidence (which I finished on New Years Eve; very interesting and different. I really enjoy books whose timelines jump forward and back through time), and the Coldest Girl in Coldtown (which, based on my goodreads friends’ reviews, I expected not to like much, but I listened to this on audio and was pleasantly surprised).

I’m not sure how to approach a reading goal for 2015, to be honest. I’d like to think I’ll be back up to my average of 40 or so books, but life with Ben changes every time I feel like I’ve got things under control, so I really have no idea. But I’d really like to read more (and god knows I sure could use a little less mindless internet scrolling on my phone and a little less daytime tv). I’ve set a goal to read every day, even if it’s just a few lines or pages, or a book with Ben. I’d like to get to all those ebooks I bought just before we went to the hospital to have Ben (seriously, I loaded up the iPad thinking I’d read during labor. Isn’t that adorable? Reading during contractions. Haaaaaaaaa). Overall, I’m setting my reading goal at 30 books. I’m hoping I’ll beat it, but we’ll see.

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010
Books Read in 2009
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

 

Books: 2013

  1. In the Woods by Tana French
  2. A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene
  3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  4. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  5. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
  6. The Passage by Justin Cronin
  7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  8. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  9. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  10. The Twelve by Justin Cronin
  11. What to Expect Before You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff
  12. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  13. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
  14. Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
  15. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  16. When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman
  17. The Likeness by Tana French
  18. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  19. Wool by Hugh Howey
  20. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
  21. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey
  22. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
  23. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  24. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  25. Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  26. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  27. A Million Suns by Beth Revis
  28. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  29. Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
  30. The Magician King by Lev Grossman
  31. The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
  32. Black Rose by Nora Roberts
  33. Red Lily by Nora Roberts
  34. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
  35. White Cat by Holly Black
  36. Birthright by Caragh O’Brien
  37. The Sinner by Tess Gerritsen
  38. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  39. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  40. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
  41. Faithful Place by Tana French
  42. Virals by Kathy Reichs
  43. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Looking back on the books I’ve read this year is something I really enjoy, even though it’s hard to believe we’re here already. My reading goal for 2013 was to read 39 books (my average number of books read since I started keeping track back in 2005). I’m happy to say that I squeaked past that goal with 43, largely aided by a week of intense reading on our honeymoon in June, and a hefty audiobook consumption once I went back to a very lengthy commute in September. I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have come close if it hadn’t been for the audiobooks this fall. My side goals were to read one classic that’s new to me (I didn’t do this or even remember it was on my list, honestly) and five novels meant for adults that weren’t mass market fiction. I’m surprised and kinda jazzed to report that I read nine adult fiction books AND two nonfiction books. Reading YA is definitely my favorite (with a healthy dose of romance novels for good measure), and I’m okay with that. But the adult novels I’ve read this year were some of my favorite books of the year. I listened to eight audiobooks (Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane was spectacular – read by Gaiman himself. Kathy Reichs’ Virals wasn’t really a super awesome story, but Cristin Milioti’s narration was some of the best I’ve ever heard). I also re-read three books (The Passage, Across the Universe, and Delirium) as refreshers before reading sequels, which I generally like to do.

The books that I read in 2013 that I would recommend most highly are some pretty amazing books: all three of Tana French’s books were so refreshing and dark and un-put-downable; The Age of Miracles was a YA novel that tells the story of what happens during an epic natural disaster; The Passage and The Twelve are truly epic doorstops of books but so very, very gripping; Eleanor & Park was a super charming, sad love story; The Fault in Our Stars was just unforgettable.

I’m not sure it’s very smart for me to set a reading goal for 2014, what with the whole baby showing up in late May business. I think it’d be short-sighted of me to expect that my reading habits will remain unchanged once a newborn is in the picture. But I also can’t see myself NOT reading. (Feel free to remind me of this as you laugh at me this summer.) So! My goal for 2014 will be to read 30 books. We’ll reconvene a year from now to see how crazy that notion is.

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010
Books Read in 2009
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

Books: 2012

  1. Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism by Barbara Emmerich
  2. Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando
  3. The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern*
  4. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  5. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  6. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana deRosnay*
  7. Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse*
  8. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  9. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer*
  10. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer*
  11. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown*
  12. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer*
  13. An Off Year by Claire Zulkey
  14. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer*
  15. At Home by Bill Bryson*
  16. Birthright by Nora Roberts
  17. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach*
  18. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  19. My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares
  20. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  21. Every Day by David Leviathan

Well. Let’s just start off by saying I didn’t even come CLOSE to hitting my goal of reading 45 books (and three classics) during 2012. I know that reading almost two books a month is a perfectly acceptable amount of reading to do in a year. Especially a year in which I had a two+ hour daily commute for 8 months, and oh yeah that whole planning a wedding business. (Having a tv in the bedroom during 2012 also really cut into my before-bed reading time.) In the 8 years that I’ve been keeping track of my reading each year here on the blog, I’ve read 23 books, 24 books, 51 books, 44 books, 40 books, 57(!) books, 52 books, and 21 books. My average, then, is 39, but I’ve read a total of 312 books since the beginning of 2005. In these 8 years, I’ve read the Harry Potter series and the Game of Thrones series all the way through twice each (and I actually thought those numbers would be higher, to be honest).

Even though there are good reasons, I can’t also say that I’m not disappointed in my reading this year. Almost half of the books were audiobooks, and it’s not like I’m proud to have finally read all of the Twilight books (even if they kept me engaged during my long commutes for many, many weeks). The best books of the year were by FAR Night Circus and Divergent, which I’d recommend so highly. I really loved the Art of Fielding, too, and Gone Girl was good if a little … bleak for my taste.

Still, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a reading goal for 2013. I definitely want to get back to reading like a fiend, even if it’ll take a little adjusting. My goal is to get back up to my average, and read 39 books. I will read at least one classic that’s new to me, and at least 5 novels meant for adults (as opposed to YA, and mass market fiction like Nora Roberts definitely doesn’t count). Here’s to the new year, and lots of new books!

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010
Books Read in 2009
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

Books: 2011

  1. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  2. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness D’Orczy
  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  4. Blackout by Connie Willis
  5. The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
  6. Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts
  7. Vision in White by Nora Roberts
  8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  9. Three Fates by Nora Roberts
  10. Room by Emma Donoghue
  11. All Clear by Connie Willis
  12. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
  13. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
  14. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  15. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
  16. The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
  17. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  18. The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie
  19. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
  20. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  21. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  22. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
  23. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
  24. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  25. One Day by David Nicholls
  26. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
  27. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  28. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  29. Fallen by Lauren Kate
  30. Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
  31. Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
  32. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
  33. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
  34. Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
  35. Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
  36. A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin
  37. A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
  38. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  39. Bumped by Megan McCafferty
  40. Drought by Pam Bachorz
  41. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  42. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
  43. Ape House by Sara Gruen
  44. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  45. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  46. Gossamer by Lois Lowry
  47. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
  48. Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  49. The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye
  50. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  51. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
  52. The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout

Well I certainly came down to the wire with my books this year. Looking back at 2010’s list, I really didn’t remember that I read so much last year. 52 books as a goal was a perfectly reasonable one for me, until my new-job-related exhaustion meant I pretty much didn’t read at all from the middle of September through the beginning of November. When I started my new job, I was 18 books ahead of schedule, and by early October, I was already behind. I rounded out the year with a lot of audiobooks, which both helped me feel like I was reading again, and also helped my progress toward my goal. The funny thing is that I don’t really think not being a librarian or being in a library every day really affected my reading progress, more getting used to a new routine, and not reading at lunch made a pretty big impact.

But what were my favorite books of the year? I was SO excited for A Dance with Dragons, and even though I was afraid to keep reading for fear of my favorite characters meeting untimely ends, the book was fantastic and although it was a bit slow at times, it lived up to my (high) expectations. The Bosspyants audiobook was amazing. I read a lot of YA as predicted, but my far and away favorites were Across the Universe and If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. Gossamer was also so charming that I still think about it a few months after finishing it.

Another part of my goal (that I admittedly forgot about until I re-read last year’s post just now) was to read two classics that I hadn’t read before. And imagine that, I actually accomplished it despite forgetting about it. I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time this year (… I know. Especially since Jane Eyre is my very favorite, so it’s not like I’m afraid of books from that era.) and loved it so much more than I expected to. And I also read A Brave New World, which was only one of two books I was assigned to read in high school but didn’t actually read (the other being Crime and Punishment, which I started but just didn’t finish), a big deal for this book-loving rule-follower. I still think there are way, way too many classics that I haven’t read, and I’d really like to fix that.

So what will my 2012 reading goal be? I toyed with not having a goal at all, but I don’t know if that’s really in me. I should probably make my goal a bit lower, just because I haven’t been reading as much as I used to… but I don’t LIKE not reading as much. So my official 2012 reading goal is to read 45 books, with the full intention to completely crush that goal. I will also read at least three more classics that are new to me, including another by Jane Austen.

In Previous Years…
Books Read in 2010
Books Read in 2009
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006
Books Read in 2005

Summer Postcards!

My friend Jodi hosted a summer postcard swap this month, and after Cynthia posted her creations, I knew I wanted to do the same.

I keep a few old paperbacks with my craft supplies, because the book pages make such a great background. All I used otherwise were moo cards (some of my own business cards, and some of the older small ones), some stamps, a few summery magazine pages, and LOTS of washi tape for some stripeitude. I coated them all with a light coat of Mod Podge, because I was afraid they’d fall apart in the mail. (They didn’t, so it worked!) We always send cards to wish friends and family happiness in the winter, but why not wish everyone a happy summer? It’s my favorite time of the year! I made my required postcards, but also a few extras for my out of town friends, and sending an unexpected surprise in the mail is one of my favorite things to do.

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