2016 Book List

I read a lot of books in 2015 and I don’t remember most of them.  It doesn’t really matter at all how many books I read in 2016, but I’m curious just the same.  So, my plan is to keep a list here.  I will make updates to this post throughout the year and link to other posts about these books if/when I write them.

62. Moonglow by Michael Chabon
December 29, 2016
Michael Chabon’s Moonglow features Michael Chabon and his fictional family.  A grandfather’s story told in stops and starts by his grandson.  Moonglow is a love story and an adventure and a mystery and a damn good read.

61. The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai
December 7, 2016
A story told in reverse about a house and a family and art and secrets and love.  I loved that I, the reader, get to unpack all of the secrets and unravel the mysteries, but the characters don’t, because that’s how it goes in real life.

60. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
December 4, 2016
I’m officially calling it.  This is my favorite book I’ve read in 2016.  It is so weird and magical and beautiful and I hardly know what it is about, but I think it is about how we see ourselves and how we see others and what beauty is and I loved it loved it loved.  Also, there is a broken boy and a mare named Night and a creepy villain and a damsel that is not in very much distress.

59. Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers
November 29, 2016
Josie is rootless.  She has no ties to anything and isn’t sure who she is or who she wants to be.   She fluctuates almost hourly between contentment and a compulsion to escape herself and her environment.  Feeling unmoored, she decides to go off the grid on an Alaskan roadtrip with her kids.  In an aging RV, they plummet forth into the wildfire plagued Alaskan wilderness.

58. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S.King
November 23, 2016
Part dystopic fiction, part feminist manifesto, this YA coming of age story finds Glory O’Brien at a crossroads. Her young life has been defined by a tragedy. Now, facing high school graduation with no plans and only one uncertain friendship, she wonders if she is careening toward her own tragic end. Also, she drinks a bat and sees the future.

57. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
November 13, 2016
A feckin’ great tale that spans over 60 years and three generations.  Told in the first person by several different narrators, the story interweaves a mystical tale with realistic characters and settings from the 1980s to the present and into a bleak future.

56. The Shining by Stephen King
October 28, 2016
When a little boy who can read minds meets a spooky old hotel with a mind of its own all hell breaks loose.

55. Nutshell by Ian McEwan
October 23, 2016
An unborn child is the only witness to a villainous plot.

54. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
October 18, 2016
Frank is an angry, violent young person, but maybe he has good reason to be.  After all, his father is a secretive, controlling tyrant, his freewheeling hippy mother abandoned him at birth, and a mean old dog chewed off half of his manhood before he ever got a chance to use it.

53. The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel
October 9, 2016
When Autopsy Bliss invited the devil to Breathed, Ohio, he never imagined that the devil would be a thirteen year old boy.  This boy, this devil, this old, sad soul gets caught up in their lives, heals their hurts and pays the price for their sins.

52. A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball
October 1, 2016
Kind of like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with less whimsy.  In a utopian future suicidal people can opt to start their lives over with a clean slate (and all of their memories wiped away) in The Process of Villages.  These reprogrammed persons require constant minding by “examiners.” This book is weird and sad, which are usually things that I gravitate toward in a book, but it also stops far short of being believable and the characters don’t compel my sympathy.

51. Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch
September 27, 2016
This book takes the form of a letter written to an author who wrote a book about a crime that may or may not have happened.  The author of the letter writing to the author may or may not have perpetrated the crime that may or may not have happened.  If you are already annoyed, kudos to you.

50. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
September 23, 2016
In this otherwise realistic story of an escaped slave the underground railroad is, well, a railroad.  Underground.  Something like a subway that spans the nation.  Beautiful, intense, painful.

49.  Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
September 18, 2016
Physicist Jason Dessen races across the multiversity to get back to the woman he loves and the best of all possible lives. Meh. 

48. The Last Days of California by Mary Miller
September 17, 2016
15 year old Jess travels across the country with her evangelical parents and her pregnant sister to  witness the apocalypse in the Pacific timezone.

47. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin, read by Roy Dotrice
September 16, 2016
Book 3 of the Game of Thrones series.  I have read this series once and this is my second listening.  Still just as good.

46. Dodgers by Bill Beverly
September 14, 2016
Four LA gang kids take a trip across country to kill a witness.  really good book.  Hope to write a review of this soon.

45.  The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
September 10, 2016
Harry August relives his life in an infinite loop.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  It could be boring, but fortunately he’s got a mystery, a nemesis, and preventing the end of the world to keep things interesting.

44. Eric – Discworld #9 by Terry Practchett
August 31, 2016
In the 9th Discworld book Rincewind the incompetent wizard returns. Summoned from the nether regions where he had previously been banished by a budding and inexpert demonoligist named Eric.  Also introducing the beaurocracy of Hell.

43.  The Vegetarian by Han Kang
August 30, 2016

I am still processing this story of a woman who has lived her life in the shadow of men.  First her abusive father, then her self-centered husband. When she draws a line in the sand that she is not willing to cross, the men in her life react with anger and outrage and even lust.

42. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
August 29, 2016
If Orange is the New Black took place in a juvenile detention center it would resemble The Walls Around Us.  Also, there are ghosts.

41.  The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
August 28, 2016

More than 80 years after English explorer, Percy Harrison Fawcett disappeared while searching for evidence of a lost civilization in the Amazon, reporter David Grann retraces his steps.  Grann seeks to solve the mystery of Fawcett’s disappearance and the mystery of an El Dorado like city called only Z.

40. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
August 25, 2016
The third and final book in the story of Karou, a blue-haired half human with a destiny to fulfill.

39. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
August 20, 2016
Oh, Harry Potter.  How I missed you.

38.  The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
August 18, 2016
Adolescence, brotherhood, prophecies, and tragedy.  Let me add my voice to the huge number of voices telling you to read this book.

37. Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
August 14, 2016

Brilliant story telling, beautiful art.  This is my umpteenth rereading. ’nuff said.

36. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin, Narrated by Roy Dotrice
August 14, 2016
Book 2 in the Game of Thrones series.  This is my second listen/third read of this book and it just keeps getting better.

35. Heartbreaker by Maryse Meijer
August 13, 2016
Definitely read these short stories.  Just don’t read them all in one sitting if you value your sanity.

34. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
August 12, 2016
A group of inexplicably well funded British historians travel throughout time to observe and collect data.  Logical inconsistencies abound, most of the characters don’t hold my attention long enough for me to care who’s who, and jarringly adult sex scenes and sexual violence appear in what would otherwise be a young adult read.  meh.  First in a series, but I will not read rest.

33. 1984 by George Orwell
August 7, 2016
Orwell’s classic about an all too plausible totalitarian state and my analysis of whether the eponymous adjective Orwellian applies to Donald Trump.

32. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
August 3, 2016

This sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone is even better than the first book.  Taylor keeps you guessing about who to trust and even what is happening, but the reader’s confusion is fun, not frustrating.  Can’t wait to read number 3.

31. The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis
July 30, 2016
A young girl on her own in post-apocalypse Canada is taken in by a loner.  10 years later she learns that the man she has come to think of as a father is actually a serial killer.  As she flees from her “dad” and from the law, she confronts her own demons and looks for the family she never had.

30. Listen To Me by Hannah Pittard
July 24, 2016

You know what a married couple going through a rough patch needs most?  A roadtrip into the path of a massive stormfront.  yup.

29. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
July 22, 2016
Okay… The world exists just like it does, but just out of sight there is a crazy war going on between two mythical races and there is a human(ish) girl caught up in all the drama.  Also, first love, true love, best friends, blue hair and bad-assery.  Young adult fantasy at its absolute finest.  Taylor’s writing is clever with just the right amount of darkness and depth and the story is well paced.

28. Guards! Guards! – Discworld Book #8 by Terry Pratchett
July 18, 2016
The eighth book in the Discworld series and so far my favorite.  I am surprised that I liked it as much as I did, because this book has none of the things that I loved most about the others.  It does not focus as much on the geography or mythology of the Discworld and it leaves quantum physics and layered multiverse realities almost entirely out of the equation.  The characters were fantastic though – more relatable and funnier than any others so far – and Pratchett’s tongue in cheek yet scathing analysis of humanities worst qualities is on point.

27. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
July 15, 2016
Beautiful book about two brothers working as guns for hire during the California gold rush.  Told from the point of view of the sensitive (for a sociopath) and lonely younger brother, Eli, the tale is darkly comedic and artfully told.

26. Life II by Scott Spotson
July 2, 2016
Another time travel book. This one with some interesting restrictions.  You can only go back to a time when you were alive and you immediately take the place of your previous self.  So, really time travel is a way of getting a re-do.

25. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
June 28, 2016
Time traveling serial killer. So. Good.

24. Mrs. Dumont by Alessandra Torre
June 16, 2016
smut, smut, smut.  Not even good smut. But I read it.

23. Escape from Baghdad by Saad Z. Hosssain
June 14, 2016
Catch 22 meets Foucault’s Pendulum meets the Hurt Locker?  Not sure what this book was or what it was about.  But I read it.

22. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
June 5, 2016

I love Neil Gaiman and you should too.  This excellent novel is being turned into a show on Starz.  It’s going to be amazing.  Read the post for more.

21. The Oddfits by Tiffany Tsao
May 28, 2016

Ever feel like you just don’t belong?  Well… maybe you don’t.  Maybe you are an oddfit and this world, the more known world, isn’t your true home.

20. Pyramids – Discworld #7 by Terry Pratchett
May 15, 2016

“Everything that was magical was just a way of describing the world in ways it could not ignore.” nuff said.

19. Lexicon by Max Barry
May 9, 2016
A thriller about language, persuasion, conspiracies, and the power of love.

18. The Cartel by Don Winslow
May 7, 2016
Set in Mexico and America in the recent past/present day.  This novel takes on America’s war on drugs.  The characters, while fictional, are based on real people including Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.  This novel is a follow up to Winslow’s The Power of the Dog, but it is not necessary to read it to appreciate The Cartel.

17. Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
April 25, 2016
The first book in the Kingkiller Chronicle.  Narrated by the wunderkind hero and taking place in two timelines, the story is an epic adventure full of magic, faeries, vengeance, and (of course) love.

16. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
April 14, 2016
Beautifully written auotbiographical fiction.

15. It’s TIME: Themes and Imperatives for Mathematics Education, A Leadership Framework for Common Core Mathematics by the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics
April 5, 2016
A call to action with suggestions for implementing changes for math education leaders.

14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
March 28, 2016
Year 7… I was on a roll.

13. Speak by Louisa Hall
March 15, 2016
A novel told in many voices about humanity, artificial intelligence, and the intersection of the two.

12. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
March 8, 2016
Harry’s 6th year at Hogwarts

11. The Wyrd Sisters – Discworld #6 by Terrry Pratchett
February 29, 2016
Somewhere in the multiverse, specifically on the discworld, MacBeth was written by a dwarf (think Gimli, not Tyrion Lannister) and based on true events.

10. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
February 26, 2016
Short stories about belonging, love, family, loss and so much more set in America and India. lovely.

9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
February 20, 2016
Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts.

8. Cuckoo’s Calling by JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith
February 12, 2016
Hard boiled noir novel featuring private eye Cormoran Strike solving the mystery of starlet, Luna Landry’s, apparent suicide.

7. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
February 8, 2016
Twelve orphaned kids are raised in what may be an alternate dimension by a being that may be God.  Fantasy, mystery, action, mythology… This book has it all.

6. All This Life by Joshua Mohr
January 26, 2016
A novel about social media, connectivity and isolation.

5. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
January 22, 2016
This book was overdue from the library and I couldn’t renew it because there were holds, so I had to pay 10¢ per day to finish it and it wasn’t worth it.  Sentimental pap.

4. A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer
January 11, 2016
The title is a pretty good synopsis of this book.  This was the first nonfiction account of North Korea I have read and I already added two others to my TBR list.

3. Crap is Not a Bad Word!: and Other Topics Polite People Don’t Discuss by Jimmy Norman
January 3, 2016
Jimmy Norman has a blog called Dysfunctional Literacy.  It’s really funny.  I don’t know Jimmy.  I just stumbled upon his blog today and downloaded and read his book. The interwebs are a vast and wondrous thing.

2. North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud.
I also started this one in 2015, but finished it on January 2, 2016.
In truth, I took a break from it because I could not put The Orphan Master’s Son down. This is a collection of terrifying short stories.  Vampires, reanimated corpses, skinheads, neglectful parents… all the scary stuff.

1. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson.  
I started this one in 2015, but finished it on January 1, 2016.  It inspired me to learn more about North Korea.  We’ll see if I follow through on that one.

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