Don’t mind me while I brush away some cobwebs and dust from my little corner of the Internet. This blog has been rather neglected. The new year stretches out ahead of me, though, and I’m determined to be here more often.
But before I charge into 2017, I want to look back at some of the books I read in 2016. Over the course of the year, I finished 66 books. Some I read for pleasure and some for my three book clubs. (Yes, that’s right, I’m in three book clubs. Totally normal, right?) Below are the 12 books I enjoyed the most, in the order in which I read them. Have you read any of these? What books should I put on my 2017 To Be Read list? Let me know in the comments.
The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes
I read this as part of a reading challenge I took on last year. This one filled the “already at least once” slot. I read this book five years ago and remembered loving it. So much so that for days, weeks, months after reading it, when someone asked me for a book suggestion, I would answer with this book.
A spirit narrates the story of a flat in Dublin and how the occupants’ lives intersect. Eventually the identity of the spirit is revealed, but I’m not spoiling it here! This book has everything I love – quirky characters, interesting situations, hints being dropped and funny resolutions.
I was afraid I wouldn’t like it the second time around, but I think I love it even more. Putting this one in my top five books ever.
The Murder of Roger Akroyd by Agatha Christie
Also part of the reading challenge. This one filled the “recommended by local librarian or bookseller” slot when my library director picked it for me. I love Agatha Christie, but hadn’t read this one. Told in first person by Dr. Sheppard, the story revolves around the murder of Mr. Roger Akroyd. Ooh, but there also secrets and blackmail afoot! And a twist I didn’t see coming. No spoilers here. Pure and simple: Agatha was a master.
The Rosie Project
This was a library discussion group read and one of the funniest books I’ve read in ages. Like laugh-out-loud-even-though-you’re-in-the-work-breakroom funny.
Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
Read this one for my more social book club. (Because, let’s be honest, the books are just an excuse to get together, go out to eat and catch up on everyone’s lives!) Another funny read. And, I must say, I totally agree with his take on vegetables.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Another one for my social book club. This was from when I presented several books that were turned into Oscar nominated or award-winning films. Creepy and haunting.
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Another library discussion group read and one that illustrates why I love book clubs. It’s very unlikely I ever would have chosen this on my own, but I really enjoyed it. The Wrights were amazing. Who would have thought two bicycle builders from Ohio would be the first to fly? (Bonus: We were planning a trip to the Outer Banks that summer when I read this. It was fun to actually see the places mentioned in the books while on our trip.)
Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
One of my favorite mystery writers. Devoured this in one night.
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Paige read this book and recommended it to me. Love the message that kids learn differently and labels don’t define their value.To all the teachers like Mr. Daniels in the book, thank you!
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Read this one for my library discussion group. I laughed. I cried. I wanted to move to Whistle Stop. What a wonderful collection of interesting, quirky characters who really came alive to me. (Also, enough cannot be said about the beauty of a book with short chapters.)
Resolutions by Jenn Faulk
Sometimes free downloads on the Kindle are “meh.” This Christian fiction novel was not to me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. (So much so, I downloaded another of hers.)
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Wow. There are some books that stay with you after you read them. For me, this is one of them. Rashad, a black teenager, is beaten up by a white policeman who thinks he was trying to steal from the local convenience store. (Spoiler: he wasn’t. ) Quinn, a white teenager, witnesses the brutality inflicted by the cop, who happens to be a big brother/father figure to him. He struggles to cope with the situation. A fascinating, and a bit anxiety-inducing, read that provides perspective from both sides of the racial divide.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This one wrapped up my reading challenge (a book “you should have read in school’). It took more focus/brain power to read than modern fiction. In fact, I switched to reading it on the Kindle so I could quickly look up words to verify meanings. I so wasn’t ready to leave Pemberley when the book ended.