2016 End of Year Book Survey

Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 92
Number of Audiobooks: 6
Number of Rereads: 5
Number Unfinished/Abandoned: 8


Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and ScientologyTroublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, so I listened to this on audio, which I think made it just that much more amazing.

Leah is a complete badass and spills ALL THE TEA. All of it. Every last drop. My girl names names and everything. ALL OF THE NAMES.

I love this book. Love, love, love. Remini is fierce and funny and also a little hood, which I completely appreciated.

Read Harder 2016: Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction)

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2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, let me say that I liked this book in general. It was a little slow to start, which was fine. I figured out what was going to make Cath turn out to match the epigraph at the beginning of the book pretty early on, which was also fine. The way that whole ending presented itself didn’t happen in any way I predicted, which was super A+.

However, I found the ending unsatisfactory.

Also, I definitely started having way more sympathy for Mary Ann (Cath’s maid) than Cath around the midpoint of the novel and that didn’t change at all by the time the book ended.

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3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

Archie, Vol. 1: The New RiverdaleArchie, Vol. 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this so, so much. It was everything I ever wanted from Archie but didn’t know I needed.

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4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Silver SparrowSilver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book. Well-drawn and sympathetic characters…even when I didn’t want them to be.

3/31/16: I got to pick for book club (finally!) and picked this one. I feel the exact same way about the book that I did the first time, so yay for that. These characters break my heart.

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5a. Best series you started in 2016?

Alex + Ada, Vol. 1Alex + Ada, Vol. 1 by Jonathan Luna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautiful artwork and it was actually kind of sweet. Aw.

Alex’s grandmother is the best, naturally.

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5b. Best Sequel of 2016?

To Catch a Cheat (The Great Greene Heist, #2)To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars, rounding up

I love everything about this book (okay, almost everything, hence the 1/2 star deduction), including the cover. So fun! It gave me a happy.

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5c. Best Series Ender of 2016?

A Tangle of Gold (The Colours of Madeleine, #3)A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is really, really, REALLY hard for books or movies or TV shows to surprise me, and this book did. Also, Princess Ko is the absolute best. I 100% love her, and she has entered the pantheon of my favorite female characters, the likes of which include Ella from Ella Enchanted.

Overall, I give the entire series five stars, and The Cracks in the Kingdom is my favorite in the trilogy.

View all my reviews

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

The CrossoverThe Crossover by Kwame Alexander

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was both exactly what I expected and not at all what I expected, so that was impressive.

Listened to the audio. Narration was excellent & it’s a fast listen. Two thumbs up for that as well.

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8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The MothersThe Mothers by Brit Bennett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this in pretty much one sitting (minus a brief break or two for real life inconveniences like family obligations, etc.).

This has many things I like: teen pregnancy, female friendship, complicated family relationships and friendships, a strong narrative voice.

I also love and appreciate the ~*layers*~ of meaning the title has (that’s not sarcasm, either).

View all my reviews

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

A Tangle of Gold (The Colours of Madeleine, #3)A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is really, really, REALLY hard for books or movies or TV shows to surprise me, and this book did. Also, Princess Ko is the absolute best. I 100% love her, and she has entered the pantheon of my favorite female characters, the likes of which include Ella from Ella Enchanted.

Overall, I give the entire series five stars, and The Cracks in the Kingdom is my favorite in the trilogy.

View all my reviews

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

shadowshaper

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Sofia Khan from Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

Last Night I Sang to the MonsterLast Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a sad and beautiful book about a sad and beautiful boy, and it just wormed its way right into my heart. Also, it almost made me cry! Twice! But in the best possible way.

Anyway, this was a joy to read, and even though it is sad, it’s still full of hope and love, and I am just really happy this book exists.

View all my reviews

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move ForwardNecessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Me: I have been reading this book forever. I am going to finish it today because I am sick of saying I’m still reading it.

Mom: Sounds like you need to make a necessary ending on that book.

Me: Yes, exactly.

There is a lot of really useful and helpful information in this book, and I got a lot out of it. Most of it is stuff I had already learned, but I did learn some new strategies and think about some situations differently, both in the NE group I was in that made me decide to read the book and in the book itself. For example, I learned that I didn’t actually hate my job; I was just burnt out so needed to end some of the practices around it. I also had to make a personal necessary ending, which I probably wouldn’t have cast in those terms before. So, you know. Useful.

I think it took me so long because the writing is kind of dry and I kept reading it right before bed. Also, I lost the book for about a week, which didn’t help with the whole finishing it part. But it’s done now, and that’s all that matters.

If you’re trying to figure out how to end something you know you need to but don’t know how, this book may be helpful to you and I recommend it.

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14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounding up

Great characters, EXCELLENT ending. Also, Lin-Manuel Miranda is an A+ narrator. Will review on the blog.

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15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

From The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner:
We learned about heroin in the D.A.R.E. Program, when Officer Randolph came to talk to all the fifth graders about drugs. We had to watch a movie, and in the heroin part, these raggedy, greasy-haired people were sitting around a smoky room, sticking needles in their arms.
Abby looks nothing like those people. She washes her hair every day and pulls it into a bouncy, curly ponytail.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

32 and 734 pages, respectively

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

A Tangle of Gold (The Colours of Madeleine, #3)A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is really, really, REALLY hard for books or movies or TV shows to surprise me, and this book did. Also, Princess Ko is the absolute best. I 100% love her, and she has entered the pantheon of my favorite female characters, the likes of which include Ella from Ella Enchanted.

Overall, I give the entire series five stars, and The Cracks in the Kingdom is my favorite in the trilogy.

View all my reviews

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

I have to say that Mark Waid’s Archie [see #3] had me actively rooting for Betty & Archie (and usually I am firmly AGAINST them).

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The parent/child relationships in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe are A+++.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Storied Life of A. J. FikryThe Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first started this book, I didn’t think I would like it, but I very quickly changed my mind. This was really sweet (but not twee) and very engaging. Great characters.

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21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book strange yet oddly compelling. In fact, during some parts, I couldn’t stop reading it even though it felt like not much was happening.

I like that this was firmly rooted in reality (no zombies in this post-apocalyptic world). And also that it made me feel like I wouldn’t be completely useless if the apocalypse came. Mostly useless, for sure, but not completely.

Read Harder 2016: Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel

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22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

I fell a little bit in love with Daniel from The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

The MothersThe Mothers by Brit Bennett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this in pretty much one sitting (minus a brief break or two for real life inconveniences like family obligations, etc.).

This has many things I like: teen pregnancy, female friendship, complicated family relationships and friendships, a strong narrative voice.

I also love and appreciate the ~*layers*~ of meaning the title has (that’s not sarcasm, either).

View all my reviews

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book strange yet oddly compelling. In fact, during some parts, I couldn’t stop reading it even though it felt like not much was happening.

I like that this was firmly rooted in reality (no zombies in this post-apocalyptic world). And also that it made me feel like I wouldn’t be completely useless if the apocalypse came. Mostly useless, for sure, but not completely.

Read Harder 2016: Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel

View all my reviews

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Importance of Being EarnestThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Listened to the BBC full-cast production. This is super fun and has a lot of great commentary on gender and class.

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26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

Last Night I Sang to the MonsterLast Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a sad and beautiful book about a sad and beautiful boy, and it just wormed its way right into my heart. Also, it almost made me cry! Twice! But in the best possible way.

Anyway, this was a joy to read, and even though it is sad, it’s still full of hope and love, and I am just really happy this book exists.

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27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Seventh WishThe Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was upset about the censorship issues surrounding this book on GP. Now that I’ve read it, I’m even angrier.

This book is lovely and honest and necessary. The characters are wonderful, and it has so so much heart. We need to stop telling children what their experiences should be and let the books they read show what their experiences ARE.

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28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

The Girl in the BoxThe Girl in the Box by Ouida Sebestyen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, so I read this a long, long time ago and always remembered the ending and premise but nothing else about it, so when I saw it at the Friends of the Library sale, I grabbed it to reread.

THIS BOOK IS SO TRAUMATIC.

But it’s good and compelling and THAT ENDING. Man.

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29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

Zahrah the WindseekerZahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was super cute. Also, let’s be real: it’s hard for me not to like a book that includes a discussion of black hair politics and makes use of the trope of the talking book. Plus also, it’s a FRIENDSHIP BOOK and those are totally my jam, so.

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30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Re JaneRe Jane by Patricia Park

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Jane would never ever ever EVER EVER (view spoiler) NEVER EVER. That is fundamentally the core of the book and her character and having her do that means the author DOESN’T GET THE ORIGINAL since that is the WHOLE POINT OF THE STORY.

If this weren’t on my Kindle, I would’ve thrown the book across the room, I swear. Just…no. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

That would be like a Pride & Prejudice retelling where Darcy and Lizzie instantly hit it off and started dating. Or if Romeo & Juliet’s families didn’t hate each other. Or if Hamlet was just super happy about his uncle marrying his mom after his dad died and his dad’s ghost visited him saying that he had been murdered. Would Hamlet be all, “Wow, that sucks, Dad, but Mom is super happy with Uncle Claudius now, and I’m just happy for her so probably you should go haunt somebody else”? I mean, that is how ridiculous the whole plot point in Re Jane is. If (view spoiler), you are no longer telling the story of Jane Eyre, but doing something else.

So basically I had to stop reading because of that. Who knew I was such a purist?

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I don’t have time to get to the other questions this time (course prep awaits), and I almost didn’t do this at all (again: see time crunch), but I have enjoyed looking back on my answers from previous years. Maybe I’ll have some time later this week to add in the other questions. Here’s hoping.

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4 comments

  1. Pingback: It’s Monday & I go back to work TOMORROW | The Englishist
  2. Gathering Books

    Oh My, I am so glad to see people who loved Last Night I Sang to the Monsters by Benjamin Alire-Saez. I loved Aristotle and Dante, wrote a thorough review of it, but Last Night…ah I have read it twice and still I have yet to write about it. It’s definitely my soul in its varied faces written by someone I never met.
    You have an interesting reading list with such a wide genre, which I think is great.
    Btw, i love the blog name.

    -Iphigene

    Like

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