January 4, 2017

The reading year that was 2016

I have no excuse for the lack of posts for the past couple of months except to say that I didn't have a lot of time on my hands then to sit myself down, open Blogger, and write something decent about my latest readings. The last quarter of every year is always a busy time for me, what with my birthday month, my daughter's birthday, as well as the holidays all coming in, compressed in two short months. Add to that book club activities, get-togethers, and work, and that's the blog taking a backseat for a time.

But now I have time to do this! Well, it's really me finding time for this because if I let this idleness continue, I don't know how I could pull myself back up. After reading What Light, the book club's book for December, last month, I went through the rest of December without finishing a single book. Lincoln in the Bardo sits patiently by my bedside table, waiting to be picked up again, but always, there's still something else that I end up doing. To be fair, it was also our first holidays at the new house, so I spent a lot of time puttering about and decorating and attending to stuff that needed attention around the house.

So anyway. How was my reading for 2016? Goodreads has been kind enough (as always, every year) to summarize it for me.



More on "My Year in Books"
So I did manage to read 35 books last year, which isn't bad, I suppose, all things considered. I have reviews for more than half of that number, and that's not bad at all, either. (I'll find time to catch up on the review backlog, and soon!) Some of them were real gems (A Woman In Berlin, The Lies of Locke Lamora, to name a couple) but some were let-downs, even annoying (On the Road).

Here, my favorite reads for 2016, in no particular order:

(1) The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber - I'm kinda missing the Oasans. And Jesus Lover No. 5.
(2) The Round House by Louise Erdrich - Started out as a mystery, ended up as a novel about family and identity.
(3) The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentlemen Bastards, #1) by Scott Lynch - I will always listen to my husband's high fantasy recos because this was a blast!
(4) A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous (attributed to Marta Hillers) - Diary of a woman in Berlin during the end of World War II.
(5) The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling - All I can say is, I finally got to read it, and it was worth it.

A lot of these books were read because I wanted a blackout on my TFG bingo card, which was a lot of fun! I discovered authors and books I wouldn't even have bothered with had I not joined the challenge, so that was a good takeaway.

This year, I'm still joining the bingo challenges (team and individual) but I think I won't go for another blackout this time. One or two bingo patterns would make happy already.

As for the least favorites -- let's not.

Also last year was my first time to attend the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival, and I went with my good friend Benny. There, I met two foreign authors, Pulitzer winner Adam Johnson (The Orphan Master's Son) and Paula McLain (The Paris Wife).

Diminutive 4'11" me and over-six-feet-tall Adam Johnson :D

The very charming Paula McLain
Benny and I also met with the wonderful ladies of Penguin Random House International for a collaboration with the book club. This wouldn't have been possible without Honey, so thank you, again!

That's Jenny, Honey, and Christine of PRH with me and Benny :)
Speaking of book clubs, we also had a wonderful year over at TFG, and we celebrated our 6th anniversary last April. Most of us (if not all) are busy with our own stuff, which can't be helped, and of course that will inevitably affect our attendance every month for the discussions. But those of us who are able to attend every month make the most of each discussion, and we've never been disappointed.

All in all, it was a good reading year. So it wouldn't be too much to wish for a better, if not an equally good, year this 2017, right? :)

3 comments:

Lynai said...

The Book of Strange New Things is in my best reads list for 2016, too! Happy new (reading) year, Monique! :)

Louize DG said...

Yay for The Jungle Book!
Here, praying that 2017 will be kinder for us readers and bloggers. <3

themisanthropologist said...

35 is still better than 20! Wow, Marlon James! I don't think I can ever read that...

Aww, Locke Lamora! You should read the other 2 novels in the series.

Anna Karenina na!! :D