This was a good year for reading. I had more time to read than any year since I got pregnant with L. According to Goodreads, I read 69 books, though that number includes a few I read to L and probably doesn’t include a couple I re-read.
5 stars books for 2016:
Euphoria, by Lily King – This was my all-time favorite. I listened to the Audiobook, and I recommend reading it that way if you have the time. My Goodreads review:
Nell, her husband Fen, and Bankson and anthropologists in in New Guinea in the 1930s. Nell is passionate and talented and has recently authored a highly successful book. Fen is jealous of his wife and insecure. And Bankson is terribly lonely and struggling with his own demons. The three of them come together in the wilds of New Guinea.
For me, Euphoria is a beautiful love story. I can’t help but thoroughly enjoy the two narrators. They are highly likable. The setting of the story itself is fascinating. Not just New Guinea, but the 1930s, and hearing about these old-time anthropologists and what that life must have been like.
I listened to this on MP3, and the narrators were excellent.
A Kim Jong-Il Production – My interest in North Korea continues. My Goodreads review:
I’m not surprised that I loved this book. I find North Korea generally fascinating, and one of my all-time favorite books is Nothing To Envy, also about the DPRK. A Kim Jong-Il Production describes the abduction of a South Korean producer and director and his ex-wife and former muse in the early 80s. Apparently kidnapping was all too common in the DPRK at this time. Literally thousands of people were kidnapped, and most were never heard from again.
Kim Jong-Il turns out to be a huge film buff. Who would have guessed? Of course, film is very useful to dictators as an instrument of propaganda. Jong-Il, however, is very frustrated by the quality of film in North Korea and contrasts his minions’ efforts negatively with the movies of Hollywood and South Korea. Enter Shin and Choi. North Korea’s filmmakers are severely hampered by never being allowed to view films made outside their nation. Shin can teach them how to make high quality films. Choi is bait and a sweetener.
My Year of Running Dangerously – This was a surprisingly good book on running. Usually sports books feel a little simplistic. I couldn’t put this one down. My Goodreads review:
Tom Foreman is a long-time runner who’s let life and work slow him down. His daughter challenges him to run a marathon with her, and he takes her up on her offer. Later, he decides to take on a 50-mile trail run.
I’m a long-time runner on a running kick, and I just could not put this down. It’s hard to put my finger on why I enjoyed reading it so much. Foreman just has a very approachable writing style and manages not to be annoying or conceited, unlike many memoirists trumpeting their accomplishments. His self-deprecation actually comes of as rather genuine.
I’ve shunned longer runs lately due to the constraints of two small children. This book didn’t exactly tempt me to run an ultra, but I did think perhaps another half marathon is in order.
Four-star books included Taking Flight, This Road I Ride, It’s All About The Bike, The Secret Race, Quiet, The Summer Before the War, Brooklyn, Speak, Our Souls At Night, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, The Constant Gardener, The Nightingale, and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The books in bold are the ones that stick out for me reviewing the list now.
The worst books this year were A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, The Testament of Mary, and Satin Island. There were plenty of other mediocre 2-star books mixed in as well.
According to Goodreads, I give books an average rating of 3.3. I try to horde the 4 and 5 star ratings and to be brutal when I find books really poor, in order to make ratings more meaningful.
L and I got through a fair few chapter books this year. My favorites were Little House In The Big Woods and Matilda.
I’m looking forward to another great year of books in 2017.