What I Read in 2016

26 Dec

I’ve been looking forward to doing my reading round-up for a while. I made it to 51 books this year (so far – I’m sure I’ll squeeze in another before the very end), not beating my 2015 score of 64, mostly because I was driving to work for a few months. It’s the usual mix of literary, YA and trash – but I’ve also really got into non-fiction lately and read some absolute corkers.

As always, I’ve bolded those I’d particularly recommend. It’s quite a few this time.

  1. A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk
  2. Asking for It by Louise O’Neill (A devastating look at rape culture. Everyone needs to read this)
  3. Be Awesome by Hadley Freeman
  4. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (A super fun fantasy YA – sharpshooting in the desert)
  5. The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury
  6. Iron Council by China Mieville (I always think about CM’s books for years after reading them. Iron Council no exception. Fantasy with poison barbs)
  7. A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab (This brilliant fantasy series continues. GREAT characters + masterful plotting = an excellent read)
  8. White Lies by Zoe Markham
  9. Lean Out by Dawn Foster
  10. The Boy Who Cried Blood by Den Patrick
  11. Half Lost by Sally Green
  12. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski (I have to admit it took me a while to warm up to this series, but the finale was magnificent. Fantasy romance with complex leads)
  13. The Greek Gods: A History by (Not sure where my physical copy went and I can’t find it online anywhere! Anyone know who wrote this?)
  14. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  15. An Octopus in My Ouzo by Jennifer Barclay (Autobiographical story of life on a Greek island)
  16. The Bees by Laline Paull (The Handmaid’s Tale set in a beehive)
  17. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (It’s Orwell…come on…)
  18. Summoner: The Inquisition by Taran Matharu
  19. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  20. The Potter’s House by Rosie Thomas
  21. And I Darken by Kiersten White (Fabulous alternate-history YA. What if Vlad the Impaler was a girl?)
  22. The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies
  23. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  24. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (A Himba girl faces tentacle monsters in space in this fascinating novella of culture clash)
  25. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  26. The Past by Tessa Hadley (Stunning prose in this literary look at a family reuniting)
  27. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (Weeping. Weeping forever)
  28. The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance
  29. The Territory by Sarah Govett
  30. The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig
  31. Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott
  32. The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale (My fave read this year. Non-fic exploration of one of the Victorian era’s most scandalous crimes and its aftermath)
  33. The Entrepreneurial State by Mariana Mazzucato
  34. Getting Things Done by David Allen
  35. How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb
  36. The Girls by Emma Cline
  37. Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (Saw the play a couple of years ago and Bazarov was really hot. Less so in the book!)
  38. The Graces by Laure Eve
  39. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (You have to read this in conjunction with the first book in the duology, Six of Crows, to really appreciate the character dynamics. This YA fantasy series transcends its ‘parent’ trilogy, the Grisha, creating a breathtaking, un-put-down-able read that I HIGHLY recommend)
  40. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  41. The Young Romantics by Daisy Hay (Fascinating, absorbing non-fic about Shelley, Byron, Clare Claremont and Queen Mary Shelley, who put up with so much nonsense from Percy, I was raging)
  42. The Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin
  43. Mother of Eden by Chris Beckett (This one wasn’t quite as good as Dark Eden, the first in the series, but Mother of Eden was so interesting in its look at how hierarchy and patriarchy develop in a fledgling society. Also, Starlight Brooking is my new idol)
  44. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
  45. The Muse by Jessie Burton (Much better than her first book, I’ve got to say)
  46. Full Dark, No Stars by Steven King (Scary stories by the master)
  47. SPQR by Mary Beard (Seneca is still my Roman granddad)
  48. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (I’m so torn about this one. I know lots of people loved it and that’s why I picked it up. I enjoyed it enormously and found it incredibly interesting, but also a bit pretentious. Looks at motherhood and gender through the lens of critical theory/philosophy)
  49. I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Assorted (Although this wasn’t an absolute fave, if you’re looking for a last minute Christmassy read, do pick this YA collection up – it’s in support of Crisis and there are some lovely stories in it)
  50. East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity by Philippe Sands (My last amazing non-fic of the year. Highly relevant, highly disturbing, highly moving. A genocide lawyer traces the stories of two legal giants who contributed to the Nuremberg trials, as well as that of his own grandfather – all three Jews from the same area.)
  51. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (All I can say is DAMN, THAT PROSE <3)


2 Responses to “What I Read in 2016”

  1. jasminemetcalfe December 26, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    Loads to add to my want to read list. I am going to copy and do a reading roundup too. So fun 🙂

    • catherinequeenwrites December 26, 2016 at 11:27 am #

      Yes, do! It’s so handy to look back at when someone asks what I’d recommend, and also to compare across the years.

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