I have always been a reader, but when I had kids and was working full-time, reading fell to the bottom of my priorities. I literally read ONE book in the years 2011 and 2013 and TWO books in both 2010 and 2012. You may note that I also had babies in those odd years, ha! In 2014 (aka: the first year in my adult life that I didn't have a full-time job) I joined a book club and read seven books, and I was so incredibly proud of myself. In 2015, I read 18 books. My GoodReads reading goal for 2016 was 25 books, which I didn't think I would achieve - that's more than two a month! In the end, I read 28 books - though admittedly a few of these were YA books that I read in a single evening. I have been having so fun much reading and recording my thoughts. I read so many books in my twenties that I can't even remember now. I wish I would have kept better track back then like I do now! I set a reading goal of 20 books in 2017, which is less than last year's goal only because in addition to going back to work, I also need to take six credits in the next six months to retain my teaching license, which is sadly going to take away from my personal reading time!
I don't have time share my feelings on all 28 books, but I will share the titles with their GoodReads ratings, as well as a few thoughts about some of the better (or worse) ones! If you have any books that you loved last year or have any thoughts on my reads and ratings, please let me know in the comments!!
- Britt Marie was Here by Fredrick Backman - I was pretty stingy on the five-star ratings this year. I had to be wowed...and this book was just such a perfect read for me. This is a follow-up to one of Backman's other books (listed below), but it could easily be read as a stand alone novel. Backman is has officially bumped John Irving off the favorite author pedestal after decades on top! ;) I love his writing style and will read anything and everything he writes!
- Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng - This book gutted me. It made me question every move I've ever made as a mother. I loved reading it and the subsequent discussion with my book club.
- My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrick Backman - I loved this story just slightly less that A Man Called Ove (new favorite book) and Britt-Marie. It was still a beautiful, well-told story, but there were some fairy tale bits that got a little drawn out.
- And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrick Backman - This is a novella that took me 20 minutes to read and had me practically sobbing at the end. It's beautiful and so, so sad.
- Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
- It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
- Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - While trying to explain the premise of this book to my husband, I realized it sounds really, really silly and juvenile, but it's not. It's so well-done and I truly loved this YA book!
- George by Alex Geno - Book for late elementary/middle grade students about a transgender child.
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
- The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
- Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
- The Good Girl by Mary Kubica - good read, but I figured out some of the "twists" pretty easily
- Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
- The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
- Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
- Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler - I wanted to love this book, because it's basically about people my age who grew up in a town just like mine in Northern WI. I saw the author speak and even and he was charming. But, I just didn't love it... :(
- The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison
- Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
- Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett - this was actually the second time I have read this. The first time I was much younger without children. My perspective has changed a LOT since then...
- All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
- The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert - this was my choice for book club one month because the author is the sister-in-law of someone I went to college with. I enjoyed the descriptions of Milwaukee, but the overall storyline was just lacking.
- Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt - middle grade book recommended by a friend. I wanted it to be twice as long...
- The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeny
- Mischling by Affinity Konar
- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult - Both this book and the one right above it have some pretty intense subject-matter. However, I felt like both of them could have been done a lot better.
- Life and Other Near Death Experiences by Camille Pagán - I was being generous when I gave this book two stars. It was horrible. So incredibly predictable and just dumb. I bought it for 2.99 during an Amazon sale...and I wish I had that 2.99 back to buy a chai latte instead.