As 2016 winds down, I wanted to reflect on my first year of running Leslie’s Bookcase.
I started my new website and blog on June 1, 2016. I planned to read and write about the books already sitting in my own bookcase. Well, as it turns out, 1) many of those books had been sitting there so long for a reason – because I wasn’t too excited about reading them; and 2) thanks to my new status as a “book blogger” I received access to some pre-releases. Well, this access resulted in my being super excited about reading new books (instead of the ones sitting in my bookcase), so I continued through 2016 reading mostly new releases.
To wrap up 2016, I decided to rank my favorite books published in the past year. Disclaimers: I have not read even close to all of the books that should be considered for such a list; I have not even made it through my fall-winter reading list yet. If my full-time job was to read books I would probably have a much different list! But, I read what I read, making a good effort to keep up with the buzz and what books most interested me.
To narrow to my five favorites, I imagined all of the new books I’ve read on a shelf, and if I was allowing myself to only keep five, what would they be? Which books would I be most confident handing to someone else and saying, “Here, read this”? With that said, here are my favorites from 2016:
Leslie’s favorite books published in 2016
- My absolute favorite is…A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel by Amor Towles. I love the main character who is sentenced to house arrest in a luxury hotel, the writing, and the memorable scenes. This is a beautiful and smart book. It amazes me still, and I look forward to reading it again someday. I loved this book so much I named it as my favorite book of the year a couple of months ago, confident this wouldn’t change. It didn’t. READ MY PREVIOUS POST ON A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW.
- I’m putting The Terranauts: A Novel second….It is very fresh in my mind so even though I know it would be in my top 5, its position as second may be due to it being so recent. Not sure. Anyway, this book about eight scientists chosen to live in a “terrarium” was so engrossing and entertaining for me. READ MY PREVIOUS POST ON THE TERRANAUTS.
- Third place goes to The Nix: A novel. This is surprising even to me because it is too long, and I almost quit reading it. Still, I loved it, and especially some of the most bizarre parts. I’m not sure I would hand this to someone to read, but nevertheless it is one of my favorites. READ MY PREVIOUS POST ON THE NIX.
- My fourth favorite is Everyone Brave is Forgiven. I read a lot of WWII novels this year and will be putting together a post on these in the new year. This one was my favorite WWII read that was actually published this year. I learned a lot about the London bombings from it and included a good love triangle/story. READ MY PREVIOUS POST ON EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN.
- I’m capping off my list with the delightful book about the value of happiness, The Invoice: A Novel. This book was quirky and not for everyone. But when I imagine taking it off my shelf, I just can’t! READ MY PREVIOUS POST ON THE INVOICE.
My most popular posts of the year
Now my readers get their say about what they most enjoyed reading about this year. Here are my posts that got the most page views this year (ranked in order).
- All the Missing Girls: Clear your schedule and read this book now
- Seven books I want to read again right now
- Why I love old books
- Fall-Winter 2016 Book Preview & Reading List
- When literature and TV collide
Some of these were surprising to me! Number 1 was my first “real review”; thanks to a Pinterest pin taking off, it got a lot of hits. Number 3 was my first ever post on my new blog! Number 5 was about my favorite TV show of the year, HBO’s The Night Of. LOVED THIS SHOW!!
What’s up for 2017
In 2017, I will continue to read as many new books as I can, will still talk about Ulysses around Bloomsday, and plan to concentrate some on some activism-related reading and promoting, especially books about the environment and social justice.
Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!
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