Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 books

I had a good year of reading, with a number of terrific books rolling through in December alone. I've been putting off making my list with the notion I might be able to stuff just one more in, but with 14 hours of 2016 left, it's not going to happen.

It wasn't a great year as politics goes, but Bob Dylan did win the Nobel Prize and I will never forget sitting at my desk flushed with surprise and delight, then spending days rebutting the naysayers. I found out I don't like Elena Ferrante, nor do I care who she is *in real life.* There were a number of books that underwhelmed, including Half a Life and Blood Will Out, which was very disappointing. Where did I get that book? 

Here are my favorite reads pretty much, though it is terribly difficult to make choices. I bolded 10 highlights below, but there are some others of course that almost made it.  

Best fiction: So Much For That Winter by Dorthe Nors, A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
Best poetry: Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon, The End of the West by Michael Dickman, Death Tractates by Brenda Hillman 
Best non-fiction: The Three Christs of Ypsilanti by Milton Rokeach
Other: The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano

1. The Dinner by Herman Koch (Jan 3)
2. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Jan 7)
3. What the Truth Tastes Like by Martha Silano (Jan 16)
4. Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien (Jan)
5. Zinky Boys by Svetlana Alexievich (Jan 27)
6. Chocky by John Wyndham (Jan 29)
7. Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon (Feb 6)
8. Hotel World by Ali Smith (Feb 7)
9. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (Feb 18)
10. Swoop by Hailey Leithauser (Feb 20)
11. Shockwave by Stephen Walker (Feb 22)
12. The Scented Fox by Laynie Browne (Feb 29)
13. The Three Christs of Ypsilanti by Milton Rokeach (Feb 29)
14. Blood Will Out by Walter Kirn (Mar 3)
15. Kindred by Octavia Butler (Mar 17)
16. The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart by Deborah Digges (Mar 19)
17. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Mar 27)
18. Heartsnatcher by Boris Vian (April 6)
19. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (April 21)
20. There Was An Old Woman by Jessy Randall (May 2)
21. Five Days At Memorial by Sherry Fink (May 17)
22. Selected Translations by WS Merwin (May 28)
23. Universal Themes in Literature by Howie Good (online chap, May 29)
24. The Vegetarian by Kang Han (June 3)
25. The Book of Embraces by Eduardo Galeano (June)
26. The Possessed by Elif Batuman (June 25)
27. Half a Life by Darin Strauss (Jul 1)
28. The End of the West by Michael Dickman (Jul 3)
29. Small Boat by Lesle Lewis (Jul 5)
30. Sight Lines by Sandra Marchetti (online chap, Jul 5)
31. drip, drip by Lizi Gilad (online chap, Aug 1)
32. Stone Bruises by Simon Beckett (Aug 11)
33. Death Tractates by Brenda Hillman (Aug 11)
34. Where There’s Smoke by Simon Beckett (Aug 13)
35. It Is Such a Good Thing to Be in Love With You by David Welch (Sep 2)
36. A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel (Sep 16)
37. Ochre by Gla4 (online chap, Sep 18)
38. 102 Minutes: Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers - Jim Dwyer (Sep 27)
39. Misery by Stephen King (Sep 29)
40. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden (Oct 25)
41. Seven Years by Peter Stamm (Oct 17)
42. Crash by JG Ballard (Nov 1)
43. Chinoiserie by Karen Rigby (Nov 1)
44. The hows and why of my failures by Dan Nowak (chapbook, Nov 5)
45. Lovely Green Eyes by Arnost Lustig (Nov 12)
46. Pigeons in the Grass by Wolfgang Koeppen (Nov 23)
47. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (Nov 27)
48. Mislaid by Nell Zink (Dec 5)
49. So Much For That Winter by Dorthe Nors (Dec 9)
50. Arthur and George by Julian Barnes (Dec 16)
51. The Immortality of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Dec 25)
52. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett (Dec 27)

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