Friday, December 30, 2016

Favorite Books of 2016

I always end the year saying this is a list of my favorite books. It isn't a list of bestsellers, or the "Best Books" of 2016. It's the books I most enjoyed reading during the year. I picked these ten from the ones I gave 5 Stars to on Goodreads. And, even that list is not correct. While it says I read 146 books, my journal shows 150. It appears I didn't put a few books on Goodreads when I read them for Library Journal's forthcoming reviews.

But, the list is as close as I'm going to get to my favorites of the year. Just my personal list.

10. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald - A small Iowa town won't be the same after a woman from Sweden arrives, discovers her pen pal has died, and opens a bookstore with that friend's books.

9. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - Caught between the Russian and German armies in 1945, four teenagers join refugees flocking to the sea, hoping to escape.

8. Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell - A Quaker midwife hears all the stories in a Massachusetts mill town, post-Civil War, and needs to put together those stories to find a killer and arsonist.

7. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan - A librarian who loses her job shares her love of books by setting out for Scotland in a bookmobile.

6. Among the Wicked by Linda Castillo - Police Chief Kate Burkholder goes undercover to a reclusive Amish settlement in upstate New York.

5. The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller - A baker in Vermont falls in love with the country and music, in this delightful, atmospheric debut novel.

4. Murder in Containment by Anne Cleeland - In the latest Doyle & Acton mystery, Doyle realizes several recent murders are "containment murders" to keep other crimes a secret.

3. The Highwayman by Craig Johnson - A ghost story novella in which Sheriff Longmire and his friend, Henry Standing Bear, leave the county to help a patrolman who is receiving an officer's call for help. And, the voice sounds like that of a trooper who died years earlier.

2. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor - The first in the Chronicles of St. Mary's, stories of historians running amuck through time, and the chaos that ensues in a comic novel that includes romance, tragedy and history.

1. A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny - A mysterious map leads Gamache back to Three Pines as he tries to discover the truth in his new position, and protect four young cadets. Kindness and the truth as represented in a great character.

No nonfiction on my list this year, which isn't unusual for my reading. But, there are two debut novels, a few mysteries, a few favorite authors who are still writing at their best. It was a satisfying year for books.

I hope you found some books to love and remember in 2016. What were a few of your favorite books this year?


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Nice list. Thanks to you I discovered Linda Castillo this year, though I still have the new one (or two?) to read. I liked the Longmire too. Favorites:

Lou Berney, The Long and Faraway Gone
Brian McGilloway, Little Girl Lost
Rachel Caine, Ink and Bone
Elliot Chaze, Black Wings Has My Angel
Loren D. Estleman, Detroit is Our Beat: Tales of the Four Horsemen
Gordon McAlpine, Woman With a Blue Pencil
Adrian McKinty, Rain Dogs
Patricia Abbott, Shot in Detroit
Andrea Camilleri, Montalbano’s First Case and Other Stories
Ben H. Winters, Underground Airlines
James Sallis, Others of My Kind
Megan Abbott, You Will Know Me
Michael Connelly, The Wrong Side of Goodbye
Howard Waldrop, Things Will Never Be the Same: Stories 1980-2005
Tom Piazza, Why New Orleans Matters
Robert Silverberg, Musings and Meditations
Joyce Carol Oates, A Widow’s Story: A Memoir

Lesa said...

Jeff, I still need to read Lou Berney's book. I read his others, but just haven't had a chance to read that one, although people love it. And, I read one of Tom Piazza's other books about New Orleans. I'm glad you discovered Linda Castillo through me. Wishing you a good year of reading in 2017!

Miranda James said...

I tried the first Cleeland book but couldn't get beyond the bizarre premise of a protagonist who is basically a stalker. I had to wonder whether Scotland Yard would allow someone like that in a position where he could continue to break the law and behave in a criminal way. It was too creepy for me.

Kaye Barley said...

I always look forward to your "Best of" list. I loved this year's Louise Penny. I know I say that every year, but this one truly was outstanding. Another favorite this year was James Anderson's "Never Open Desert Diner."

Deb said...

The best book I read this year was the book I finished on January 1, 2016: Michel Faber's THE BOOK OF STRANGE NEW THINGS: Christians visit and evangelize to the inhabitants of a faraway planet. There's some rigorous "hard science", but the book is mostly concerned with philosophical questions about who we are and what we believe. It's earnest and uncynical without ever being sappy or bathetic, and it has some of the best world-building I've read in an SF book. Highly recommended.

Charlotte said...

So far this year I have read 67 books. I looked at my list on Goodreads to decide which book or books that I liked the best. I did find that I didn't care for some of them. I decide to pick out three authors that I found that I really enjoyed their books.
Susan Hill
M J Arlidge
Robert Doigoni
Thanks everyone for the books and authors that you have shared with us this year. I have found a lot of reading material from these comments.
My 2017 open up new pleasures from all our new books
Happy New Year each one of you with many rich blessings for the best year ever.
Lesa, thank you for making this available for all of us. You are the best.

Lesa said...

Miranda, I knew some people would have problems with Anne Cleeland's books. And, they continue to be a little "creepy".

Lesa said...

Kaye, A friend told me this past week that they were reading your favorite book, and really liking it! They must also follow you. :)

Lesa said...

Thank you, Deb. I'm always interested in other titles.

Lesa said...

What a beautiful greeting, Charlotte. Thank you! I'm sending my 2017 wishes to everyone tomorrow, but they definitely include good books for all of us!

Gram said...

I really enjoyed that Longmire adventure too. A few of those books are already on my t-b-r list and I'm now adding a few more. Thanks.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Gram. I hope you enjoy them.

Grandma Cootie said...

It would be hard to pick a favorite from this year's reads. I was able to read quite a few and enjoyed almost all of them, especially since I've allowed myself to finally stop reading a book if after several tries I just can't get into it. From your list I really enjoyed The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and the Chronicles of St. Mary's books are a treasure.

Happy New Year, looking forward to another year of books and great posts.

Grace Koshida said...

I had a few of the same titles in my top 10 list, but I did not give any 5 stars to the 122 books read in 2016:

Louise Penny, A Great Reckoning
R.J. Harlick, A Cold White Fear
Barbara Fradkin, Fire in the Stars
Ausma Zehanat Khan, The Language of Secrets
Julie Mulhern, Clouds in My Coffee
Claire Booth, The Branson Beauty
Gregg Hurwitz, Orphan X
Chris Holm, Red Right Hand
Craig Johnson, The Highwwayman
Mark Stevens, Buried by the Roan (audio)

Lesa said...

Grandma Cootie,

Yes! You do have to quit reading if the book doesn't fit. Happy New Year!

Lesa said...

And, you have a couple on your list, Grace, that I just didn't get a chance to read. Good list, too.

Marce said...

Great variety Lesa. Happy New Year to you.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Marce. Happy New Year to you as well!