LOOKING BACK ON 2016 THROUGH BOOKS
I read 102 books in 2016.
You think I would be congratulating myself, but I’m not. Sometimes I think I need a 12-Step program for book addicts (I actually googled it to see if one existed!) Looking back on 2016, I think reading was the one thing I focused on throughout the year. It was a year of transition, a year of changes. After having a job for 27 years, my office closed at the end of 2015. I thought, whoopee! early retirement! But, life gets in the way. By the GRACE OF GOD, not having a job to go to every day gave me the time to take care of my mother. I became her caregiver and eventually moved her into memory care in April. While that wasn’t the end of it, it has become manageable. I still can’t have a full-time job in the regular sense, but I do have more time to pursue what I want to do. So, 2017 is going to be my year!
To make sense of 2016, I decided to look through the books I read and see if there was any distinct pattern to my choices. There is, and there isn’t. So – I decided to categorize them. The following saying should be my motto!
FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR: ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr – while brutal, it was also magical.
MOST INSPIRING: THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, NINE AMERICANS AND THEIR EPIC QUEST FOR THE GOLD AT THE 1936 BERLIN OLYMPICS by Daniel James Brown – this is going to be a great movie!
BOOK I SHOULD HAVE REREAD BEFORE NOW: ANNE FRANK: THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank with forward by Eleanor Roosevelt – I finished this on Christmas morning. Everyone should reread this as an adult.
I also found three Nancy Drew books of mine at my mother’s house and reread them all. I thoroughly enjoyed them! I found this inscription inside THE BUNGALOW MYSTERY. Mrs. Jones was my Girl Scout leader, I was 9 years old. Reading has always been a part of my life apparently.
Also, one thing I said I was going to do since I wasn’t working 9a-5p was join a book club. I joined three that I go to (one meets every other month). Here are some books I really liked that I might not have read had it not been for a book club.
EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU by Celeste Ng – I was hooked on the first line “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.”
THE SPARROW: A NOVEL by Mary Doria Russell – the book shifts between 2016 and 2060. It has been called a “moral” novel – I’d agree with that.
NECESSARY LIES by Diane Chamberlain – I learned about the dark “secret” of Eugenics.
A THOUSAND NAKED STRANGERS: A PARAMEDIC’S WILD RIDE TO THE EDGE AND BACK by Kevin Hazzard – This was a fun book written about a paramedic in Atlanta.
LEAVING TIME by Jodi Picoult – this has one of the most surprising endings I have EVER READ. And I fell in love with the culture elephants keep.
THE TEMPEST TALES by Walter Moseley – another book with moral implications with the struggle between Tempest Landrey, St. Peter and the devil.
I also travelled around the world with reading. This is partly because I am in a reading challenge to read around the world.
THE HUNGRY TIDE by Amitav Ghosh introduced me to the Sundarbans off the coast of India and Bangladesh.
TERRA INCOGNITA: TRAVELS IN ANTARTICA by Sara Wheeler taught me a lot, and made me want to learn more! I watched a couple of documentaries about Antartica as a result of reading this.
I realized my “go to” books tend to be mysteries. The creepiest book was BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B.A. Paris. I received a free copy of this book through a drawing. A few days after getting the book, I received a letter form a character in the book asking for help. I also received a postcard from a character from New Zealand, which didn’t make sense until I read the book. It is one of the best marketing campaigns I’ve ever seen.
One of the most delightful finds was a book based on the Masterpiece Theater’s production of THE DURRELLS OF CORFU. This is loosely based on the book MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS by Gerald Durrell. I was happy to find this is the first of a trilogy that I will finish in 2017.
I had never read ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.H. Montgomery, which is another book I found cleaning out my mom’s house. I went on to read three books in the series.
I am in an alzheimers support group, so I put together a reading list for them. You can see that list here.
I read 4 books about making vision boards – and I’m putting together workshops to do just that.
And, there are several books I just didn’t remember – I had to look them up on Amazon to refresh my memory (there were 8).
Where is my reading going to take me in 2017? I will continue reading around the world, with reading a book written by a European next. Also, I will resume my reading around the U.S. – reading an author from each state. I’m up to Idaho for this challenge.
I’m going to read some classics – and top of the list is THE ODYSSEY – which I have somehow never read. I am going to strive to not have non-memorable books in the mix. I want to read deeper. AND – I’m going to try to read only 1/2 hour in the morning, and not read prior to 7P in the evenings M-F.
I’d love to hear about other people’s journey with books. Here is my mom and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.