End of year reading lists & looking forward to the year ahead

It wouldn’t be the ending of the year and the beginning of a new one without the obligatory ‘best of’ list, full of books and movies I did not have time to read or see. I have to admit, it is something of a miracle that I managed to read as much as a did alongside all the classes I taught this year. Out of pure curiosity I decided to find out exactly how much I had read and went back through old diaries to compile a list of my own.

These are the books I did manage to read in 2016:

  1. Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith by Andrew Wilson (January)
  2. Silences by Tillie Olsen (February)
  3. Flashboys: Cracking the Money Code by Michael Lewis (February)
  4. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (March)
  5. The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in books by John Carey (March)
  6. Formations of Class and Gender by Beverley Skeggs (March)
  7. Up the Junction by Nell Dunn (March)
  8. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (March)
  9. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (April)
  10. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (May)
  11. At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedon, Being and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell (June)
  12. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (June)
  13. The Mistletoe Bride and Other Tales by Kate Mosse (July)
  14. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (August)
  15. A Mercy by Toni Morrison (August)
  16. A Short Residence in Sweden & Memoirs of the Author of ‘The Rights of Woman’ by Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin (September)
  17. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (October)
  18. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimer McBride (October)
  19. Sex Wars: A Novel by Marge Piercy (November)
  20. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  21. Peeling the Onion by Gunter Grass (December)
  22. Z: A novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler (December)
  23. When Breath becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (December) – review of this to follow

Looking back I actually did not do too badly. For some reason March seemed to have been a particularly productive reading month. What is also interesting looking down at the list was how many of titles were by women. This wasn’t a conscious decision but perhaps a reflection of my desire to know myself better through the lives and experiences of other women, both fictional or otherwise.

But no matter how much I read, it always feels as if there were so many more that I didn’t have time to get around to, books that made it onto my wish list but never any further.

So here are the ones that got away in 2016 (but I hope to find time for in 2017)

  1. Lonely City by Olivia Lang
  2. A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex and the Mind by Siri Hustvedt
  3. Today will be different by Maria Semple
  4. Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit
  5. My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
  6. The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New by Annie Dillard
  7. Finishing off Eddy Bellegueule by Edouard Louis
  8. White Blight by Athena Farrokhzad
  9. The Power by Naomi Alderman
  10. Transit by Rachel Cusk

I’d love to hear what my readers think so if you’ve read any of the 10 books above and want to leave me a comment then please feel free to do so. If there are any others that you think I should be readying then likewise let me know.


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