For the bookish, an overview of what I read in 2016, with a few comments. Thanks to Goodreads for the neat organization.
Above: The title you can hardly read, top left, is My Mistake by Daniel Menaker, about being an editor at the New Yorker. (Another good old book about the New Yorker, from years ago, is called Here at the New Yorker.)
Elinor Lipman was not as good as I had hoped, but good enough that I read all her novels over the winter.
A fat book of delightful cat cartoons and stories from the New Yorker had been lent to me by Steve and John.
A Seaside Knitters mystery, Trimmed with Murder, transported me happily to the fictional town of Sea Harbor.
One of Us is long and harrowing and worthwhile.
Gay Seattle brought back memories of my 1970s, and filled me in on previous decades.
Get it While You Can is by Nick Jaina, who sometimes performs locally at the Sou’wester Lodge. His prose writing pleased me as much as his song writing—very much.
I have recommended Body Of Truth almost incessantly all year long.
Two great gardening books in the above patch: Oudolf: Hummelo and The New Shade Garden.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was useless to me.
The Road to Little Dribbling was perfection.
Gardening for the Home Brewer by my friend Debbie Teashon (with Wendy Tweaten) has a much nicer cover than that. AND Debbie is giving a talk about it THIS Wednesday night (January 18th) at Salt Pub in Ilwaco. I interrupt this book post for this announcement:
In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution, brought back so many memories for me of feminism in the 1970s. Little did I know I would be reliving a lot of it by the end of 2016.
I liked Lorrie Moore well enough to read three books by her close together.
The film Star Wars: The Force Awakens started a brief reading theme. My heart was broken at the end of Dec. 2016 when Carrie Fisher died.
Above: I adored the Elizabeth Howard Cazalet Chronicles series. I was lost in that world for days.
Our Kathleen got Crucial Conversations for free at work. I got some useful ideas from it. I wish I could say it solved all my communication problems.
Loving Eleanor ties in well with WWII books I read later in the year.
Being Mortal, PushOut, A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles – excellent.
Future Crimes began a spree of reading about internet woes.
Above: The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck was more my style.
Do You Believe in Magic?, about the science (or lack of it) of alternative medicine, is another book I have recommended frequently since reading it.
Felicia Day…not the best of the books about the social internet. Allan had checked it out because she had something vaguely to do with Joss Whedon (Buffy).
All gardening books by Dan Pearson were superb.
I was on a kick of reading books about internet bullying. Lindy West’s books had a good chapter on that. Above, you’ll also see Hate Crimes in Cyberspace and This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things on that topic.
To Helvetica and Back was an enjoyable cozy mystery, not as good as the always reliably good Susan Wittig Albert, here represented by Blood Orange.
Lower left title is So Rich So Poor, one of several books I read about class inequity. Another is, of course, White Trash. (Further back is $2 a Day.)
Chop Suey was a not quite as good a read as I wanted about Chinese Restaurants. Lab Girl was one of the best of my year. Girl on the Train had me in suspense, and I always love Laura Lippman’s mysteries.
I do not recommend the Farmer’s Market mystery series by Paige Shelton, even though I liked two other cozies by her earlier in the year. I think she might be writing too many series too fast!
I read Nella Last’s War before Nella Last’s Peace. Both are so wonderful, and I love her. The books are in reverse order in these photos, and so Jambusters came first in my reading. Before that came the telly show Home Fires, based on Jambusters, and Jambusters mentioned Nella Last, and so my “civilian live in WWII Britain” reading spree began.
Stranger in the House (about men coming home from WWII) and When the Children Came Home continued my WWII reading.
Above, more of my beloved Nella Last, and Murder at Lambswool Farm, the new Seaside Knitters mystery (a series about which I wrote a whole blog post in the past). An Agatha Raisin cozy, Pushing up Daisies, was fun and endearing even though I usually find the series not well written.
Liane Moriarty is a psychological suspense genius.
The gripping YA novel, Goodnight Mr. Tom, continued my WWII reading about evacuated children. The move adaptation was disappointingly off-plot, as was Housewife 49, made from Nella Last’s War and absolutely terribly different from the book.
I do not recommend A Thousand Naked Strangers; the flippant attitude toward patients of the author paramedic made me put the book down halfway through.
How We Lived Then, about civilan life in WWII Britain, had me completely absorved, and through that book, I learned about my favourite books of the year, Austerity Britain (here represented by the cover of A World to Build; each of the three huge David Kynaston volumes contains two books), Family Britain, and Modernity Britain.
New Yorker’s British correspondent Mollie Panter-Downs was oft quoted in the Kyanston histories, and above is her book of WWII short stories, Good Evening Mrs. Craven. January started with London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downs, now another favourite. I wish her peacetime columns would be made into a book.
More political reading: I had checked out What’s the Matter with Kansas, whose liberal (my kind of) author did not like Bobos in Paradise much…which I had coincidentally checked out at the same time. (I found Bobos—bourgeois bohemians—very funny.)
If you want more details, including the number of stars from 1-5 that I gave each book, here they are again. As you can see, I am pretty good about picking out books that I will like.