Looking Back at 2016

You may have noticed that I disappeared about halfway through November. There are lots of reasons for that, but the biggest one was my mom. She spent over twice as many days in the hospital in November than she had been in the hospital in all of her previous 67 years. It was a big shock for all of us, and getting two phone calls from my dad in which he said things like “if she makes it through the night” were the worst moments of the year for me. She is still dealing with lingering issues, but the outlook is definitely more positive now than it was a month ago.

A trip to California took up about half of December, and planning for the trip felt like it took up the other half of the month. It was good to see family we hadn’t seen for a while, but it was a little stressful, and I felt some guilt about not being with my side of the family so soon after Mom’s illness.

We’re now in a new year and in one of my favorite months of the year, so I want to briefly touch base on where I was at in 2016 before I share my plans for 2017. I left off while still participating in Nonfiction November, and I’m happy to say that I did read 4 nonfiction books during the month as I’d planned. As an aside, I’ve decided to discontinue participation in the winter book challenge that I’d been planning to do at that time.

The 4 nonfiction books I read in November were not the same ones I listed in my November challenges post. I read Victoria by Julia Baird for the New category, The Way to the Spring by Ben Ehrenreich for the Controversial category, Trace by Lauret Savoy for the Important category, and Good Prose by Tracy Kidder for the Fascinating Category. Those were all thanks to my local library system’s use of Overdrive as I traveled back and forth between my current town and my hometown multiple times. Trace was a total impulse choice based on the pretty cover and ended up being one of my favorite books of the year.

Even before the last two months of the year, I noticed that most of the books I was reading were perfectly fine and enjoyable but not standing out in my mind once I put them down. Perhaps because of that, I read about half as many books in 2016 as I did in 2015. My Goodreads goal was 120 books, and I went a bit past that by reading 126 books, but as I mentioned, few of the books stuck with me. Two of my top reads of the year were rereads, which is unusual for me, and I’ve starred both of those in the following list of my top 10 reads.

  • * Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  • When Books Went to War – Molly Guptill Manning (nonfiction)
  • The Sea of Tranquility – Katja Millay
  • * Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
  • A Curious Beginning – Deanna Raybourn
  • The Obsession – Nora Roberts
  • Rooftoppers – Katherine Rundell
  • Trace – Lauret Savoy (nonfiction)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

My next post will be a look at how well I did with my 2016 resolutions and what I’m planning for 2017.