End of the Year Book Round-Up: 2016


Original art by ALICIA K. BROOKS.

Yeah, sure this year sucked. I agree. In fact, I bet I had a worse year than you. But 2016 was a great year for books and reading. I read a total of 52 books this year, and that’s not including the books I put down (Girl on the Train, What is Yours is Not Yours) because they were too stupid or too boring to finish. I fell in love with mystery writing from the 1930’s and 1940’s and decided that working at The Snobbiest Bookstore in Seattle was not all it was cracked up to be. Getting fired from that low paying, demeaning job was probably the best and worst thing to happen to me all year. So… thanks? But good riddance to bad rubbish. Good riddance to 2016!

This year, instead of writing about every book I read, I thought I’d break it down a little differently. Enjoy!  And please do some research about titles you are interested in reading. I didn’t write the authors name next to each book because I’m lazy.

Books are awesome! read!

Total Books Read: 52   Re-reads: 7

Total Fiction: 44      Total Non-Fiction: 8

Mystery or Horror: 15!

Favorites in Fiction: Swing Time, The Story of the Lost Child, Slammerkin, Rosemary’s Baby, Black Wings has my Angel, The Gap of Time, Ragtime, Desperate Characters, A Bloodsmoor Romance, Romie Futch… and many more!

Favorites in Non Fiction: Killing Pablo, In Other Words, Absolutely on Music, On Writing…

Least Favorites: Damed, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Boy Snow Bird, The Buried Giant

Oldest Book: Wuthering Heights, 1847 (I’ve read this book about once a year for the last twenty years. It’s one of my all time favorites.)

Biggest Surprises: Romie Futch, Desperate Characters, Little Tales of Misogyny, The Metaphysical Ukulele, Black Wings Has My Angel, Rabbit Back Literature Society, The Pets

    • Absolutely on Music by Haruki MurakamiSwing Time by Zadie SmithSlammerkin by Emma DonoghueOn Writing by Stephen KingZen in the Art of Writing by Ray BradburyShadow Show by Sam WellerYou Are a Cat in the Zombie Apocalypse by Sherwin Tjia'Salem's Lot by Stephen KingSlade House by David MitchellRosemary's Baby by Ira LevinSmoke by Dan VyletaLittle Tales of Misogyny by Patricia HighsmithLiberty Bar by Georges SimenonThe Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. KingThe Gap of Time by Jeanette WintersonKilling Pablo by Mark BowdenThe Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonBoy, Snow, Bird by Helen OyeyemiIn Other Words by Jhumpa LahiriThe Carter of 'La Providence' by Georges SimenonMe Talk Pretty One Day by David SedarisWild Nights! by Joyce Carol OatesThe First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire NorthRagtime by E.L. DoctorowThe Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsThe Metaphysical Ukulele by Sean CarswellThe Four Agreements by Miguel RuizA New Earth by Eckhart TolleWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëGet in Trouble by Kelly LinkDamned by Chuck PalahniukThe Buried Giant by Kazuo IshiguroIndigo by Ron KoertgeThe Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari JääskeläinenThe Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen KingBlack Wings Has My Angel by Elliott ChazeThe Late Monsieur Gallet by Georges SimenonA Bloodsmoor Romance by Joyce Carol OatesSailing Alone Around the Room by Billy CollinsDesperate Characters by Paula FoxThe Pets by Bragi ÓlafssonRoom by Emma DonoghueThe Yellow Dog by Georges SimenonGateway to Paradise by Matthew VollmerHow To Be a Good Wife by Emma  ChapmanThe New and Improved Romie Futch by Julia  ElliottThe Girl in the Red Coat by Kate HamerThe Story of the Lost Child by Elena FerranteWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë



Things I’m Loving – Right Now

Hey all! Summer is in full swing here in Texas, and here is what I am loving right now!

  1. The Killing (AMC) – usa-killingIf you haven’t tuned in for this stellar show yet, then you are missing out. This show just started its 3rd season and I am already anxious to see what happened next. Unlike GoT which is action packed, “The Killing” is a slow burn. It unfolds slowly without giving too much away, and always leaves you wanting more.The first two seasons cover a single case: Who killed Rosie Larson? I just started re-watching from season 1 with my sweetheart and I am hooked all over again. It’s refreshing to watch a mystery show that I can’t figure out in the first 10 minutes.
  2. Swimming Pools
    Barton Springs Pool, Austin

    Barton Springs Pool, Austin

    As much as I love Prague in the summertime, it was always lacking one thing for me: Swimming pools. There is a huge swimming complex at Podali, but you have to wade throngs of people, dozens of screaming kids, drunk assholes, and all of the American dudes who go there just to stare at the topless ladies. No thanks. When I go to a pool I would like to be left alone and actually be able to swim. Being back in the states has reminded me of just how much I like laying in a deck chair in the hot sun. Alone. With just my book and my tunes. I also just bought a big yellow floatie that I am excited to sit in while wearing my new bikini.

  3. Gay of Thrones – I watch Game of Thrones. I like it alright, but what I like better is Funny or Die’s recap series called “Gay of Thrones”. It is a stylist recapping the last episode for you, and his current client. It’s hilarious. The dude speaks a language I can understand. I mean, GoT has so many characters (all with crazy names) that it’s kind of hard to keep track of who is who, and who killed who. The dude in Gay of Thrones uses clever nicknames to help dopes like me keep track of the action. He calls the Dragon chick “Christina Aguilera”. He calls Rob Stark’s wife “Winterfell Lady Gaga”. It’s perfect. He says everything I am thinking. I don’t have a gay boyfriend in Austin, so he is the next best thing. http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/5766ea13c1/gay-of-thrones-game-of-thrones-ep-7-recap
  4. Summer Reading List – SN856895The very best part of summer is making a dent in that huge stack of books I bought to pass the time by the pool. I also love looking at all of the reading lists on other blogs, or sites like NPR or PBS. I just started “Duma Key” by Stephen King and it’s a whopping 789 pages long. I had better get moving if I want to get to the rest of the books on my list. The one I am most excited about is the brand spanking new Zadie Smith book called “NW”. Can’t. Wait. 
  5. Jeff Goldblum – I have loved this man since I first saw “The Big Chill” and “Buckaroo Banzai”. Mr. Goldblum is a true original. He has a very unique acting style. He stands perfectly still while delivering lines and just moves his eyes. It’s rad. Anyway, I just now found out that he is on Law & Order: CI! I mean, I thought I was excited to see him play one of Rachel Berry’s dads on “Glee”, but I nearly fell over when I saw his face in the opening credits of Law & Order. I just want him to tuck me in and read things to me. And maybe tell me a couple of jokes and then explain quantum physics. So Mr. Goldblum if you are reading this – I know you play jazz piano and I sing so… match made in heaven? Yes! You know where to find me.