My Best of 2016 (and Goals for 2017)


I’ve mentioned before that I love a good year-end list. I’m also a sucker for resolutions. With the exception of Christmas music, I generally prefer the clean feel of January to the bustle of December. I love new beginnings and big dreams. I’m starting my new year looking back on the best books I read this year and what I’d like to read in 2017:

The best book I read this year: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It took me five years to read this book after abandoning it 1/3 way through, but it ended up being my favorite of the year. I can’t recommend the audiobook enough, especially if you’re struggling to get past the beginning. My full review is here.

Best new (to me) author: Naomi Novik. Her website says she’s working on a novel inspired by Rumpelstiltskin and I can’t wait!

Best series I read this year: Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud. The only problem is that I thought The Creeping Shadow would be the last book in the series. It is not. Now I’m stuck waiting on a book that doesn’t even have a title yet. (Not that I’ll mind rereading it again while I wait.)

The best read aloud of 2016: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Both the third grader and I loved this book, and I discovered I have quite a bit in common with Claudia Kincaid.

Our favorite picture book of the year ended in a near tie. The favorite book we discovered in 2016 was actually published in 2012: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo WillemsA close second was Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins, which was published in 2015.

As for 2017? I’m still working on my goals for the year. I’m hoping to learn a few songs on the piano and be a more connected aunt to my 16 amazing sobrinos. I will probably come up with something about sleep or exercise, but the rest of my goals so far are tied to reading:

  1. Read 50 books. I made it through 39 in 2016, not counting the books we read aloud in school. I’m planning to count those books in my total this year, but I’ll still need to read a book most weeks to hit my total. That means more reading when I have a few minutes to spare and a lot less time on Facebook.
  2. Finish two reading challenges: BookRiot’s Read Harder 2017 and one of the two reading challenges from Modern Mrs. Darcy. I’m leaning toward the second MMD challenge; any list that starts with, “a Newberry award winner or Honor book” is definitely my cup of tea.
  3. Spend 10 minutes a day reading to the toddler. This feels like it shouldn’t even need to be a goal, but I’ve read fewer books to her than either of her siblings. She has plenty of exposure to books as the tag along on library trips and during school, but I want to give her more one-on-one time with books.

Do you have a best of 2016 list or goals (reading or otherwise) for the new year? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear it!


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