2016 Wrap-up (FINALLY!)

A brief review of the best and worst of 2016, and a list of everything I read.

The Top Ten (in the order I read them) Brutal to cull it down to just ten - so pay attention to the honorable mentions - there are great books in there.  And everything that was a re-read was necessarily placed in honorable mention, even though I love them, or I’d never have gotten down to ten.  I read some great books this year, you guys. 

1. Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1940’s, Sarah Weinman, ed. - Ok, this is sort of a cheat, because this consisted of four crime novels written in the 1940’s, but the thing is, while the individual four books were fun, what made it super was reading all four together and seeing the range of crime fiction written by women, and all ones I’d never heard of (and I’m reasonably educated on crime fiction).  Such a fun book to dip into.

2. The Great Silence, Juliet Nicholson - Of course, I adore books about the Great War and its immediate aftermath, but this nonfiction social history of the first few years after and how society coped is amazing.  I could have read a thousand more pages about this subject by Nicholson.

3. The Bookshop, Penelope Fitzgerald - The first book I read for my new bookclub (new to me, not to them) and such a delight.  Such a short but incisive, witty read. It will take you no time, but it will stay with you afterwards.  Read it.

4. Deliverance, James Dickey - This is why I do the Modern Library Project (I swear to God, I am finishing that project this year).  It introduced me to a book I had no intention of ever reading and blew me away.  One of the few books about the meaning of masculinity that has ever moved me.

5. Lonesome DoveLarry McMurtry - And this is another.  Though its about so much more than that - history, and how we understand the old West, and different ways of living your life, and such a great plot you don’t even realize that 1) you are thinking about these heady things and 2) you just read 800 pages.

6. A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, Sue Klebold - I can’t imagine being this woman.  Her son is a famous murder, one of the Columbine two, and she writes with such clarity about the horror that that was.  Losing him.  Knowing he killed others. Finding ways to continue her life.  Heartbreaking and beautiful.

8. Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in AmericaJill Leovy - Everyone should read this as we try to grapple with the reality of urban crime, and why it happens and how we can stop it.  Everyone should read it, and Republicans, you should read it twice.

9. Buying A Bride: An Engaging History of Mail-Order Matches, Marcia A. Zug - Now, my friend wrote this book, but I’d have recommended it anyway.  It both relays the history of mail order brides in America, and made me re-think the entire idea of mail order brides.  An academic book that, if there was justice, would be a popular cross-over.

10.  Lady Cop Makes Trouble, Amy Stewart - I just loved this.  Loved the first in the series, loved this one.  Can’t wait for the third.  Guys - go out and read about lady cop Constance Knopp.  You won’t regret it.

11. Commonwealth, Ann Patchett - Beautiful.  Again, I wanted 800 more pages. I love Patchett, I loved this book, I loved the opening scene, I love the characters.  I even love the beautiful cover design.

Honorable Mentions - the ones I culled the top 10 list from (in no order at all).  Too lazy to link these, but if you search the post below you can find out what number they were and read the posts.  Sorry, but I have been working on this post for hours!:

The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford; The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett; The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster; Busman’s Honeymoon, Dorothy Sayers; The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery; Shot in the Heart, Mikal Gilmore; The Rival Queens: Catherine de Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois and the Betrayel That Ignited a Kingdom, Nancy Goldstone; Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel; The Tresspasser, Tana French; 144. American Ghost, Hannah Nordhaus; The Swans of Fifth Avenue, Melanie Benjamin;  Fall on Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald; We That Are Left, Clare Clark; H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald; Did You Ever Have a Family, Bill Clegg

WORST. Don’t want to give them too much ink, but all these books disappointed or borded me this year.  Don’t bother.

The Wilderness of Ruin: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America’s Youngest Serial Killer, Roseanne Montillo; Judy + Liza + Robert + Freddie + David + Sue + Me…,  Stevie Philips; Elmer McCurdy: the Misadventures in Life and Afterlife of an American Outlaw, Mark Svenvol; The Bone People, Keri Hulme; A House for Mr Biswas, VS Naipul; The Buccaneers, Edith Wharton (completed by Marion Mainwaring); The Secret Poisoner: A Century of Murder, Linda Stramann;  Aunt Dimity and the Duke, Nancy Atherton

The full list (mostly for my own google-fu purposes, since I’m too stupid to add searching to my blog)

1. Locke & Key, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Then the Collected Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1940’s, Sarah Weinman, ed. which consisted of:

2. Laura, Vera Caspary

3. The Horizontal Man, Helen Eustis

4. In a Lonely Place, Dorothy Hughes

5. The Blank Wall, Elizabeth Sanxay Holding

6. The Phantom of Fifth Avenue, Meryl Gordon

7. Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Stephen King

8. Trigger Warning, Neil Gaiman

9. It Ended Badly: 13 of the Worst Breakups in History, Jennifer Wright

10. The Wilderness of Ruin: A Tale of Madness, Fire, and the Hunt for America’s Youngest Serial Killer, Roseanne Montillo

11. The Crooked House, Christobel Kent.

12. Night Shift, Stephen King

13. The Road to Yesterday, L.M. Montgomery

14. Death and the Dancing Footman, Ngaio Marsh

15. Death of an Expert Witness, P.D. James 

16. Judy + Liza + Robert + Freddie + David + Sue + Me…,  Stevie Philips

17. Lord Fear, Lucas Mann

18. The Rival Queens: Catherine de Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois and the Betrayel That Ignited a Kingdom, Nancy Goldstone

19. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, Sarah Vowell

20. Dark Corner, Ruth Rendell

21. The Dead Duke, his Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse, Piu Marie Eatwell

22. The Shadow Cabinet, Maureen Johnson

23. Never Too Late, Angela Thirkell

24. Growing Up, Angela Thirkell

25. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

26. Jane-Emily, Patricia Clapp

27. The Gate to Women’s Country,  Sheri S. Tepper

28. The Warden, Anthony Trollope

29. The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, Susan Jane Gilman

30. Happy Returns, Angela Thirkell

31. Private Enterprise, Angela Thirkell

32. The Pursuit of Love Nancy Mitford

33. Love in a Cold Climate, Nancy Mitford

34. The Great Silence, Juliet Nicholson

35. We That Are Left, Clare Clark

36. Cotillion, Georgette Heyer

37. The Bookshop, Penelope Fitzgerald

38. Death in the City of Light, David King

39. Await Your Reply, Dan Chaon

40. The Way Men Act, Elinor Lipman

41. The Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer

42. The Lighthouse, P.D. James

43. Did You Ever Have a Family, Bill Clegg

44. Elmer McCurdy: the Misadventures in Life and Afterlife of an American Outlaw, Mark Svenvol

45. Peace Breaks Out, Angela Thirkell

46. Enter Sir Robert, Angel Thirkell

47. Deliverance, James Dickey

48. The Ice Cream Blonde, Michelle Morgan

49. The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice De Janze and the Mysterious Death of Lord Erroll, Paul Spicer

50. Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton

51. County Chronicle, Angela Thirkell

52. Jutland Cottage, Angela Thirkell

53. The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver

54. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry

55. The Bone People, Keri Hulme

56. A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, Sue Klebold 

57. The Franchise Affair, Josephine Tey

58. To Love and Be Wise, Josephine Tey

59. West of Eden, Jean Stein

60. The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett

61. A Hat Full of Sky, Terry Pratchett

62. Wintersmith, Terry Pratchett

63. An Old Fashioned Girl, Louisa May Alcott

64. The BFG, Roald Dahl

65. A House for Mr Biswas, VS Naipul 

66. Crampton Hodnet, Barbara Pym

67. Jane and Prudence, Barbara Pym 

68. Oh These Men, These Men!, Angela Thirkell 

69. Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America, Jill Leovy

70. Outerbanks, Anne Rivers Siddons

71. Her, Harriet Lane

72. Promise Not to Tell, Jennifer McMahon

73. The Family Tree, Karen Branan

74. Busman’s Honeymoon, Dorothy Sayers

75. Wait for Me! Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire

76. The Baker’s Daughter, D.E. Stevenson

77. A Shilling for Candles, Josephine Tey

78.  High Rising, Angela Thirkell

79. August Folly, Angela Thirkell

80.  Pomfret Towers, Angela Thirkell

81.  The Brandons, Angela Thirkell

82. Christmas at High Rising, Angela Thirkell

83. Northbridge Rectory, Angela Thirkell

84. Marling Hall, Angela Thirkell

85. The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl

86. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

87. George’s Marvelous Medicine, Roald Dahl

88. The Magic Finger, Roald Dahl

89. The Twits, Roald Dahl

90. Matilda, Roald Dahl

91. Tales of Beedle the Bard, J.K. Rowling

92. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields

93. Pedal Zombies: Thirteen Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories, Edited by Elly Blue

94. Fall on Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald

95. Buying A Bride: An Engaging History of Mail-Order Matches, Marcia A. Zug

96. Rose Kennedy, Barbara A. Perry

97. Dorothy Parker: Complete Broadway 1918-1923, Dorothy Parker (Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ed.)

98. H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald

99. The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale

100. James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl

101. The Enormous Crocodile, Roald Dahl

102. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster

103. Across the Miles; L.M. Montgomery

104. The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner

105. Tom’s Midnight Garden, Philippa Pearce

106. Cary Grant: A Biography, Marc Eliot

107. The Buccaneers, Edith Wharton (completed by Marion Mainwaring)

108. End of Watch, Stephen King

109. If  You Ask Me, Libby Gelman-Waxner

110. Fiasco, James Robert Parish 

111. Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane, Paul Thomas Murphy

112. The Secret Poisoner: A Century of Murder, Linda Stramann

113. Mort, Terry Pratchett

114. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett

115. Snobs, Julian Fellows

116. American Gods, Neil Gaiman

117. Smoke and Mirrors, Neil Gaiman

118. A Very Great Profession, Nicola Beauman

119. Shot in the Heart, Mikal Gilmore

120. Before Lunch, Angela Thirkell

121. Summer Half, Angela Thirkell

122. The Tresspasser, Tana French

123.  Lady Cop Makes Trouble, Amy Stewart

124. The Deadly Dowager, Edwin Greenwood

125. Death Of A Cozy Writer, G. M. Mallet

126.  Aunt Dimity and the Duke, Nancy Atherton

127.  The Mistletoe Murder, P.D. James

128.  The Daylight Marriage, Heidi Pitlor

129. The Forgotten Girls, Sara Blaedel

130. Flowers For the Judge, Margery Allingham

131. The Winter People, Jennifer McMahon

132. Different Class, Joanne Harris

133. Jack and Jill, Louisa May Alcott

134. The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Margaret Sidney

135. The Five Little Peppers Midway, Margaret Sidney

136. The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery

137.  Jane of Lantern Hill, L.M. Montgomery

138.  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

139. Commonwealth, Ann Patchett

140. Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance

141.  The Seventh Book of Wonders, Julianna Baggott

142. The Best of Connie Willis, Connie Willis

143. The Flaming Corsage,  William Kennedy

144. American Ghost, Hannah Nordhaus

145. The Swans of Fifth Avenue, Melanie Benjamin

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017