2016 Reading Round-up and Bookish Goals for 2017

I was tempted not to post my full reading list from 2016 as I fell far short of my reading goal of fifty books. And even as I write that, excuses fill my mouth. I’ll swallow them as everyone has a life outside of books. Everyone has fallen in love. Everyone has commitments to others in life that they must honor. Children and soccer and lover in the mix this year, I encountered spectacular worlds and characters on the page. I was disappointed by a few titles, but also changed by several, made different on a cellular level by words. Even if I read far fewer words than I’d intended, having the opportunity to let them in is a gift in itself.


Here’s the list of the thirty-three books I read this year, twenty-one of them written by women.


Completed (* indicates a re-read):

Fox Tooth Heart by John McManus

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston

The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

The Giver by Lois Lowry

A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

The Emigrants by W. Sebald

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Gone Girl* by Gillian Flynn

The Luckiest Girl In The World by Jessica Knoll

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Story Of A New Name by Elena Ferrante

Attack Of The Copula Spiders by Douglas Glover

Circling The Sun by Paula McLain

The Vegetarian by Han King

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

The Girls by Emma Cline

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

A Fifty-Year Silence by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Penderwicks Book One  by Jeanne Birdsall

Artemis Fowl, Books One—Six by Eoin Colfer

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead



The Best of Roald Dahl by Roald Dahl

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Frantumaglia by Elena Ferrante

If you are looking for recommendations for reading in 2017, please pick up copies of Gyasi’s Homegoing, Groff’s Fates and Furies, Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and Yanagihara’s A Little Life. Finishing these books was like emerging from a dream, not necessarily a happy one, and being unable to shake off the sense that life changed fundamentally while I was under. Once I started Cline’s The Girls and Knoll’s The Luckiest Girl In The World, reading was a compulsion.


I was inspired by writer friends and colleagues to start tracking my reading. Their lists each year humbled me and also provided guidance for that beautiful moment when I ask, “hmm, what should I read next?” After two years of graduate school I had a record of every book I’d read and ever paper I’d written. Since graduating in 2014, I hadn’t taken the time to reflect on my reading throughout the year. I’m glad that this year I have, even if the practice births a resolution to up my reading game to forty titles this year.


Happy reading and writing this year!

2 Responses to 2016 Reading Round-up and Bookish Goals for 2017

  1. Kelly,
    An inspiring list. You DID have a busy year.

    I want to suggest When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams. Gorgeous.

    Right now I’m reading a collection of essays called Creating Nonfiction which might make an excellent teaching tool.

    • Yes, I have that on my shelf and most definitely must pick it up. And I’ll check out Creating Nonfiction as well. Thank you!

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