A Reading Re-Cap: 2016

Hi Internet! Welcome to a new year.

So I read A LOT in 2016. After coming so close in 2015 to the 50-book mark, I really buckled down and read every spare moment I got. I carried books with me constantly. I figured out how to use the public library e-book portal. And, for my effort, I completed 69 books in 2016. Woo!

Last year, for my re-cap, I did a “one-sentence book reviews” post, but this year I’d like to talk a little bit about my book-rating philosophy and maybe even look at some graphs. Yes, I know–once an engineer, always an engineer.

Holly’s Book Rating Philosophy:

Five: This is one of the best things I’ve read. It made think and feel feelings. I probably want to buy it and/or re-read it.

Four: Enjoyable! This book is good, with a few problems/things I didn’t resonate with.

Three: Meh. There is potential here, but there’s enough I don’t like to irritate me. I probably wanted to like this a lot more than I did.

Two: Grrr. This was forgettable or frustrating, with just enough good bits/soundbites to save it from…..

One: Yuck. Waste of time.

I view my rating “buckets” as on a bell curve. Ignore the percentages, but the darkest middle chunk would the Threes, and the Fives and Ones the smallest pieces on the ends. This means, also, that there are ranges within ratings, with some Fours (for example) being higher than others.

 

Living Well: The Bell Curve

As the year progressed, I got curious about my rating strategy and whether or not I had gotten more or less lenient over the years. Me being the data freak I am, I complied the stats from 2014, 2015, and 2016 and compared. book-stats

This plot shows the percentage of books in each rating category over the three years. It confirmed my suspicion that yes, I was getting pickier–or at least it seemed to be harder for a book to ‘wow’ me and get a Five. But, by the same token, I think I’ve gotten better at steering clear of book that won’t appeal to me–hence the dip in the Twos and Ones in 2016.

Goals for 2017

READ LOTS.

No seriously–I’m not one to set myself complicated resolutions about number or pages or types of books to pick up. I set the 50-book challenge again on Goodreads. I would aim for more, since I  blew the 50 out of the water in 2016, but I am anticipating the latter third of the year will perhaps be a return to school….stay tuned for more.

And so to close, I am going to list every book I read in 2016, in order of rating.

Five

VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab 

FLEDGLING, Octavia Butler

THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANT, Becky Chambers 

STATION ELEVEN, Emily St. John Mandel 

THE WATER KNIFE, Paolo Bacigalupi

MORE THAN THIS, Patrick Ness

THE HANDMAID’S TALE, Margaret Atwood 

LEAN IN, Sheryl Sandberg 

IN THE LABYRINTH OF DRAKES, Marie Brennan

A MONSTER CALLS, Patrick Ness

APOLLO’S ANGELS, Jennifer Homans 

THE WORD FOR WORLD IS FOREST, Ursula LeGuin

THE HISTORIAN, Elizabeth Kostova 

Four 

 MY LUCKY LIFE IN AND OUT OF SHOW BUSINESS, Dick van Dyke 

WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR, Paul Kalanithi

EVERY HEART A DOORWAY, Seanan McGuire 

ANNO DRACULA, Kim Newman 

THE SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF HOPE, Claire North

THE NIGHT CIRCUS, Erin Morgenstern 

KUSHIEL’S DART, Jacqueline Carey

READY PLAYER ONE, Ernest Cline

THE DICTATOR’S HANDBOOK, Bruce Bueno De Mesquita and Alastair Smith 

MR FAHRENHEIT, T. Michael Martin 

WARBREAKER, Brandon Sanderson 

ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY, Charlie Jane Anders 

THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE, Michel Faber

THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, Brian Selznick

I AM PROVIDENCE, Nick Mamatas 

CHILDREN OF THE EARTH AND SKY, Guy Gavriel Kay 

THE MINIATURIST, Jessie Burton 

THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS, Neil Gaiman 

RADIANCE, Catherynne Valente 

THE OUTSORCERER’S APPRENTICE, Tom Holt 

SORCERER TO THE CROWN, Zen Cho

THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING, Erika Johansen

THE GENE, Siddhartha Mukherjee

BLACK MAN IN A WHITE COAT, Damon Tweedy

CHILDREN OF THE NEW WORLD, Alexander Weinstein 

THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST, Holly Black 

THE BONE CLOCKS, David Mitchell

Three

ZEROES, Chuck Wendig 

DO NO HARM, Henry Marsh

TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG, Connie Willis

FUTURISTIC VIOLENCE AND FANCY SUITS,  David Wong

SLEEPING GIANTS, Sylvian Neuvel

THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT, Seth Dickinson 

LAST SONG BEFORE NIGHT, Ilana Myer

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, Renee Ahdieh

THE IMPROBABILITY OF LOVE, Hannah Rothschild 

THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM, Cixin Liu 

ADVENTURES IN HUMAN BEING, Gavin Francis 

HOTEL RUBY, Suzanne Young 

BUFFERING, Hannah Hart

GRUNT, Mary Roach 

THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, Zora Neale Hurston 

THE ENCHANTED, Rene Denfeld 

I, Q, John de Lancie 

VAGINA: A NEW BIOGRAPHY, Naomi Wolf 

A STITCH IN TIME, Andrew Robinson 

THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, Phillip K. Dick 

THE BELL JAR, Sylvia Plath 

CONCUSSION, Jeanne Maria Laskas

 Two 

PERV: THE SEXUAL DEVIANT IN ALL OF US, Jesse, Bering 

FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK, Melina Marchetta 

THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS, Marieke Nijkamp

YOU’RE A VAMPIRE: THAT SUCKS, Domenick Dicce 

One 

THE RESURRECTIONIST, E.B. Hudspeth 

THE ALCHEMIST’S TOUCH, Garret Robinson 

THE LAST DAYS OF MAGIC 

 

Wow that’s a lot of books. If you made it all the way down here, kudos! Happy New Year!

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