Saturday, December 31, 2016

Books Read in 2016

Like many others, I bid good riddance to 2016. It wasn't a great year for a number of reasons, one of which is that I managed to finish only 41 books this year—19 fewer than 2015—and several of them were Extremely Easy Reads.

These are the books I finished in 2016. You can follow the links to their journal entries on BookCrossing; those books without a link were either borrowed, or are in my permanent collection for the moment. (E) indicates they were read on my Kindle/Nook/iPhone; (A) means they were audiobooks; (L) means I borrowed them from my local library; (R) means I re-read some old friends.

My favorites this year? The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss; Going Solo, by Roald Dahl; and two audiobooks that should make the list twice because I loved both the books and the performers: The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer (read by Amanda Palmer), and Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi (read by Wil Wheaton).

January
1. A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin (E)
2. French for Cats, by Henry Beard
3. Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson
4. Appointment with Death, by Agatha Christie
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon

February
6. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, by Sarah Vowell (E) (L)
7. Love Story, by Erich Segal
8. The Lady In The Lake, by Raymond Chandler

March
9. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
10. The Talbot Odyssey, by Nelson DeMille

April
11. Outlander, by Diana Galbadon
12. While You Were Mine, by Ann Howard Creel (E)
13. Georgiana Darcy's Diary: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice continued, by Anna Elliott (E)

May
14. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Fleming (A)
15. The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman (A) (L)
16. Ghost Gifts, by Laura Spinella (E)
17. Tricky Twenty-Two, by Janet Evanovich (E) (L)
18. Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved, by Russell Martin
19. Happy! by Pharrell Williams

June
20. Murder at Longbourn, by Tracy Kiely
21. The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill (A)
22. Runemarks, by Joanne Harris
23. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
24. I've Got You Under My Skin, by Mary Higgins Clark

July
25. Murder on the Links, by Agatha Christie
26. Pasta Imperfect, by Maddy Hunter
27. Saturday, by Ian McEwan (A)
28. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

August
29. Capricorn One, by Ron Goulart
30. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss (E)

September
31. Ballet of the Elephants, by Leda Schubert
32. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
33. The Bridge to Nowhere, by Megan McDonald
34. Going Solo, by Roald Dahl
35. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness

October
36. Audrey Rose, by Frank De Felitta
37. The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer (A) (R)
38. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Rip Van Winkle, by Washington Irving

November
39. I Will Never NOT EVER Eat a Tomato, by Lauren Child
40. Girl On A Wire, by Gwenda Bond (E)

December
41. Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi (A)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, by Sarah Vowell

Borrowed Kindle version from my local library.

First of all, I love the cover images on Sarah Vowell's books. Never change.

Second of all, the inside of the book was just as stimulating. My knowledge of the American Revolution, and of Lafayette's role in it, was a bit hazy, not having revisited it since my childhood. I recognized many of the names because they surround me every day: I live in a town named for Nathanael Greene even though he never stepped foot in it. I live adjacent to counties named for Lafayette and Greene and Washington and Jefferson. Towns named for Steuben are nearby.

I don't think I ever knew (or thought I needed to know) what happened to Lafayette after the war or that he had a triumphant return in 1824, where two-thirds of the population of NYC turned out for him. I didn't realize how closely the Revolution followed on the heels of the French & Indian War, why the French were so anxious to fight the British again, and what the result of that fight would be on the French monarchy (sorry Louis & Marie!).

Finally, I love Sarah Vowell's snark and her drawings. I will definitely be reading more of her books.