That was a good reading year both in terms of numbers and in terms of what the books meant to me. I also ended up rocking the read-two-thirds-books-by-women resolution with 46 out of 2016 books with a female first authors (two of those were co-writes with a man). But it has also been a year of a lot of comfort reads: see all the Terry Pratchetts and Agatha Christies and bad romance novels (even though "Trade Me" does not fall unto this - it's romance, but it tries, as far as I can tell as someone who is not usually into the genre - to do something that the genre does not usually do and is very, very good at it, for a romance book).
I've given up the balance between the different languages (partly because of all the books I could get in English, now that I am back in Europe it should be easier to include more German and Russian again; partly because of all the comfort reads that happen in English - I guess this will depend on what the year is like). My plan for 2017 is to read more internationally - more authors who do _not_ come from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, UK, or USA (recommendations, especially for books by women, are still welcome here), which will also likely mean reading more in German since this is my preferred language for translations.
Anyway, before I ramble on, the books. As usual, recommendations highlighted in color, points are out of five with zero a possible mark:( 65 books )
After struggling with reading this year, my goal were a more modest 52. But I managed to find my reading muse again (partly but just taking time to read in bed every night) and managed 65 even though there were books that took again to finish - like the amazing dark money, that did cost me a whole month, but was more than worth it. I talked about "Lean In" and how, if you are hesitating because of the media coverage of the book, you totally should get it - and yes, it may make you upset with yourself for not reading it before. "101 Things I Learned in Architecture School" is the perfect bathroom read - and gives you a ton of insight into how architecture works.
"The Man Who Sold the Moon" is a novella, available online, and if you like science fiction, you should read it - it's one of those stories that made me cry so hard and was worth every tear. "Jagannath" is hard to get in print - keep an eye out for the author, there is a ton of promise there (she also translates her own work from Swedish to English and talks about it in the afterword for those interested in translation and language and the interplay with literature). I did not expect to love "Uprooted" as much as I did, but it was absolutely glorious. "Beetle in the Anthill" is an incredible clever rumination on human nature, security and fear of the unknown (and now that I write this micro-review down I realize how important this book is today) - extremely condensed essence of science fiction. "The Giver" is a classic and I understand why and I have decided to ignore that any of the books that come afterwards exist, because this is not how I interpret the ending (and not how I would have interpreted it if I had read the book when younger).
"Visitation" is painful and very German in more than one way; people who will have to read it in school may hate it - a few will love it and yes, this book should be taught. "Winternähe" is the best text I know on being German and Jewish (or Jewish and German) and young today; there is a passage in this book that I need to post, a paragraph I want to make everyone remember.
"Dear Committee Members" is hilarious and another one I recommended before - and that a few people who either followed my recommendation or whom I physically gave the book loved (in at least a case enough to pass it on to several colleagues - I have no idea whether I will get it back at any point, but that's OK, I'm fine with buying it a second time). "Illness as Metaphor" was a surprise - somehow I did not expect to like it that much; it was also one of the books where I actually needed a dictionary on several occasions, this does not happen often. "Arcadia" does work much better on stage than as a text and I had the luck to see an amazing production in the Central Square Theatre (which I terribly miss now). "Childhood fourty nine" is Ulitskaya at her best, wonderfully illustrated.
"Vicious", "City of Angels or the Overcoat of Dr. Freud" and "Warchild" should get honorary mentions; both are not total recommendations, but still books that I have a lot of feelings about - of very different kind given how different the books are, of course.
Anyway, let's see what the new reading year will bring, right?!
Lists from previous years are here: 2008