Best book you read in 2016: Jane Eyre. A personal favourite.
Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t: Villette by Charlotte Brontë. I could not believe that this was the same author who had written Jane Eyre. The caustic, critical demeanor of the main character was surprising, but perhaps echoed Brontë’s outlook on life at the time. Jane Eyre had an innocence to it, yet in Villette, that innocence was stripped away. It was rather unsettling.
Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read in 2015: In a good way, The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore. I read it for Mockingbirds, Looking Glasses and Prejudices read-along and was so impressed with Tagore’s writing and his insight into human nature. The story was incredibly thought-provoking and effective. I will definitely read more of his works. Thanks for introducing me to this wonderful author, Cirtnecce!
Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2016: The book I hope I pushed some people to read was The Death of Ivan Ilyich. The message behind it is so powerful and redeeming. In spite of the theme, truly an inspiring work!
Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender: I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy with Cirtnecce (did she ever finish?) and thoroughly enjoyed it. If I had another 8 reading hours in the day, I’d read it every year but since I don’t, once every 5 years or so will have to do. My favourite book of the three would probably be The Two Towers, followed by The Return of the King. While I enjoy The Fellowship of the Ring, it tries my patience with the seemingly endless wandering through the forest.
Favorite new author you discovered in 2016: I can’t believe that I’m going to say this ……. Ovid Some of the content and perceived embellishment in his poetry and stories annoyed me, yet on the other hand, they were very enjoyable and quite fascinating. I still don’t think that I’d like him as a person, but as a poet, I must admit that he draws you in!
Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/ out of your comfort zone: The Well at the World’s End. At the time of its printing, I don’t believe it fit into any genre, being called a precursor of the fantasy novel. It was indeed a curious story but quite uniquely compelling. I need to read more by Morris.
Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year: The Moonstone. Perhaps it was because I read it on vacation and had the time to just sink into it. I’d read The Woman in White before, and enjoyed it but The Moonstone passed my highest expectations for Collins. If I ever come across another book like this one, I’ll be a happy reader. One of the best for 2016!
Book you read in 2016 that you are most likley to reread next year: If I could, I would read To Kill a Mockingbird every year.
Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016: Oh well, my covers were rather boring this year. Let me see …… The Well at the World’s End has kind of a funky retro book cover.
Most memorable characters of 2016: Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre), Jesus (The Man Born to Be King), Thomas Merton (The Seven Storey Mountain), Aslan (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe) Ivan Ilyich (The Death of Ivan Ilyich), Scout (To Kill A Mockingbird)
Most beautifully written book read in 2016: Yikes, I can’t say that I truly read a beautifully written book this year. I was fascinated with the depth of To Kill A Mockingbird; I was enthralled by the unusual style of The Well at the World’s End, and I was impressed with the depth of research and the insightful plot development of The Man Born To Be King. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got!
Most-thought provoking/ life-changing book of 2016: The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy. A masterful novella that gives a big picture of life and then distils it down to the meaningful aspects of it. It makes the reader look at the obvious, the obvious that none of us sees or acknowledges, and prods us to make a change before it’s too late. Strangely, it reminded me of A Christmas Carol. The Brothers Karamazov would have fallen into this category, if I had understood even half of it. Perhaps it will happen with my 10th reading! 🙂
Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read: Metamorphoses
Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2016: Ah, so many to choose, from Dostoyevsky to Harper Lee. However, once again, I’m going with a Thomas Merton quote as I did in 2014.: “…… All men who live only according to their five senses, and seek nothing beyond the gratification of their natural appetites for pleasure and reputation and power, cut themselves off from that charity which is the principle of all spiritual vitality and happiness because it alone saves us from the barren wilderness of our own abominable selfishness.” ~~ Thomas Merton
Shortest/longest book you read in 2016: Gratitude by Oliver Sacks (64 pgs.) & The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1,013 pgs.)
Book that shocked you the most: The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It is astounding and more than a little unsettling that he grew to rule a nation. His delusional hatred of Jews and non-Arians was not cloaked at all. It made me realize that if it could happen once, it could happened again.
OTP of the year: Oh, this year the couple is easy to choose!!! Jane and Rochester from Jane Eyre!
Favorite non-romantic relationship: Scout and Atticus from To Kill A Mockingbird.
Favorite book you read in 2016 from an author you’ve read previously: The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky
Best book you read in 2016 that you read based solely on a recommendation from someone else: The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality by Kyriacos Markides. Full of wonderful life lessons for a deeper faith.
Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year: Hmmm ….. I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but the winner is Far from the Madding Crowd. As much as I disliked his characters, his descriptions of Wessex made you a part of it. Wonderful!
Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read: Metamorphoses by Ovid. His tales were shocking at times but very engaging. I wouldn’t say it put a smile on my face, but it was fun!
Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2016: The Man Born To Be King by Dorothy Sayers, but also was uplifting. A spiritual paradox and she conveyed it beautifully.
Hidden gem of the year: The Home and the World by Radbindranath Tagore. A million thanks to Cirtnecce for hosting this read-along. She’s exposed me, not only to a wonderful writer of whose works I’ll read more, but also gave me an extensive lesson on Indian history. Thanks dearest friend!
Most unique book you read in 2016: The Well at the World’s End by William Morris. It was sort of an odd read, really, kind of like reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a Howard Pyle book, and Le Morte d’Arthur rolled into one. It’s rather unexplainable, so it’s best to just read it!
Book that made you the most mad: Victory Over Verbal Abuse by Patricia Evans. One of those random books that I sometimes read to discover what new philosophies abound. I was rather shocked by this one. Of course, I know verbal abuse exists and the damage it does to relationships and there should be some sort of therapy to deal with it and support for the victim. But if someone doesn’t answer your questions, you’re abused? If someone doesn’t talk to you, you’re abused? There was even an example in the book where I couldn’t even tell which person was the abuser as which the abused. It made me angry because I felt by including such minor treatment under the umbrella of abuse, it decreased the impact of the problem of true verbal abuse.
Your Blogging/Bookish Life
New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016: He’s not new, but I don’t think I’ve listed his blog before and he has some wonderfully insightful commentary: Books on Trial. If I could express my thoughts as concisely and effectively has he does, I’d be happy
Favorite review that you wrote in 2016: Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche because I became very satirical and somewhat silly when I wrote it.
Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog: The Autobiography of Malcolm X. In spite of its disturbing content, it certainly stimulated conversation.
Best event that you participated in: Both The Home and the World Read-Along and the Jane Eyre Read-Along. I will even give an honourable mention to The Faerie Queene Read-Along which I believe O is the only one finished, as the rest of us keep going and going and going and going ……
Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016: Finishing my The Well-Educated Mind biographies and completing my reading of Aeschylus’ dramas (except for Prometheus Bound which is suspected to be the work of his grandson) And again, having lots of reading fun with my blogging buddies!
Most popular post this year on your blog: My Hamlet, the Prince or the Poem? an essay by C.S. Lewis has gone crazy with hits, being the leader with 565 views. Second is Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche with 548 views.
Post you wished got a little more love: None really.
Best bookish discovery: Sadly, I didn’t buy nearly as many books as I normally purchase during the year. I found two editions of The Man Born to Be King, both hardcovers, one dated 1946 and the other dated 1969.
Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year: Nooooo!! I completed Reading England 2016, Ancient Greek Classics Challenge, and Books in Translation Challenge, as well as finishing up my Well-Educated Mind Biographies Project that I began two years ago. I failed to complete the Back to the Classics Challenge, 52 Books in 52 Weeks, Deal Me In Challenge, and the 2016 Bardathon Challenge. As for my on-going challenges, I read no new C.S. Lewis books, Framely Parsonage for my Barsetshire Chronicles read, read a Shakespeare play and poem for my Shakespeare Challenge, no books for my Non-Fiction Adventure Book List and added a How To Think About the Great Ideas Project. Enough said!
One book you didn’t get to in 2016 but will be your number 1 priority in 2017: A Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope. Good grief, this is ridiculous! I really love Trollope when I read him, but for some reason it’s been difficult to pick up his books and start.
Book you are most anticipating for 2017 (non-debut): The Histories by Herodotus, and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2017: The Last Chronicles of Barset by Anthony Trollope. No, you’re not seeing triple from last year or the year before. Will I ever finish this series? Stay tuned. I also have The Gormenghast trilogy on the slate for 2017 — that is if I don’t get distracted. It’s been known to happen …. 😉
One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2017: To attempt to read fewer books at a time and therefore have more systematic reviews. No one else, I’m sure, notices my madness, but I do. A post at a time would be much more sane!
Wishing everyone happy reading days and lots of them in 2017!!