What I Read – April 2017

The Unwomanly Face of War – Svetlana Alexievich (Random House, 2017)

(translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky

Do Not Say We Have NothingMadeleine Thien (Knopf Canada, 2016)

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray, 2017)

A Manual for Cleaning Women – Lucia Berlin (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2015)

Currently Reading:

Silence – Shusaku Endo

The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman

What I Read – March 2017

I’ve fallen behind in reviewing books but am working to catch up and get some reviews posted next week. In the meantime, here’s what I read this month:

EileenOttessa Moshfegh (Penguin Press, 2015)

The Dark and Other Love Stories Deborah Willis (Hamish Hamilton, 2017)

She was glad that was done. What a relief. But then again, if she could, she’d do it all over. Everything. Her whole life. She’d live it again, just for the small but real pleasures of a donut and coffee, of holding her daughter in her arms, of making money, of sleeping late, of waking up.

  • Deborah Willis, “The Nap”

How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen – Joanna Faber & Julie King (Scribner, 2017)

The Break – Katherena Vermette (Anansi, 2016)

The Garden of Eden – Ernest Hemingway (Scribners, 1986)

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday, 2015)

…and he realizes that this is the way it is, the way it must be: you don’t visit the lost, you visit the people who search for the lost.

  • Hanya Yanagihara

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf Canada, 2017)

The Dinner Party and Other Stories – Joshua Ferris (Little, Brown, 2017)

Didn’t Finish:

The Travelers – Chris Pavone

What I Read – February 2017

The ConjoinedSookfong Jen Lee (ECW Press, 2016)

Here I Am – Jonathan Safran Foer (Hamish Hamilton, 2016)

Jacob was a man who withheld comfort but stood at thresholds long after others would have walked away. He always stood at the open front door until the car pool drove off. Just as he stood at the window until the back wheel of Sam’s bike disappeared around the corner. Just as he watched himself disappear.

Barrelling Forward – Eva Crocker (Anansi, 2017)

The Best Kind of People – Zoe Whittall (Anansi, 2016)

What is Not Your is Not Yours – Helen Oyeyemi (Hamish Hamilton, 2016)

Currently Reading:

Simply Christian – N.T. Wright

The Travelers – Chris Pavone

What I Read – January 2017

Read:

The Sellout – Paul Beatty (Picador, 2015)

Reflections on the Psalms – C.S. Lewis (A Harvest Book, 1958)

A vocation is a terrible thing. To be called out of nature into the supernatural life is at first (or perhaps not quite at first – the wrench of the parting may be felt later) a costly honour. Even to be called from one natural level to another is loss as well as gain. Man has difficulties and sorrows which the other primates escape.

  • C.S. Lewis

I Carried You Home – Alan Gibney (Patrick Crean Editions, 2016)

Beauty Plus Pity – Kevin Chong (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2011)

The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey (Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books, 2012)

In the light of day, her dreams were drained of their nightmarish quality, and they seemed whimsical and strange, but the taste of loss remained in her mouth.

  • Eowyn Ivey

When She Was ElectricAndrea MacPherson (Polestar, 2003)

Perfect Little World – Kevin Wilson (Harper Collins, 2017)

Let one person tell her she couldn’t have it and she would claw them into submission. Let one more person tell her what she could and could not have, and she would smile, nod, and, without apology, do whatever the hell she wanted.

  • Kevin Wilson

Such is My Beloved – Morley Callaghan (McClelland & Stewart, 1994)

Even a dream of social betterment usually is a bitter disappointment. We’ve got to accept the disappointment and go on. All of us must be terribly disappointing to God. By any standard of justice God might have abandoned us all long ago and left us to shift for ourselves as those girls are shifting now wherever they are, whatever they are doing.

  • Morley Callaghan

Fates & Furies – Lauren Groff (Riverhead Books, 2015)

Currently Reading:

Simply Christian – N.T. Wright

Birdie – Tracey Lindberg

What I Read in 2016

Here it is, the complete list! While I will likely never again reach the reading heights of 2015, this was a good year, book-wise. Hope it was the same for you!

Fiction:

Top Ten:

  1. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt (Back Bay Books, 2013)
  2. The Heart of the Matter – Graham Greene (Penguin Books, 1981)
  3. Wenjack – Joseph Boyden (Hamish Hamilton, 2016)
  4. The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan (Vintage International, 2015)
  5. The High Mountains of Portugal – (Yann Martel (Knopf Canada, 2016)
  6. Commonwealth – Ann Patchett (Harper, 2016)
  7. Daydreams of Angels – Heather O’Neill (Harper Collins, 2015)
  8. Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace (Back Bay Books, 2006)
  9. Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese (Vintage Canada, 2010)
  10. The Secret History – Donna Tartt (Vintage Contemporaries, 1992)

And the rest…(alphabetical by author’s last name)

11. Fifteen Dogs – André Alexis (Coach House Books, 2015)
12. A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson (Doubleday Canada, 2015)
13. The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday Canada, 2015)
14. The BellmanHeidi Barnes (Vireo Rare Bird Books, 2016)
15.The Secret Chord Geraldine Brooks (Viking, 2015
16. Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes (Penguin Books, 2003)
(translated by John Rutherford)
17. The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix-Sweeney (Harper Avenue, 2016)
18. Waiting for the Cyclone – Leesa Dean (Brindle & Glass, 2016)
19. The Wonder – Emma Donoghue (Harper Collins, 2016)
20. A Visit from the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan (Anchor Books, 2010)
21. Swimming Lessons Claire Fuller (House of Anansi Press, 2017)
22. Paper Towns – John Green (Penguin Books, 2008)
23. The Humans – Matt Haig (Harper Collins, 2013)
24. Before I Fall – Noah Hawley (Grand Central Publishing, 2016)
25. His Whole Life –  Elizabeth Hay (Emblem Editions, 2015)
26. The Painted Kiss – Elizabeth Hickey (Atria Books, 2005)
27. A Long Way Down – Nick Hornby (Riverhead Books, 2005)
28. The Vegetarian – Han Kang (Portobello Books, 2015)
(translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith)
29. Trying to Save Piggy Sneed – John Irving (Arcade Publishing, 1996)
30. Flight Behavior – Barbara Kingsolver (Harper Perennial, 2012)
31. A Separate Peace – John Knowles (Bantam Books, 1998)
32. Music for Wartime – Rebecca Makkai (Viking, 2015)
33. A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon – Anthony Marra (Vintage Canada, 2014)
34. Transatlantic – Colum McCann (Harper Perennial, 2013)
35. Thirteen Ways of Looking –Colum McCann (Harper Collins, 2015)
36. The Company She Keeps – Mary McCarthy (Penguin Books, 1966)
37. The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be – Farley Mowat (Pyramid Books, 1968)
38. The Little Red Chairs – Edna O’Brien (Little, Brown and Company, 2016)
39. By Gaslight – Steven Price (McClelland & Stewart, 2016)
40. Monkey Beach – Eden Robinson (Vintage Canada, 2001)
41. Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson (Harper Perennial, 2005)
42. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy (Viking Canada, 1997)
43. Today Will Be Different – Maria Semple (Little Brown, 2016)
44. The Trees – Ali Shaw (Bloomsbury, 2016)
45. I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith (Red Fox, 2001)
46. Missing, Presumed – Susie Steiner (Harper Collins, 2016)
47. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel (Harper Avenue, 2014)
48. Modern Lovers – Emma Straub (Random House, 2016)
49. On the Shores of Darkness, There is Light – Cordelia Strube (ECW Press, 2016)
50. The Death of Ivan Ilyich & Other Stories – Leo Tolstoy (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009)
(translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky)
51. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist – Sunil Yapa (Lee Boudreau Books, 2016)
52. Revolutionary RoadRichard Yates (Vintage Contemporaries, 2008)

Non-Fiction:
(alphabetical by author’s last name)

53. Six Walks in the Fictional Wood – Umberto Eco (Harvard University Press, 1994)
54. A Tale of Three Kings – Gene Edwards (Tyndale House Publishers, 1992)
55. Prayer – Timothy Keller (Dutton, 2014)
56. Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson (Flatiron Books, 2015)
57. Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer – C.S. Lewis (Mariner Books, 2012)
58. A Grief Observed – C.S. Lewis (Faber & Faber, 2013)
59. But You Did Not Come BackMarceline Loridan-Ivens (Penguin, 2016) (translated by Sandra Smith)
60. Last Child in the Woods – Richard Louv (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2008)
61. The Dirty Life – Kristin Kimball (Scribner, 2010)
62. The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers – Elizabeth Pantley (McGraw Hill, 2005)
63. The Givenness of Things
– Marilynne Robinson (HarperCollins, 2015)
64. An Invisible ThreadLaura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski (Howard Books, 2011)
65. Half Broke HorsesJeannette Walls (Scribner, 2009)
66. Rumours of Another World – Philip Yancey (Zondervan, 2004)

Children’s:

67. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library – Chris Grabenstein (Yearling, 2014)
68. The Adventures of Miss Petitfour – Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block (Tundra Books, 2015)
69. Pax – Sara Pennypacker (illustrated by Jon Klassen) (Balzer + Bray, 2016)
70. At the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness – Andrew Peterson (Water Brook Press, 2008)
71. The Fox at the Manger – P.L. Travers (Virago Modern Classics, 2015)

Re-read:

72. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens (An Airmont Classic, 1963)
73. A Tangled Web – L.M. Montgomery (Bantam Books, 1989)
74. The Blue Castle – L.M. Montgomery (McClelland & Stewart, 1989)
75. We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Anchor Books, 2014)
76. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut (Vintage, 2000)

The Year in Review:

  • As always, my fiction reading far outstrips my non-fiction. Only 18% of my 2016 reads were non-fiction
  • Only five of those non-fiction reads were theological/religious in nature. (Maybe six, if you include Marilynne Robinson’s essays.) This was less than previous years but based on my To Read list for 2017, that may look different next year.
  • 23% of my reads were from Canadian authors. Most of them were very good. We’re a country of good books.
  • My male to female author ratio was pretty even but female authors did win out this year.
  • I only read five books translated from other languages. This is something I continue to need to work on.
  • I read five books that would best be described as “tomes” (ie: 500+ pages). I’m happy to see that each was worth the time invested, for various reasons.
  • I reviewed 80% of my 2016 reads here on the blog. That’s definitely my best percentage since I started sharing book reviews and I hope to maintain and even increase that number in 2017.

What about you? What did 2016 look like for you in books? What was the best book you read this year? Or the worst? What have you read from my list and what are you looking forward to reading in 2017?

Happy New Year!

What I Read – December 2016

Check back tomorrow for my complete 2016 reading list, including the highlights of my reading year. (If you’re into that kind of thing.)

The BellmanHeidi Barnes (Vireo Rare Bird Books, 2016)

The Wonder – Emma Donoghue (Harper Collins, 2016)

The Fox at the Manger – P.L. Travers (Virago Modern Classics, 2015)

The Death of Ivan Ilyich and other stories – Leo Tolstoy (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009) (translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky)

On the Shores of Darkness, There is Light – Cordelia Strube (ECW Press, 2016)

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens (An Airmont Classic, 1963)

Trying to Save Piggy Sneed – John Irving (Arcade Publishing, 1996)

Currently Reading:

Reflections on the Psalms – C.S. Lewis

News of the World – Paulette Jiles

What I Read – November 2016

Station ElevenEmily St. John Mandel (Harper Avenue, 2014)

At the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness Andrew Peterson (Water Brook Press, 2008)

Swimming Lessons – Claire Fuller (House of Anansi Press, 2017)

Prayer – Timothy Keller (Dutton, 2014)

I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith (Red Fox, 2001)

A Grief Observed – C.S. Lewis (Faber & Faber, 2013)

By Gaslight – Steven Price (McClelland & Stewart, 2016)

A Constellation of Vital PhenomenaAnthony Marra (Vintage Canada, 2014)

Currently Reading:

Reflections on the Psalms – C.S. Lewis

The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories – Tolstoy

What I Read – October 2016

The Autumn season is prime book-reading time. The rainy and cold weather means I want to stay inside and read and there seem to be so many books to read. The autumn is when many new books are released (leading up to Christmas) and many of the major literary prize winners (and shortlists) are announced. My To Be Read list is so long that I’ve been sorting books into piles and my bedside table is stacked high. A friend also loaned me the three memoirs in this month’s What I Read list.

Fortunately (maybe?) Pearl is going through a stage where she wants one of us to sit in her room while she falls asleep. When I stopped nursing, my reading time seemed to decrease drastically but it’s bounced back up this month. Most evenings I spend between 30 minutes to an hour in Pearl’s room, curled up in a chair, leaning as close to the nightlight as I can get. There are worse things.

Wenjack – Joseph Boyden (Hamish Hamilton, 2016)

The Trees – Ali Shaw (Bloomsbury, 2016)

An Invisible ThreadLaura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski (Howard Books, 2011)

The Dirty Life – Kristin Kimball (Scribner, 2010)

Half Broke HorsesJeannette Walls (Scribner, 2009)

Waiting for the Cyclone – Leesa Dean (Brindle & Glass, 2016)

Re-read: Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut (Vintage, 2000)

“You’ll pretend you were men instead of babies, and you’ll be played in the movies by Frank Sinatra and John Wayne or some of those other glamourous, war-loving dirty old men. And war will look just wonderful, so we’ll have a lot more of them. And they’ll be fought by babies like the babies upstairs.”

Currently Reading:

Prayer – Timothy Keller

By Gaslight – Steven Price

Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

And a reminder that you can follow me on Instagram @karissareadsbooks and see up-to-the-minute photographic evidence of what I’m reading! Whether or not that sounds remotely appealing probably says a lot about you.

What I Read – September 2016

Missing, Presumed – Susie Steiner (Harper Collins, 2016)

Rumours of Another World – Philip Yancey (Zondervan, 2004)

Commonwealth – Ann Patchett (Harper, 2016)

Flight Behavior – Barbara Kingsolver (Harper Perennial, 2012)

Currently Reading:

Prayer – Timothy Keller

The Trees – Ali Shaw

What I Read – August 2016

The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix-Sweeney (Harper Avenue, 2016)

The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt (Back Bay Books, 2013)

Today Will Be Different – Maria Semple (Little Brown, 2016)

Currently Reading:

Rumours of Another World – Philip Yancey

The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah