My year in books – 2016


Well, it would seem I have been a busy little reader this year. 120 books worth of reading.

My goal for several years has been 100 books, which I usually meet or come close to, but this year I passed it by in a reading frenzy. Part of the reason for this is that when I find a writer I enjoy, I like to read all they have written. Or at least until I get burned out. This year I found James Lee Burke and read 28 of his books before I grew weary. There were also 16 of Harlan Coben’s books and 14 of Michael Connelly’s.

A pleasant surprise this year was realizing that I had missed a few of the novels by Elizabeth Berg, one of my favorite writers. I don’t know how I managed to miss them but it was delightful to read “The Art of Mending”, “What We Keep”, and “The Pull of the Moon”. I marked these three as 4 star books, along with “My Name is Lucy Barton” by Elizabeth Strout.

The rest of my 4 star books were non-fiction: 3 by Pema Chodron (When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, The Places That Scare You, and Comfortable with Uncertainty), and other Buddhist teachers: Thich Nhat Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ), Stephen Batchelor (The Faith to Doubt), Ezra Bayda (Being Zen), and Tara Brach (True Refuge). Also included were my beloved Tao Te Ching translated by Stephen Mitchell, a wonderful book on Yoga Philosophy by Donna Farhi (Bringing Yoga to LIfe, my 3rd reading),and a memoir by Jesuit priest James A. Connor (Silent Fire).

Out of the 120, 97 were fiction and only 23 were non-fiction. That fell far below my goal of 40% non-fiction. I blame James Lee Burke. And being sick a lot this year, which always increases my fun reading ratio. I’ve started out 2017 in better form, with 6 non-fiction and 2 fiction, so far.

And all but a small handful of these 120 books came from that most magical of places, West Florida Public Library. Thank you for the books, for the entertainment and education, for the inspiration and transformation. I would not be who I am today were it not for the wonder of reading.