2016 reading challenge

It’s here! My 2016 reading challenge wrap-up

IT’S HERE! The 2016 end of year reading wrap-up! I hit my goal of 35 books — just 15 less than last year’s goal. There were a lot of good reads, but to be honest, it wasn’t one of my best years. I think I’ll be more selective with what I’m reading in 2017 (with a 35 book goal again).

Here’s what I read: 

On Beauty – Zadie Smith

White Teeth – Zadie Smith

The Marriage Plot – Jeffrey Eugenides

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf

The Pleasure of My Company – Steve Martin

Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer

Camino de Santiago: Camino Frances 2016 – Leslie Glimour

The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman

Tess of D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

The House at Riverton – Kate Morton

The Seamstress – Frances de Pontes Peebles

The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton

Robert Musil – Flypaper

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers – Xiaolu Guo

Snow – Orhan Pamuk

My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult

The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling

Jack, the King of Ashes – Andy Jones

The Cure For Death By Lightning – Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe

The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling

How Not to Travel the World – Lauren Juliff

Story Craft – Jack Hart

Without You There is No Us – Suki Kim

Once again, I’ve lifted this survey from the awesome Perpetual Page Turner. If you’re a reader, you’ll love her blog. (If you steal this survey, please credit her.)

If you want to keep following my reads, check me out on Goodreads.

Number Of Books You Read: 35
Number of Re-Reads: 7
Genre You Read The Most From: Fiction


1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

White Teeth by Zadie Smith. She’s a beautiful writer.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Once again, blogs turned into books = the suck.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

How Not to Travel the World by Lauren Juliff.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Without You There is No Us by Suki Kim, but I JUST read it.

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Harry Potter, of course! Rereading.

 6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2016?

Zadie Smith.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Jack, the King of Ashes by Andy Jones. It’s a children’s book that I picked up from a printing shop as a gift for a friend, and I totally read it before wrapping. Don’t judge.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?


10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Severus Snape. Dude. I love him.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

White Teeth by Zadie Smith.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

Everything is Illuminated made me cry like a baby.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

My Sister’s Keeper! Simply because I always see it EVERYWHERE and never bothered picking it before.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

It’s a funny thing about the modern world. You hear girls in the toilets of clubs saying, “Yeah, he fucked off and left me. He didn’t love me. He just couldn’t deal with love. He was too fucked up to know how to love me.” Now, how did that happen? What was it about this unlovable century that convinced us we were, despite everything, eminently lovable as a people, as a species? What made us think that anyone who fails to love us is damaged, lacking, malfunctioning in some way? And particularly if they replace us with a god, or a weeping madonna,-then we call them crazy.

Deluded. Regressive. We are so convinced of the goodness of ourselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time. – White Teeth, Zadie Smith

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: Jack, the King of Ashes

Longest: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

My Sister’s Keeper, definitely.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Obvs Harry and Hermione!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Dave and his little brother in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Hm, maybe The Marriage Plot. Although it definitely didn’t compare to Middlesex.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

The Cure For Death By Lightning. (Sent to me via a Facebook book swap.)

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

Literally none.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

How Not to Travel the World.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Everything Harry Potter, naturally!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Jack, King of Ashes.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

Oh boy. White Teeth, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, My Sister’s Keeper, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows…

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers. I picked it up at my Berlin bookstore because the title intrigued me. Super cute read!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

White Teeth, but in a good way.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

Definitely Jack, King of Ashes.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, because that’s when he starts turning into a moody adolescent bastard.


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

I want to start ticking off the books I’ve had on my Goodreads to-read list forever, so starting with Don’t Tell the Newfoundlanders by Greg Malone.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

None, really.

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?


 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?


5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Read better books!

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:


What were your favourite books from 2016?

  • December 30 2016

    You know I actually remember how early this year you were raving about Zadie Smith and I picked up On Beauty, but I didn’t like it much. It wasn’t a bad book – I guess I was just expecting more of a plot. Do you think other books by her are different and worth reading, or is it just gonna be similar to On Beauty?
    Elina recently posted…Story: Vague endings

    • January 04 2017

      Aw man! That’s fair though. The kind of books I love usually fall into two categories — long, nearly biographical accounts of a character’s (or characters’) life (like John Irving), or quick-paced storytelling that keeps me hooked from page one. I suppose Zadie falls into the former, haha. I did prefer White Teeth, though.

  • December 30 2016

    I did 12 physical books and 15 audio books. Loved All the Light we Cannot See and All the Missing Girls. Did not enjoy Sarah Silverman’s The Bedwetter very much and hated Rainbow Rowell’s Landline even though her novel Eleanor and Park is one of my faves. Surprised by Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Not really a fan of True Crime but it was a well written and well woven story. Looking forward to reading the next Allan Bradley book. I adore his Flavia De Luce books. She is the most precocious and fun character even is she is pre-pubescent.

    • January 04 2017

      I LOVED All the Light We Cannot See! I’ll check out the others. How do you like listening to audiobooks? I find them to be so expensive

      • January 09 2017

        I don’t know how I got through life without audiobooks. Other than in the morning on my drive to work, I only ever listen to audio book anytime I am in the car. I have a half hour commute to work everyday and in the evening when I have information overload after all day, I cannot listen to anymore radio and and aural escape is just what I need to help me shed my day. I’ve also listened to books while running. It helps occupy my mind so I stop obsessing over how much further I have to go or how I am hating very second of it. lol.

        You can get audio books at the library and they also have a free service called OverDrive where you can download them to your device though I’ve yet to master it. There are lots of bootlegs out there too and Audible has a trial period. Really enjoyed non-fiction audiobooks like Mindy Kaling’s newest book narrated by herself as well as Jim Gaffigan’s Food: A love story. And the entire Outlander series on audiobook was fantastic.

        • January 16 2017

          I tend to listen to podcasts for those times! Especially during my morning walks to and from work. I’ve tried one or two audiobooks but didn’t LOVE it. Mindy Kaling was one of the readers, actually, but maybe it was just the book I didn’t love. Haha.

  • January 04 2017

    Happy New Year Candice!

    Fantastic list of books, I do have one question on one of the books on the list.

    I saw it the other day in the shops but had never heard of it…

    How Not to Travel the World – Lauren Juliff

    How did you rate it? I see you said it was the book that surprised you the most, but any particular reason why?

    • January 04 2017

      I believe I rated it 4 out of 5 stars! And I maybe should have explained myself better — I usually HATE when bloggers turn their blogs into books. (I’ve ranted about it a lot in the past, haha.) I find it almost NEVER works. But I really did enjoy Lauren’s book, as infuriating as some parts of it were. It was some great insight into what it’s like travelling with anxiety.

  • January 04 2017

    I quite fancy a Potter re-read too, although my copies are in storage :/ I’ve been wanting to read ‘Without You There is No Us’, so no encouragement needed there.

    I know what you mean about reading “better” books (although I think there were some great titles on both of our round up lists). I’d like to read more classics this year. My brother gave me a mug for Christmas that is decorated with well-known book covers (Gatsby, P&P, Dickens, etc) and my ambition is to read all thirty by year’s end. Currently at 14. The book on the mug I’m most scared about is Ulysses.
    LC recently posted…The Importance of Backyard Travel: Australian Travel Plans for 2017

    • January 09 2017

      Aw man, that is such a thoughtful gift! Haha. Yeah, I loved most of the books I read, but looking back on them…there’s nothing that REALLY resounded with me. Not like in previous years.

  • January 06 2017

    I read My Sister’s Keeper about a year ago, and wow, what a book! I had seen the movie, but of course, the book is way better. It was one of those where I stayed up until like 3am reading because I couldn’t put it down. And Without You There Is No Us…yep, that was a good one too. It actually got me reading a ton of other memoir-style books about North Korea, and for weeks I was crying into my Kindle. Fascinating and so incredibly heartbreaking.
    Ali recently posted…On Living a Non-Traditional Life

    • January 09 2017

      Damn, how many North Korean memoirs are there?! Haha. I’d love to read more

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