Friday, December 30, 2016

The Bookalicious Babe's Top Ten Reads of 2016

Wow!  It's the last week of 2016, and time to reflect on what I've read and pick  the books that impacted me the most this year.  I always like to look at my reading choices and try to see a pattern over the year.  What I noticed the most this year is my lack of historical fiction.  It's my favorite genre, and I'm quite surprised to see I didn't read much at all.  I did, however, read a lot of nonfiction, which is a switch from previous years.  Mainly this was due to listening to audio books on my daily commute to work, and reading nonfiction books to present at my hospital book talks.  I also didn't read much science fiction, which is another of my favorite genres.  This was all a surprise to me.  I also was a bit disappointed in my inability to get more reading accomplished.  Just so darn much going on this year it was hard to carve out dedicated reading time.  

I also worked hard on posting what I was going to read each month so I could have some discipline and structure in my reading choices.  I've got so many books stacked at home, sometimes it's hard to make a choice and stick with it.  I'm not sure if it helped me or stressed me out!  I certainly don't want to disappoint my followers and not review a book I've said I would review.  As it is, I'm still two short for the month of December.  I'll confess:  I start out with good intentions, but easily get distracted by other books coming into my view.  I can't help it!  

So 2017...I don't know what it will bring, reading wise.  I'll try again to chip away at the stacks and boxes of unread books I've got at home.  I'll definitely try to read more historical fiction, science fiction, and teen books.  I'll even throw in some young reader novels, too.  And I will stick with my policy of not finishing books if they don't grab me in the first 100 pages.  I'm happy to say I've checked out more library books in the past year than I have since I was a kid.  It's certainly been a money saver for me and a chance to support the local library system.  

Without further ado, here are my top ten reads of 2016.  Some were published this year; others have been out for a few years and remain popular book club choices and bestsellers.  It was hard to whittle it down to ten.  


I listened to these letters on audio, and was thrilled to hear about Laura's life with Almanzo in Missouri in their later years.  Bought the book to keep permanently on my bookcase.  

This was one of the few historical novels I read this year, and I rediscovered my love of the Revolutionary Era of America.  Thomas Jefferson and his daughter Patsy had a fascinating relationship against the backdrop of a young country struggling through growing pains.  

This was a heart-tugger about a man's adventures to discover just who his recently deceased wife really was before they met and married.  Did he keep her from being her true self?  A sweet novel.
I resisted reading this for awhile due to the huge buzz, but a friend recommended it at our book group and handed it to me, so I dug in and was glad I did!  A plane crash leaves a young boy and one man as the lone survivors; what happened on that short flight?  We get the story from each of the people on the plane in the days leading up to the crash; the ending was a heart-tugger.  The novel also talks about the glare of media and the harm speculative journalism can do to people.  


The Family Plot was a creepy read about a haunted house and the very angry spirit that wants vengeance.  Cherie Priest does an amazing job setting an uncomfortable atmosphere.  I don't scare easily, but it certainly made me uneasy.


This historical novel about a family's struggle to start a successful apple orchard in frontier Ohio is a study in familial dysfunction.  I loved learning about orchards, apples, and the redwood forests of California. 


Listened to this on audio, and was immediately sucked into the lives of four women: two Yankees and two Confederates. Women who disguised themselves, used their charm, thought on their feet, and did whatever they had to in order to help their side win the Civil War.  Fascinating women! 


This book had been on my TBR list for years and I finally read it for a book talk at my hospital.  Wow!  I had no idea James Garfield was such an amazing man. That his life was cut short by the inept medical decisions of an egotistical doctor is a disgrace.  Oh, what he could have done as president.  Highly recommend this book.  

I think this was the only teen novel I read all year, and it was fantastic.  Lady Jane Grey's true tale of political intrigue and execution is radically changed into a clever alternate story that will have you cheering.  Not just for teens!

This was a charming novel featuring my favorite character of the whole year.  Young Frank is a nine year old who dresses like a star from old Hollywood, quotes classic films, and doesn't fit in with his fourth grade classmates.  It's up to Alice to take care of him while his mother writes her comeback novel.  I laughed out loud throughout this novel about motherly love, comebacks, and the struggle to find your own niche in the world.  An excellent book club recommendation. 

There it is!  My top ten reads of 2016.   May you all have a safe and happy New Year full of good friends, great books, and lots of reading time.  


  1. Wonderful list Sue. I certainly was impressed by Before the Fall. Happy New Year and best wishes on attaining your reading goals!

  2. Thank you Judy! Happy New Year to you too. I'm excited to start a new year of books. I've already got a huge stack :)