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The Books I Read Since August

Books Read since August

Welcome to 2017! Like many people, I am happy to be leaving the dumpster fire of 2016 behind and moving ahead to a new year which, I hope, will not be as terrible.

I thought about just jumping back into blogging in the new year, but decided I didn’t want to move on to new things until I had a brief chance to recap some old things. I want to have a record of what I read last year, a place where I could at least look back and know what words I filled my brain and my heart with during this awful, dark time.

So, without further ado, here’s my list of the books I’ve read since August when my world got turned upside down:

  1. Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
  2. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  3. The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
  4. Black Man in a White Coat by Damon Tweedy
  5. The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  6. Self-Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler
  7. Redshirts by John Scalzi
  8. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  9. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  10. Her Halloween Treat by Tiffany Riez
  11. The Wangs Versus the World by Jade Cheng
  12. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Raculla
  13. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  14. Victoria by Julia Baird
  15. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
  16. Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
  17. It’s Ok to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort
  18. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

Looking back on that list, it seems clear that my reading since August had been… Sporadic? Comforting? Disjointed? Easy? Probably a little bit of all of those things.

I don’t remember much about many of these books. I read them in a haze, or listened to them during my multi-hour commutes, or picked in and out of them over several weeks (or, in the case of Victoria, months) until I could jot them down on a page in my notebook. Finishing a book has felt a bit like finding my way back to myself and the person I used to be, even if I also know I don’t ever really get to be that person again.

It’s probably not surprising that I turned to young adult books over the last few months. There’s something comforting about teenage problems and something optimistic about first love that I found soothing. I remember relying heavily on YA audio books to get through some long drives, and other big YA titles to serve as distractions when I needed them – highlights were Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir, and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.

Another trend was audiobooks by funny ladies. In August, September and October I was commuting about 50 miles to work each direction, necessitating lots of audiobooks and podcasts. The best books on audio tended to be essay collections narrated by funny women, I think because they felt like podcasts and could hold my wandering attention. Self-Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler was excellent, and I did a deep dive into You Must Remember This, a podcast on Old Hollywood by Karina Longworth.  

Looking at the list, I’m a little surprised that I managed to also read some actual adult fiction. Nothing deep, but a few titles that felt like they were leading me back to the stories I tend to love. Funny Girl by Nick Hornby was a perfect distraction, and American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld scratched a political itch I didn’t know I had.

And finally, I read a bunch of books about grief and recovery and death and how you move on from the loss of your partner when you’re young. Some were more obvious – It’s Ok to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort basically felt like it was putting my heart and mind on the page. But others, like Victoria by Julia Baird and Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley and The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy, came at it in slightly different directions. I’d recommend them all, though for slightly different reasons.

I’m not sure what my reading in 2017 is going to look like. I don’t have any goals or specific plans, other than trying to focus on reading what I want and rediscovering the things that I love. I still don’t know where the blog fits into all of that, but I’m hoping it starts to feel like a necessary part of my life once again soon.

But enough about me, how are you? What was the best book you read last year? What books are you anticipating for this year? This disconnected blogger desperately wants to hear!

And a Bonus Announcement!

In case you missed the news, I’m going to be slightly expanding my role at Book Riot. I’ll be editing and writing a twice-monthly nonfiction newsletter, True Story, beginning on Jan. 20. If you follow this link to sign up you’ll be entered in a giveaway for some pretty exciting nonfiction titles. I hope you’ll invite me to your inbox.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Julie Merilatt January 13, 2017, 1:57 pm

    Welcome BAAAAACK! You were missed…

  • Florinda January 13, 2017, 6:15 pm

    SO good to see you here, and of course I signed up for your new Book Riot newsletter! I hope you’re on your way back to the book blogosphere, because we’ve really missed you! It looks like you were reading what felt right to you in the second half of the year, which was the best thing you could do.

    Since you asked…😊 I did a 3916 reading wrap-up post last week. I didn’t read a huge number of books last year, but a lot of what I read was really good! Some of the ones that have stuck: BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME, HIDDEN FIGURES, COMMONWEALTH, and Elean Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet (prep got my trip to Italy this spring!).

  • Kailana January 13, 2017, 6:26 pm

    Nice to see a post from you!! I saw your Book Riot expansion and just signed up for it. 🙂 Wishing you all the best in 2017!

  • Aparatchick January 13, 2017, 7:04 pm

    So glad to see you back!

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) January 13, 2017, 8:23 pm

    2017 has got to be better. It just has to be!

  • Tina January 14, 2017, 7:53 am

    I am glad to see you posting and I love that term, dumpster fire, as that describes it well. But you are posting more on Book Riot?! I will definitely sign up.
    Love your list of books, Kim.

  • Stephanie January 14, 2017, 9:03 am

    Happy to see you back! I wish nothing but the best for you this year.

  • Christy (A Good Stopping Point) January 14, 2017, 12:42 pm

    Welcome back! I have signed up for your newsletter and am really looking forward to your nonfiction picks! A couple of the books I really enjoyed last year were Spoonhandle by Ruth Moore (1940’s novel about 1930’s Maine island life) and Unbroken by Hillenbrand (I feel like one of the last people to read it). I recently finished two great nonfiction books: Lawrence Wright’s Thirteen Days in September and Patrick Kingsley’s The New Odyssey (about refugee crisis). I received a review copy of In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine by Ben Judah (nonfiction) that I’m looking forward to reading. And I’m hoping to get to Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing soon.

  • maphead January 14, 2017, 3:34 pm

    Missed you terribly! Glad you’re back!
    Because you asked, my favorite book of 2016 was Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer.
    Here’s a link to my Best of 2016 list for nonfiction:
    https://maphead.wordpress.com/2016/12/28/2016-in-review-my-favorite-nonfiction/

    Welcome back!

  • iliana January 14, 2017, 6:14 pm

    So glad to see a post from you! I hope 2017 is a much better year and that you continue to find your way back to the things that bring you joy. I’ve signed up for the newsletter of course!

  • Amber January 14, 2017, 11:30 pm

    It’s great to “hear your voice” again! 🙂 I’m looking forward to the newsletter and expanding my nonfiction TBR pile. As for a favorite read from 2016. . . how to choose! A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay still sticks with me (such a great creepy, twisted story), as does When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. And I’m currently awaiting the release of Caraval by Stephanie Garber on 1/31 to satiate my YA reading craving.

  • Katie @ Doing Dewey January 15, 2017, 4:05 pm

    I’m so glad you’re feeling up to posting and super excited about your new nonfiction newsletter! Let me know if you’re ever looking for another contributor 🙂 I’m super impressed you’ve managed to read at all in the past few months and I hope you found some comfort in it.

  • tanya (52 books or bust) January 16, 2017, 6:41 am

    Well, i think you did a great job with your reading and I hope if brings you a little comfort and escape. Congratulations on the BR newsletter. I know it will be full of great stuff.

  • Jenny @ Reading the End January 16, 2017, 10:31 am

    Hi friend, beautiful friend, it’s so good to see you around these parts. I’m hugely looking forward to your nonfiction newsletter, which I know will be absolutely brilliant. I’m pleased you enjoyed Funny Girl — I didn’t love the end, but the bulk of the book was just an absolute treat.

    I feel like I didn’t read that many books in 2016 that blew me away, so I’m hoping for better things out of 2017. We’ll see!

  • Michelle January 21, 2017, 8:54 pm

    I am so happy you are back. Yes, 2017 has to be a better year for all of us!

  • susan February 1, 2017, 8:40 am

    Thx for your post, glad to know you are still around the book blog world. I can see where funny audios can help. Sittenfeld’s Eligible is quite humorous audiobook for your commute. Also when I lost someone close, I also appreciated CS Lewis’s book A Grief Observed, if you haven’t read that one already. take care.

  • amckiereads February 1, 2017, 2:02 pm

    I was so excited to see that you’re writing a non-fiction newsletter for BookRiot. Definitely some great books in your list (I will always have a soft spot for Carry On especially). I hope that 2017 is a much better year for you – hugs and love.

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