Best Books of 2016

Can you believe it’s 2017 already? I certainly can’t. It really doesn’t feel like it’s been a whole year since I made a resolution to post on this blog more. And, actually, failed abjectly at that in the first few months of the year.

January had only two blog posts, and February none, but in my defence, I published my first book and submitted my PhD, so I was kind of busy. Organising a conference and presenting at another one in the space of only two days meant February was a write-off, and April was my viva, swiftly followed by extensive – and I mean extensive – corrections. Finally, though, in September, I finished my third-level education and am now officially Dr O’Connell. More importantly, though, I managed in the latter part of the year to get into a more regular posting schedule, and kept myself reading and posting as much as I could.

I read 191 books in 2016, according to my own list, and 197 according to Goodreads, which is rather more generous in counting short stories as books. I completed the Modern Mrs Darcy Challenge, and the PopSugar challenge (with a bit of fudging) (blog post forthcoming) and my GoodReads challenge by a huge margin, so I’m pretty pleased with how I got on this year, in the end.

I read a lot of very good and a few very bad books this year, but there were a few standouts that deserve extra recognition, and accolades as my top picks of everything I read this year:

Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland

An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night – Sabaa Tahir

All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

The Girl From Everywhere – Heidi Heilig

Goldenhand – Garth Nix

This list is very similar to my Christmas book recommendations, so I don’t think there’s that much point talking about any of these other than to say that I think you should read them,  because they are excellent, so let’s move on.

Other than great books, I’m also a big fan of great COVERS, so these are my top nine books that I read this year for fantastic cover art which aren’t on my list of top books overall, because that would be repetition and it would be *boring*.

I struggled to pick which of the Winner’s Trilogy I would put on my list, and went with an alternate cover for Shadow Study, and A Most Magical Girl doesn’t look as good on a computer screen as it does in person, but these are my picks and I’m sticking to them!

2016 has been a good year. I’m hoping 2017 will be similar, although I can’t say that I’m expecting anything as big as publishing a book or getting my PhD. I’m hoping for a lot of reading, a lot of happiness, and lots of beautiful books though.

I’ve decided to set myself some slightly different challenges for 2017.

I’m still toying with the idea of completing the PopSugar 2017 reading challenge, because it has some pretty cool prompts. I’ve set my GoodReads challenge at 100 again, because I don’t want to pressure myself too much, but I’ve also made up my own challenge, based in part on the PopSugar challenge.

My main aim for 2017 is to read:

  • 26 books by authors whose first names cover every letter of the alphabet
  • 26 books by authors whose last names cover every letter of the alphabet; and
  • 26 books where one of the title words cover every letter of the alphabet.

I also have a super-level challenge, where it has to be 78 different books, but I’m not entirely sure I’m actually going to manage that. Some letters are hard!

All in all, I hope 2017 is going to be a good year, both personally and bookishly, and hope that the same is true for anyone and everyone who stumbles across this blog post, too!

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