Why I’m thrilled I read fewer books in 2016 + my 5 favorite reads

As I go through the books I’ve read this year, it’s immediately evident that the count is much lower than in the last couple of years. Since about 2012, I think, I’ve been averaging about 60 to 70 books each year. This year, the count is at a measly 26. And I’m thrilled! Because it is tangible proof that I’ve been spending my time doing more art, more soul work, and a whole lotta more blogging!

Reading has always been something I love – and don’t get me wrong, I love it still. But in the last few years, it had become an unhealthy, obsessive sorta love. I used it as an escape route – from life, from inner work, from my fears and hopes and dreams. Because if I was spending every free moment reading, I wasn’t doing much of anything else, was I?

Anyhoo, of the 25 books I read this year, these were my 5 favorite reads. If you haven’t read them already, put them on the top of your TBR list!

All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

This is a breathtakingly beautiful account of a blind French girl and a young German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as they try to survive the devastation of World War II. The imagery – both literal {1940s Paris and Germany} and the deeper philosophical and scientific threads woven into the story – are pure genius. I didn’t want the book to end and I couldn’t put it down! It’s a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading – in fact, I’m planning to re-read this one next year!

Buy on Amazon

Sweet Breath of Memory – Ariella Cohen

Two years since her husband was killed in Iraq, Cate Saunders finds herself down to her last couple of dollars, taking up a new job as a caregiver in Amberley, Massachusetts. Sooner than she expected, she’s drawn, reluctantly, into a circle of close friends. With their gifts of intuition, kind heartedness, and forthrightness, will they be able to help Cate heal her broken heart and find closure over her husband’s death? This is a beautifully told story with some gorgeous writing.
You can read the full review here.

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Three Souls – Janie Chang

We have three souls, or so I’d been told. But only in death could I confirm this …So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. As she reviews her life and mistakes in life along with her souls, readers are drawn into Chinese society in the early 1900s. This is an entirely fascinating and captivating story that I cannot recommend enough.

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The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman

Tom Sherbourne is the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, which is nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. And from there unfolds a heartbreaking story with no right answers, where justice for one set of characters is tragedy for another. This beautifully written novel is sure to tug at your heartstrings and make you wonder – was there really a “right” choice here?

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The Blue Bath – Mary Waters-Sayer

What would you do if you walked into an art gallery and saw your own face plastered on the walls – evidence of a long-ago love affair with the artist. This is a beautiful exploration of young love, sacrificing love, hedonistic love, obsessive love; layered and rich in details and complexity. You can read the full review here.

Buy on Amazon

Have you read any of these? Or want to read any? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Book reviews, Year-end wrap-up and tagged , .

34 Comments

    • I hope you can put a few of them on your TBR list – they’re really lovely! Truevine sounds intriguing – I’m off to check what it is about!

  1. I loved The Light Between Oceans. I haven’t seen the movie, but the book was superb. I’ve not heard of most of the others! I’ve just started to get back into a reading routine again lately, so now that I have holidays coming up I’ll have to look these up.

    • I haven’t seen the movie either, but the book was beautiful! If you want a recommendation for 1 of these 4 that you haven’t read, make it All The Light…it’s absolutely beautiful!

  2. Nope not read any of those but I do understand what you are saying when you talk of reading taking over one’s life. I have so much going on that I’m pretty happy with my current score of 30.

  3. I know exactly what you mean. I have always been a slow reader, a constant reader, but a slow one. Which is why I set reasonable, achievable goals for myself.

    This year, I had a goal of reading 30 books, and I think I am on my 37th one right now. But I was not in a race, because I had set a realistic goal for myself, and anything above that was a bonus.

    As far as these books go, I haven’t read any of them, but have heard many great things about some of them. All The Light We Cannot See appeals to me the most in this list. Bumping it up in my TBR. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • And which ones were your favorite?

      All The Light … Is a lovely book. Do bump it up and read it soon. I’m sure you’ll want to put it on your to read again pile. 🙂

  4. I haven’t kept count on my books till now, only planning to do it from next year. And I sure must try any of these books, thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. The same goes for me. i also feel I have read lesser number of books in 2016 than 2015 with playing the role of the single parent which is taxing to say the least. I have not read any of these books and going by this post I am going to add all of them to my Goodread TBR shelf. By the way I love to read stories and plots set up in different countries and cultures.

  6. Oh, I know what you mean. .I had been on a reading spree but since the last two months I couldn’t read much. Well, I was concentrating on my blog a bit more then. 🙂
    Those are some great recommendations. I will definitely check them out.

    • haha, yes! Reading is something I will always love, but no more reading obsessively. There’s so much more I can do when I’m not lost in a book! 🙂

  7. I am flagging this post for my future use. I had been a voracious reader however the reading has reduced in the last few years for all sorts of pressure however I will come back soon. Happy reading for the next year

  8. Reading Janie chang was my fav… haven’t read the others u have mentioned… Shall add in my tbr list. I have in fact become an erratic reader these days. When some days I read throughout and there are days when I hardly pick a book up.

  9. Adding all these books to my to be read list!

    This year has been pretty amazing for me on the reading front. I’ve read so many YA titles this year. I even started the Song of Ice and Fire series, and reread Harry Potter a million times. I’ve read more books this year than I did in the last year (when I had taken up the GoodReads challenge. Such a shame)

    Thank you for sharing these amazing titles for us bibliophiles!

    • Wow Mithila! How do you manage to juggle it all – studies, exams, reading, blogging, and everything else that you do?

      I absolutely love the Song of Fire and Ice series. I had read all of them one after the other, and found myself disoriented for a while once I was out of that world!

      Any good YA reccos for me? 🙂

      • That’s why I’m called fabulous 😀

        True, the series is too engaging. And too lengthy to complete too!

        Some good YA books you have to read are: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, If I Stay & Where She Went by Gayle Forman, and the Hunger Games Series. I’ll keep updating my twitter for more titles 🙂
        Where’d you Go Bernadette by Maria Semple is an awesome book too!

  10. Pingback: 2017 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge - Everyday Gyaan

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