Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Show Us Your Books: 2016 in review

I finished 81 books this year, not including the ones I read for work purposes. Some I started and didn’t finish. Some I meant to read and didn’t get around to. Some I finished and hated. Some I finished and months later, can’t stop thinking about.

The latter ones I’ve designated as my favorites of the year. Not because of an arbitrary Goodreads rating or anything else. I picked what I did because of their lasting impact and my likelihood of recommending them to others. And since they’ve already been reviewed and I hate repeating myself, I figured I’d just do a quick picture with the list of titles and authors underneath (I apologize for the lack of links but this post is coming to you live from my phone). There’s a combination of fiction and nonfiction so there’s something for everyone!

Notably absent: Sue Klebold’s book and The Underground Railroad. The latter for no reason other than it’s on all the lists and the former because while I can’t stop thinking about it, I don’t know that I can honestly recommend it.


The books:

  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid 
  • Real Artists Have a Day Jobs by Sara Benincasa
  • Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
  • Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser
  • Violent Ends edited by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield
  • Evicted by Matthew Desmond
  • Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano
  • The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson
  • The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • Shelter by Jung Yun
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay 
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  • The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Now it’s your turn! Let us know about your 2016 favorites! And don’t forget to visit Steph and some other participants to start making your 2017 TBR even bigger!

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43 Comments

  1. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    So many of these books are already on my TBR. I’m so anxious to read The Mothers. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. Hopefully, I’ll have it next month. Dark Matter is also one that I want to read but keep forgetting about it. I need to get my mitts on that one soon! And most definitely I need to read The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight because that title says it all!
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…2016 Bookshelf: And I Will Always Love YouMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      That title is everything!

      Reply
  2. Nadine

    Small Great Things is the only book on your list I read, I will have to check some of the others out. I love seeing everyone’s favorites for the year in one place because these are the ones you know you want to add to the TBR!!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I love the favorites, too. Helps weed out the mediocre and bad ones!

      Reply
  3. Rebecca Jo

    I just bought Small Great Things- cant wait to get to it.
    Ohhh – every time I see Sea of Tranquility – it makes me want to pick it back up.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Sea of Tranquility was a beautiful book.

      Reply
  4. Nancy

    I loved the Sea of Tranquility! I can’t believe that I haven’t read Small Great Things Yet since I love Picoult! The Mothers is already on my to read list.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      SGT is a hard, necessary, unforgettable book. I can’t encourage you enough to move it up on the list

      Reply
  5. kristen

    i got the sea of tranquility for christmas 🙂 even though i’ve already read it lol i didn’t own it, so i asked for it 🙂 Burn Baby Burn is in my library pile so hopefully i get to it soon. i am waiting on the mothers, i’ve heard amazing things!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Please, please get to Burn Baby Burn. It was AMAZING.

      Reply
  6. Carly

    Thanks so much for always hosting this linkup– it’s definitely my favorite each month! I recently finished up The Mothers and loved it too! A few of the others are already on my list, but I’m going to add a few others now too!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      And thanks so much for participating! The Mothers was incredible. Steph and I have it as an upcoming podcast topic, too.

      Reply
  7. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders

    Dark Matter is a book that I need to get my hands on! Everybody has said nothing but great things about it! The Mothers and The Sea of Tranquility are two others that have been on my list for forever, and I need to get on board with actually reading them! They just sound like such great books!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      OMG, please make all of these priorities!!!

      Reply
  8. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    Lots of these on my TBR list…I wonder if any will appear on my 2017 best of?

    Dark Matter is on mine also…look at us, sciencing.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I don’t know if they will. Our tastes usually don’t overlap. But I am curious to know what you think about some of them.

      Reply
  9. Kristin

    “The Sea of Tranquility” is on my I-will-recommend-this-to-everyone-forever list.
    I have a lot of these on my TBR list from your linkups this year…my library has NONE of them though, so I’ll need to find another way.
    I heard a person recommend the book Columbine on a book podcast last week…they brought up Sue Klebold’s book in the discussion but neither had read it.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Columbine is on my TBR. It’s apparently the best one of the books on the topic.

      Reply
  10. Kathleen

    Clearly I need to read Dark Matter because it is on a ton of lists! Thanks so much for hosting this lil up! I’m so glad I found it this year! Can’t wait to keep it up in 2017!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      It’s SO GOOD. Hope you enjoy it!

      Reply
  11. Audrey

    I will have to check these out on GoodReads. You’ve got a few on here that no one’s mentioned! I love that! Thank you to you & Steph for hosting this review link-up!!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I tend to have those 🙂

      Reply
  12. Brittany Pines

    I’ve only read The Life Changing Magic but did enjoy that one. Several others are on my TBR from previous link-ups!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Hope you get around to reading them next year!

      Reply
  13. Karly

    Well, The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck definitely sounds like a book that I need to start the new year with. 🙂 So many good reads this year, thanks for sharing and growing my never-ending to-read list!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      It’s amazing and she has a new book, Get Your Shit Together, that releases today or tomorrow.

      Reply
  14. Olya @ The Siberian American

    I read Sea of Tranquility a few years ago, and it has really stuck with me. I have Dark Matter on my list too. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      It’s one of those books that just sticks with you long after you’ve put it down.

      Reply
  15. Mattie

    I can’t wait to read Small Great Things and The Mothers! I loved Sue Klebold’s book too, and I included it in my post. I read Columbine right after it (those are the last two books I finished reading) and I am like WHY did I do that to myself? Now that those two are behind me I need to read some happy stuff.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I have very strong, mixed feelings about Sue Klebold’s book. It’s part of why I couldn’t put it on the list.

      Reply
  16. Lauren

    I meant to put Sea of Tranquility on my list and thought I had opened the tab in Goodreads, but somehow I left it off. Glad to see it on yours! The Mothers and Evicted are both high on my TBR. I think I missed my shot with them at the library during my reading slump so I need to get back on the hold list for them. Let’s be real, I love 95% of the same books as you so I will probably add the majority of your list to my TBR if it isn’t there already! Thanks to you and Steph as always for hosting this!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I can’t wait for you to read them and hear what you think (since we generally agree)!

      Reply
  17. Pam

    Thanks for hosting this wonderful book community. I am adding Sea of Tranquility to my list. I think DH will enjoy Dark Matter. Happy New Year! Pam

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      My husband loved it, too!

      Reply
  18. ShootingStarsMag

    I’ve owned The Sea of Tranquility for awhile now; I really need to read it. I also want to read Violent Ends.

    Nice list – I like that it has a mix of books.

    -Lauren
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Show Us Your Books: Best of 2016My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Violent Ends is probably my absolute favorite of the year.

      Reply
  19. Jill

    I’m intensely curious about The Underground Railroad now!

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      It’s really good! Steph and I did a podcast episode on it if you want to hear all our thoughts.

      Reply
  20. Jess

    I haven’t read… any of these yet! I think I’m going to have to buy Real Artists Have Day Jobs because I really want to read it and the library doesn’t have a digital copy.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      They don’t, which sucks but I actually plan to buy a real copy for future rereads.

      Reply
  21. Kimmi

    I just finished “I’m Thinking of ending Things” and I have no idea what I think about it yet. All I know was it went from meh to WTF in like five seconds!

    Reply
  22. Rose @ Ramblin' Rose

    That Ian Reid book is on my must read list. Small Great Things was on my list this year and Sea of Tranquility made last years list.

    Reply
  23. Micah @ Unabashedly Me

    Sara Knight’s book is still sitting in my TBR pile. And on my nightstand. It’ll be happening soon.

    I’m intrigued by the Ian Reid book too.

    Reply

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