Favorite 2016 Reads

I had already shared the full list of 2016 read books with my personal rating. But I am going to chose my favorite 7.

  1. Catch 22.
    This book is one of the most unique books I have read. It is an unusual blend of humor and social critique, told through the unusual story of a soldier named Yossarian, stationed with his Air Force squadron on the island of Pianosa, near the Italian coast in the Mediterranean Sea, during World War II.
  2. In Cold Blood
    This book is unforgivable. It is a real chronicle and a novel at the same time. It is beautiful in the sense of the writing style, yet it is not a nice book, since it is about the dark side of humanity. It is difficult to imagine what you will find unless you read it. We all “know” what it is about, yet we don’t know anything about it, if we have not read it.
  3. The Makioka Sisters
    As I told a friend who reminded me about it, this family of four sisters will stay with me forever. It was a privilege to meet these sisters and those around them. I don’t know if there is such a thing as a Japanese soul, but if there is, this book captures that and weaves it along with universal human traits.
  4. El arte de la guerra
    It is always refreshing how such a short classic can stay alive through centuries, and make it to the household of a 45 years old housewife who has apparently nothing to do with the art of war (save you think quenching sibling quarrels qualifies you). Again, the book connects with any person who is curious about plotting and planning, strategies, politics, and some thoughts on citizenship and governing. I think this book will be ever so satisfying to any young and grown up boy too.
  5. The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb 
    Excellent vibrant title about those black swans that happen out of the blues. A book on sharpening our abilities to look at life and events without our ingrained outlook, but with fresh eyes. His humor was very appealing.
  6. El amigo Manso, Galdós
    Everybody who hasn’t read any book by Galdós, should read one of his titles. Everybody who loves him, should keep reading his work. Galdós takes up on a topic dear to me, education, but not only, politics, classes, marital questions, character, moral, and more, are topics that populate all his books. But he never does this in a doctoring way, the stories flow from his pen, and people come alive with his mastery of the dialogue. I love his attention to children and he is, to me, the author who writes about domesticity with realism and delight. His humor is what made me fall in love with him the moment I started turning the pages of his most famous novel, Fortunata and Jacinta.
  7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    There was also a genuine portrayal of a girl growing up in Brooklyn. Much to think about, and characters that will always live in the hearts of the readers. It was inspiring and very poetic.

and, read any and all C.S. Lewis! 🙂 His Experiment in Criticism is a book that those who like to read about the reading experience and what makes a book a good book, etc., will find indispensable.

I could also recommend Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, it was very approachable. I read it to my daughters, and we three had a prime time with the suitors and the three chests, and Portia’s speech on the quality of mercy.

1. The Pledge, Durrenmatt. (finished in 2016. I read this book in three days. It’s short but very compelling). ★★★✫✫
2. El extranjero, Camus. (I would love to discuss the book with someone). ★★★✫✫
3. The Winter Sea  ★★✫✫✫ -not worth your time
4. El arte de la guerra, Sun Tzu ★★★★✫* not to miss (it’s very short)
5. Evangeline, (long poem by Longfellow) ★★★✫✫
6. El coronel no tiene quien le escriba, Gabriel García Márquez ★★★✫✫
7. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah ★★✫✫✫ -because of its length, not worth your time
8. The Glimpses of the Moon, Edith Wharton ★★★✫✫
9. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley ★★★★
10. La metamorfosis, Kafka ★★★✫✫
11. Daughters of the Samurai, Janice P. Nimura  ★★✫✫✫
12. El fin de la eternidad, Asimov ★★★✫✫
13. Historia de la eternidad, Jorge Luis Borges ★★✫✫✫
14. City of Tranquil Light  ★★★✫✫
15. 22 Great Short Stories, Unabridged ★★★✫✫
16. The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, Alan Bradley ★★★✫✫
17. Fairwell to Arms, Hemingway ★★★✫✫
18. Catch 22 
19. Shangai Girls, Lisa See ★★✫✫✫
20. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee ★★★★
21. Paradise Lost, Milton ★★★★
22. Carry a Big Stick ★★★✫✫
23. Emma, Jane Austen ★★★✫✫
24. The Painted Veil,  1925, W. Somerset Maugham ★★★✫✫
25. The Makioka Sisters, Junichirō 
26. Middlemarch, George Eliot ★★★★
27. Isaac and His Devils, Fernanda Eberstadt ★★✫✫✫
28. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote ★★★★✫ * not to miss
29. Wild Animals That I Have Known, Seaton ★★★✫✫ * not to miss
30. Around the World in 72 days, Nellie Bly ★★★✫✫
31. The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer ★★★✫✫
32. A Red Herring Without Mustard, Alan Bradley ★★★★
33. Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury ★  * not to miss
34. The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb ★★★★✫ * not to miss
35. Ross Poldark, Winston Graham ★★★★
36. The Awakening of Miss Prim,  Natalia Sanmartín Fenollera, ★★✫✫✫
37. El amigo manso, Galdós ★  * not to miss
38. Mere Motherhood, by Cindy Rollins ★★★★✫ 
39. The Nine Tailors, Dorothy Sayers ★★★★
40. Murder on a Girl’s Night Out, Anne George ★★★✫✫
41. Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner, Kuhl ★★★✫✫
42. When Breath Becomes Air, ★  * not to miss
43. The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis, ★★★★
44. An Experiment in Criticism, C.S. Lewis ★  * not to miss
45. History in English Words, Owen Barfield ★★★✫✫
46. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith, ★★★★
47. Coraline, Neil Gaiman ★★★✫✫
48. Emma, A Modern Retelling, by Alexander McCall Smith ★★✫✫✫ (the author is worth another try in other titles)
49. Archimedes and the Door to Science ★★✫✫✫
50. La vida de los elfos, Muriel Barbery ★★★✫✫
51. I’m Half Sick of Shadows, Alen Bradley ★★★✫✫
52. Pilgrim’s Regress, C.S. Lewis ★★★★
53. The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare ★  * not to miss

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4 thoughts on “Favorite 2016 Reads

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  1. Oh no…you’re making me add more books to my list 🙂 ha! Just teasing…kind of! I think my husband already has Catch 22 so I can easily access that one. And you’ve persuaded me to read A Merchant in Venice first before Macbeth. In Cold Blood was recommended to me in college by my journalism professors so that’ll be another one I have to look for. I actually just watched the movie Shadowlands based upon CS Lewis’ love story with his wife. It’s so good! So now I’m reading his short book A Grief Observed. Very very good. It’ll mesh well with The Problem of Pain. Blessings to you Silvia in the new year! Hope to see you again soon! 🙂

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    1. I am sorry. That happens to me too, there are so many reviews of wonderful books. I have all the books or most of the books I recommend, so, whenever you want, I can loan them to you. I also have A Grief Observed, so I must read that one too, it will add to The Problem of Pain for sure. Both plays are my favorite, A Merchant is in between drama and comedy, but I guess a comedy. At our book club, I asked our moderator, Susan, which was her favorite book for 2016, from the books we read, and she said In Cold Blood. I am glad I recommended it. I had wanted to read it ever since a friend from church told me it was one of his favorite titles. In Cold Blood taught me a lot about America and American values. Every beginning of the year, with so many new lists and that, we get so many ideas for titles. Don’t let that influence you, follow your instinct. (

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  2. Deep, rich reading list, Silvia! I am interested in The Makioka Sisters. I love the stars you used to rate the rest of the list – how did you do that? It’s such a quick way to let others know what you thought of the long list.

    Warmly,
    Nancy

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    1. Hi, Nancy.
      I think you’d love The Makioka Sisters.
      The stars, I copied them by highlighting them with my mouse, and paste them in the body of my post like this ★★★✫✫, and if I want to change it to five stars, I delete the two empty ones, and copy two solid ones and paste. In one word, a copy and paste job.

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