My Favorite Reads of 2016

2016 was a very good year for reading. After a down year in 2015, this past year I surpassed my goal of 36 books, finishing number 38 on Christmas Eve. Here is what Goodreads tells me about my year in reading:

  • I read 11,553 pages.
  • The average length of the books I read was 304 pages.
  • The most popular book I read was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
  • The least popular book I read was No One Cries the Wrong Way by Joe Kempf.

Not only did I discover some great new books in 2016, but I also revisited some old favorites and found them just as good as I remembered. I also found new energy to write reviews for the books I was reading, and published eleven book reviews in November and December alone. That new energy came from two main sources: first, for my 50th birthday I decided to begin the Classics Club challenge of reading 50 classics in 5 years; and second, I participated in Nonfiction November, my first online reading event. Through Classics Club and Nonfiction November I also discovered some new book blogs, met some fellow bloggers, and got some great book recommendations. In fact, my favorite book of the year was a recommendation that came out of Nonfiction November.

Ready Player OneAnd so, without further ado, here’s the countdown of my favorite books of 2016 (titles link to Amazon):

  1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – This book slowly grew on me, until finally it grabbed me and drew me into its moving story.
  2. An Experiment in Criticism by C.S. Lewis – This was recommended by David Coleman, president of the College Board (the SAT people). An excellent work on the experience of reading.
  3. Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson – Don’t miss this heroic fantasy classic. My review
  4. Conan: The Definitive Collection by Robert Howard – After all these years, the barbarian still entertains.  My review
  5. The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni – The first book I finished for my Classics Club challenge. My review
  6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – This is a really fun book, especially for those of us who grew up in the 1980s. I’m looking forward to the Spielberg-produced movie coming out in the summer of 2018.
  7. Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard – This book is even more fun than Ready Player One. (BTW, it has nothing to do with Scientology.) My review
  8. Contemplating the Trinity by Raniero Cantalamessa – Interestingly, Fr. Cantalamessa was number three on my list from last year with his book on the Holy Spirit. If everyone really understood the Holy Trinity the way it’s described in this book, then what a better world we would be living in.
  9. Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson – Frightening, prophetic, and yet ultimately hopeful. My Review
  10. The Prestige by Christoper Priest – This may not be the most life-changing book on my list, but it was certainly the one that had me hooked the most while I was reading it. I could not put it down. My Review

As 2017 arrives, I look forward to my reading challenges and a goal of 44 books.

Deacon Nick

Nick Senger is a husband, a father of four, and a Catholic school teacher, vice principal and technology coordinator. He taught junior high literature and writing for over 25 years, and has been a Catholic school educator since 1990. In 2001 he was named a Distinguished Teacher of the Year by the National Catholic Education Association.

1 Response

  1. This is a great list. I enjoyed The Nightingale, too… Goodreads tells me it’s the most popular book I read this year. Ready Player One is one that keeps coming up, too, and I’m curious. My five years with The Classics Club comes to an end in April, but I’ve already decided to sign on for a second round. Nonfiction November was the best – glad I discovered your blog this year.

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