04.Jan.2017 My Year in Books: 2016

I have a love/hate relationship with year end “Best Of” lists. I love them, because I’m curious to see what books, movies, TV shows, styles of yogurts, sweatpants, and cute puppy videos are among the year’s best and most loved. But I hate them because, as Powell’s Staff Picks Top Fives remind me, there are way too many good books that come out each year for me to possibly read a good amount of them, let alone read them all.

Back in 2010, knowing I couldn’t keep up with new releases well enough to do a decent “Best Of” list, I began simply listing all the books I read as a study in… myself, I guess. How much did I read? What did I read about? What time of year did I read most? This probably ends up only being interesting to me, but heck, I’ve been doing it for over half a decade now so I guess I’ll keep it up!

(Check out previous My Year In Books posts: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.)

Vonnegut, some old guy, and me at the local coffee shop.

Vonnegut, some old guy, and me at the local coffee shop.

GRAPHIC NOVELS/Completed Comic Book Miniseries
JANUARY
Deep Dark Fears [Ten Speed Press]

One Punch Man Vol. 5 [Viz]

One Punch Man Vol. 6 [Viz]

One Punch Man Vol. 7 [Viz]

One Punch Man Vol. 8 [Viz]

FEBRUARY
Ghostbusters Vol. 7: Happy Horror Days [IDW]

MARCH
The Comic Book History of Comics [IDW]

Sea Guy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye [DC/Vertigo]

Five Ghosts Vol. 1: The Haunting of Fabian Gray [Image]

Five Ghosts Vol. 2: Lost Coastlines [Image]

Assassination Classroom Vol. 1 [Viz]

Oemnibus [Image]

Concrete Vol. 7: The Human Dilemma [Dark Horse]

Die Homer [Self-published]

Dope Kickstarter comic + dope Kickstarter loot!

Dope Kickstarter comic + dope Kickstarter loot!

APRIL
Space Dumplins [graphix/Scholastic]

Paper Girls Vol. 1 [Image]

Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Vol. 1 [Marvel]

Joe the Barbarian [DC/Vertigo]

MAY
Last Man Vol. 1: The Stranger [First Second]

Last Man Vol. 2: The Royal Cup [First Second]

Last Man Vol. 3: The Chase [First Second]

Nimona [HarperTeen/Harper Collins]

The Nameless City Vol. 1 [First Second]

Last Man Vol. 4: The Show [First Second]

Spera: Ascension of the Starless [Archaia]

AUGUST
Divinity Vol. 1 [Valiant]

Starlight: The Return of Duke McQueen [Image]

One Punch Man Vol. 9 [Viz]

Last Man Vol. 5: The Order [First Second]

Birthright Vol. 2: Call to Adventure [Image]

Incredible Hercules Vol. 5: The Mighty Thorcules [Marvel]

SEPTEMBER
Polar: No Mercy for Sister Maria [Dark Horse]

Incredible Hercules Vol. 6: Assault on New Olympus [Marvel]

OCTOBER
Howard the Duck Omnibus [Marvel]

Heroic Age: Prince of Power [Marvel]

Nailbiter Vol. 1: There Will Be Blood [Image]

Nailbiter Vol. 2: Bloody Hands [Image]

Nailbiter Vol. 3: Blood in the Water [Image]

Nailbiter Vol. 4: Blood Lust [Image]

NOVEMBER
The Fix Vol. 1: Where Beagles Dare [Image]

The Casebook of Rabbit Back Vol. 1 [Comicker Press]

Lost Angels Vol. 1: Paradise High [Comicker Press]

DECEMBER
King Baby [Scholastic]

The best book of 2016. My favorite read this year!

The best book of 2016. My favorite read this year!

NOVELS/PROSE
JANUARY
Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters [Broadway Books]

The Silkworm [Mulholland Books/Little, Brown]

FEBRUARY
Ready Player One [Broadway Books]

Tenth of December [Random House]

Portland Confidential: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Rose City [PTown Books]

MARCH
The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip [Random House]

Pronto [William Morrow/Harper Collins]

Congratulations, By The Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness [Random House]

The Story of Story/Build a Moving Story/One Rule That Will Make Your Stories Stronger [Muse Storytelling/Stillmotion]

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination [Little, Brown]

I Was Told There’d Be Cake [Riverhead Books]

APRIL
Down The Darkest Street [Polis Books]

I like reading good books written by friends!

I like reading good books written by friends!

Slaughterhouse-Five [Dial Press/Random House]

Dear White People: A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in “Post-Racial” America [37Ink/Atria]

Remember To Wave [Tinfish Press]

MAY
Between Here and the Yellow Sea: Stories [Dzanc Books]

Raylan [William Morrow/Harper Collins]

Beezus and Ramona [Harper/Harper Collins]

JUNE
A Dance With Dragons [Bantam Books]

JULY
Mort(e) [Soho Press]

If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice to the Young—The Graduation Speeches [Seven Stories Press]

The Gunslinger: Dark Tower I [Signet]

AUGUST
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child [Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic]

Common Sense Pregnancy [Ten Speed Press]

Pregnancy: The Beginner’s Guide [DK]

Dude, You’re Gonna Be A Dad! [Adams Media]

Expecting a child had just a bit of an impact on my reading list.

Expecting a child had just a bit of an impact on my reading list.

SEPTEMBER
Mother Night [Dial Press/Random House]

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life [Penguin Books]

OCTOBER
Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama [Vintage Books/Random House]

The Elements of Style [Longman/MacMillan]

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft [Scribner/Simon & Schuster]

The Shining [Anchor Books/Random House]

NOVEMBER
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven [HarperPerennial]

Galápagos [Dial Press/Random House]

Stoner [NYRB]

DECEMBER
Player Piano [Dial Press/Random House]

Trask [Oregon State University Press]

A Light In the Attic [HarperCollins]

That puts the final tally at 81 reads: 43 graphic novels and 38 prose books. That’s a little but more than last year, but not the most pages I’ve turned in a single year. Still, I opted for some more dense reads this year, so I’m pleased with the amount I read in 2016. Right around my avergae of about 70 to 80 reads a year. With a kid on the way in 2017, we’ll see how much reading I get done. I’m going to modestly, or perhaps ambitiously, aim for 50 books. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve already begun reading to our soon-to-arrive little man, so probably a lot of children’s books, Shel Silverstein, and Dr. Seuss on next year’s list. Maybe even a whole “Kids Books” category!

Reading some Shel Silverstein to our incoming little man.

Reading some Shel Silverstein to our incoming little man.

My mom reading to my younger brother Dan and me. Continuing this life changing tradition soon — hopefully instilling our young son with the love of books that mom my instilled in me.

My mom reading to my younger brother Dan and me. Continuing this life changing tradition soon — hopefully instilling our young son with the love of books that mom my instilled in me.

Observations

    I read three books of graduation speeches this year. Maybe inspired by my wife’s December graduation? Not sure why I started reading them in March though.

    Loads of pregnancy books, ‘natch!

    Most prose read in a single year… since college? Ever?

    Followed up my favorite comic of last year, One Punch Man, with a lot of Last Man this year. Black and white comics with a lot of punching are my jam!

    I stuck with certain authors a lot more this year than, I think, I have in any previous calendar year. Aside from the aforementioned One Punch Man and Last Man (five volumes of each!), I read five books by Joshua Williamson, five by Kurt Vonnegut, and three each from Greg Pak/Fred Van Lente (and one other by Van Lente), J.K. Rowling, George Saunders, and Stephen King.

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