Confessions of a Bad Book Blogger

Book List from 2016

Ummm….so it appears that 2016 has come and (almost) gone.  It seems that I forgot that I had a book blog for most of the year.  I did not stop reading, but I stopped writing.  Oops.

My resolution for 2017 is to be better about logging what I read so I don’t end up in the situation I’m in now, wondering what I did all year long.

In a half-hearted attempt to make up for my deficiencies, I am presenting a list here of some of the books I recall reading and liking this year.  I only include the ones I read for the first time this year.  (I also re-read a lot of books for teaching purposes.)  I am not including ones I started but did not finish.  I am also not including some of the mystery/thrillers that I sometimes binge on but then forget about.  (Love em and leave em is my motto.)

Here’s to another year of reading!

  • Herodotus, The Histories.  This one was a doozy that took forever to read, and I read it more than once.
  • Amy Tan, Valley of Amazement.  Multi-generational family saga set partly in China, partly in the U.S.
  • Kevin Powers, Yellow Birds.  Beautifully written novel about Iraq war.  Move over, Hemingway.
  • Erik Larson, In the Garden of Beasts.  Fascinating nonfiction book about an American ambassador in Berlin during the 1930s, with the rise of Hitler.  This was my introduction to the creature known as a Nazi slut.
  • Lauren Slater, Welcome to My Country.   Nonfictional essays about mental illness. Slater is both a psychologist and a person with mental illness herself.  Beautifully written.
  • Karen Russell, Swamplandia.  Novel about a family reeling from the loss of their wife/mother.  Wonderful style– bordering on fantasy, but not quite.
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer.   Novel about a Vietnamese man who works as a double agent during the Vietnam War.  Really smart, insightful look at the U.S.
  • Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.  Novel about a Dominican-American young man.
  • Colm Toibin, Brooklyn.  Novel about a young Irish immigrant to the Brookyn in the 1950s
  • Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You.  Did blog post on this book earlier this year.
  • Louise Erdrich, Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse.   blogged about this.
  • Francine Prose, Lovers at the Chameleon Club.  Wonderful novel about a French woman who ends up working for the Nazis.
  • Julie Schumacher, Dear Committee Members.   Hilarious satire of life in a university English Department.
  • Dave Eggers, The Circle.  Novel about a dystopian future (present?).  Technology run amok.
  • Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King.  Death of a Salesman in Saudi Arabia.
  • Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale.  novel about two sisters in Nazi-occupied France.
  • Ann Tyler, A Spool of Blue Thread.   novel about disappointments of family life.
  • George Packer, Assassin’s Gate.  nonfiction account of disastrous American occupation of Iraq.
  • Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time.  Blogged about this novel earlier this year.


What have you read this year?  Let me know in the comments section!


Author: DebraB

I am a Professor of English at Concordia University-St. Paul. I have a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research interests include American literature, contemporary literature, Middle Eastern literature, African literature and feminist theory.

6 thoughts on “Confessions of a Bad Book Blogger”

  1. I spend far more time writing than reading, but here are four I really enjoyed this year.
    Lunatics – by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel, a hilarious, fast-paced romp that kept me laughing out loud from cover to cover
    Proof of Heaven – by Eban Alexander, the only near-death experience book I’ve read that was classified as non-fiction
    Embraced by the Light – by Betty Eadie, a very uplifting and inspirational near-death experience book
    The Cardturner – by Louis Sachar, the author of “Holes” We heard him speak and I had to try one of his books.

    As a writer, I read books not only for entertainment, but to study the author’s style and pick up little things that will help me write better. You can learn from everybody, even the bad ones.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your favorite books. I have read some essays by Dave Barry, and he is hilarious. I haven’t read the other works you mentioned, but they sound interesting! Happy Holidays!

  2. You have diverse reading interests. Have you heard of An Unquiet Mind? It’s similar, it appears, to Welcome to My Country, as it also is written by a psychologist who has the illness she treats. (I confess I have read neither.)

    Though I did finish Hurry Down Sunshine—which I heartily recommend—an excellent second-hand account of bipolar disorder in an undiagnosed daughter. I confirm the drama is faithful to the real experience. And I found it fascinating, as a result, in conceiving the helplessness my own parents surely felt as my own mental state cracked. (Fun fact: I met you in a manic episode.)

    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes, I have read “An Unquiet Mind.” In fact I wrote a paper on it and presented it at a conference. I will have to check out “Hurry Down Sunshine”.

    2. Actually, I guess I had that article published. You’d think I’d remember something like that. Here’s the reference: “The Language of Madness: Representing Bipolar Disorder in Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind and Kate Millett’s The Loony-Bin Trip.” Article in volume called Depression and Narrative: Telling the Dark. Hilary Clark, ed. SUNY Buffalo UP: 2008.

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