In 2016, I discovered goodreads again (I signed up for it in 2012), and found their “book challenge” section, which I promptly set up with a goal of 30 books. Turns out, 2016 was a good year for books! We got new bookcases to make ours happy.
In January 2017, I logged in to do some tidying up (ok, to manually migrate my “reads” from evil pinterest to awesome goodreads) and saw a “My year 2016 in books” banner. A cute page with trivia about what you’ve read (I read 12,907 pages!), and photos of all your books.
I loved seeing all my 2016 books again, and was inspired to write a little bit about the ones that I’ve ended up talking about again and again since reading them.
Show your work
I liked this book, because it’s cheerful, and encourages you to, as the title suggests, show your work. It’s a solid reminder that people love to see how things are made, that work in progress is still work – and in the perfect stage for feedback from your client, and that we shouldn’t be scared to share glimpses of unfinished things.
All day long
This book is a collection of journalistic-style articles about people working in various areas and industries of Britain. Given how we each live in a bit of a bubble within our own industry or city, it was very interesting to at least read a little about what other professions face every day.
My love goes out to all the nurses and social care workers. This country isn’t doing enough for later-life care!
I read this one because it’s a Neal Stephenson and I love his take on the future! This book has come up time and again in random conversations, because the topic of space travel is a hot one, as is the future destruction of planet Earth. (both of which are at the core of Seveneves)
I don’t want to give the plot away, but this book is a must read this year. It’s not cheerful, but it is optimistic, and a mind-blowing view of what the future could hold for humanity. Mr. Stephenson has had a lot of fun writing this one, I can tell. Though I do feel that there’s room for a sequel here, given where he decided to stop his story this time.
Don’t expect poetic prose. Just great characters, a mind-blowing story, and many little glimpses of why humans suck (not necessarily in space-travelling future, but today as well). A bit sci-fi, a bit cautionary tale. Skim parts if you have to, but try reading it. Really. It’s one of those books that changes you.
Quicksilver. Part one of the Baroque Cycle
Book one of the Baroque Trilogy by Neal Stephenson as well, this book is a multi-character account of the changes in society, politics, science and banking from 1666 (Great Fire of London) until … well I haven’t finished volume THREE of the series, so I can guarantee you’ll read about 1681 at the very least! The characters are amazing, the various intrigues and scenes simply beautiful, the account of how banking and stock markets and non-precious-metal currency are being born is fascinating. If you want to escape into a past of the Sun King, Isaac Newton arguing with Leibniz about The Calculus, Pirates, Whigs and Tories and England having two banks, this is the book for you!
The secret lives of colour
Published October 2016.
I got my hands on this within days of its publication thanks to someone I met at @NotAnotherSalon (of all places!!).
I LOVED reading this, because I love colour and random little stories, and that’s what this book is about! How certain pigments changed colour when exposed to light, or if they touched each other, or how some colours were so expensive as to be bought directly by the noble clients and only to be used by the master painter! Such a lovely read! If you like colour and history and art, this is a book that you need on your bookshelf.
Feminist fight club
Is it a book? Is it a movement? Is it a club? Hell YEAH! 2016 was a big year for women, with a criminally sexist candidate running for President in the USA (and winning. dear god.), pay parity still being an issue, and films finally having women as the main character rather than a love interest : Rey in Star Wars The Force Awakens (I know it came out in 2015, but it was being watched as 2016 rolled in and set the mood!). It’s a start, but we’re snowballing and making noise.
I’d recommend both men and women read this book, because it draws attention to behaviour flaws that it would be useful if we could all help deal with.
Just so you know… I did make my book challenge of reading 30 books in 2016. I read FORTY!