My books of 2016 – including poll

I read only 212 books this year, which is my lowest total since 2006. Basically this is because I got sucked into feeding from the information firehose of social media around the times of both the Brexit referendum and the US Presidential election; I read precisely three books in November, which I think is the lowest since I started bookblogging at the end of 2003. It is addictive, but I get much more from reading books and have managed to restore the balance in the last few weeks.


2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
37 47 48 46 53 69 66 88
17% 16% 16% 19% 20% 23% 24% 26%

Best non-fiction read in 2016: Between the world and me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates -tremendous (and short) polemic about racism and violence in the United States.
Runner-up: SPQR, by Mary Beard – great account of the history of Rome.
The one you might not heard of: Baptism of Fire: The Birth of the Modern British Fantastic in World War I, ed. Janet Brennan Croft – fascinating essays on at the influence of the global conflict on the origins of the fantasy genre.

Non-sfnal fiction

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
28 42 41 44 48 48 50 57
13% 14% 14% 19% 19% 16% 18% 18%

Best non-sff fiction read in 2016: Alice Munro's short story collections, The Love of a Good Woman, Selected Stories, and The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose – all fantastic vignettes of Canada.
Runner-up: Nemesis, by Philip Roth – the effects of polio on middle-class America in the 1950s.
Welcome rereads: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James JoyceWalking on Glass, by Iain BanksThe Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas.
The one you might not heard of: Dark Horse, by Fletcher Knebel – the Republican candidate dies just before the Presidential election; his swiftly conscripted replacement is an obscure New Jersey politician who starts shaking the political system.

Non-Whovian sff

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
80 130 124 65 62 78 73 78
38% 45% 43% 27% 24% 26% 26% 23%

Best non-Who sff read in 2016: Cuckoo Song, by Frances Hardinge – creepy doppleganger story set in England just after the first world war.
Runner-up: Wylding Hall, by Elizabeth Hand – I never write this up properly, but it's an excellent fantasy/horror story, again set in England.
Welcome re-reads: Watership Down, by Richard Adamsthe Alice books by Lewis Carroll.
The one you might not heard of: Time Bangers #1: One Does Not Simply Walk Into Tudor, by Luna Teague and Ivery Kirk – OK, this is not exactly great art, but the authors clearly had a lot of fun writing it.

Doctor Who (and spinoff) fiction

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
39 43 59 72 75 80 71 70
18% 15% 20% 30% 29% 27% 26% 19%

Best Who book read in 2016: The Legends of Ashildr, by James Goss, David Llewellyn, Jenny T. Colgan & Justin Richards – all good stories, some really good
Runner-up: The Mike Tucker (and Robert Perry) Seventh Doctor/Ace novels, Illegal Alien, Prime Time and Loving the Alien – great examples of respect for continuity and also bringing more.
Worth flagging up for Whovians: Drama and Delight: The Life of Verity Lambert, by Richard Marson – excellent biography of the show's first producer.


2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
27 18 19 30 21 27 18 28
13% 6% 7% 13% 8% 9% 6% 8%

Best graphic story read in 2016: Alice in Sunderland, by Bryan Talbot – brilliant exploration of the town and its links to literature in general and Alice in particular.
Runner-up: The Sandman: Overture, by Neil Gaiman, J.H. Williams III, Dave Stewart, Todd Klein – very satisfying prequel/sequel to the classic story, which won the Hugo
The one you might not have heard of: Toch Een Geluk, by Barbara Stok – fun Dutch comics writer, sadly not translated into English yet.

One is slightly comparing chalk and cheese here. I was lucky enough to see Hamilton in Chicago this month, but had also read the Hamiltome which has loads of information and is a must-have for any fan.
However I also read the complete Christopher Marlowe, and particularly enjoyed Edward II and The Jew of Malta.

Worst books of the year: To be found on the Best Related Work ballot for the Hugo Awards.

Now your turn. How much has your reading overlapped with mine this year? People with Facebook, Twitter, Dreamwidth and maybe even Google accounts should also be able to participate.

And if you have time, I’d appreciate your input on my 2017 reading poll.

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