There’s a surprising correlation between my 2016 reading statistics and this list.

  • 31% of my reading was in German or translated from German giving 33% of the following list.
  • 48% of my reading was in translation. 50% of this list is.

There are, however, a couple of surprising discrepancies too.

  • 70% of my reading was by new-to-me authors as are 11 of the 12 titles in this list. That’s an amazing 92%!
  • Male:female reading ratio was 56:44.  In my favourite picks it is 25:75.

The conclusion is, I think, that to increase my reading pleasures I must read more new-to-me women authors in translation. I’ll test that theory out in 2017.

But for now, here are my picks of 2016 presented mainly in chronological sequence of reading, to  form a mini-journal of 2016 – a life-changing year for me. Links are to my full reviews.

January: I began what was meant to an alphabetical Adventures Through the TBR reading project. I didn’t get very far, never consciously moving onto B, but I did read 15 titles associated one way or the other with the letter A. The Austrian novel I Called Him Necktie was my favourite of these and also The Most Moving Read of the Year.

February: Time for my annual Peirenathon and the magnificently dark and cruel the Norwegian The Looking-Glass Sisters became my favourite Peirene to-date and Gothic Read of the Year.

March: Time for AyeWrite and Julie Myerson’s The Stopped Heart delivered The Villain of the Year.

June: Gillian Slovo’s Ten Days was the hottest and fieriest read of my #20booksofsummer and her Home Secretary takes my Slimiest Politician of the Year award.  (No mean undertaking given the events of 2016.)

August: Month of the Year: I retired just in time for the Edinburgh Book Festival. So with time on my hands I read lots of great books, 3 of which make this list.

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s Waking Lions roared into my consciousness to become the  Zeitgeist Read of the Year.

David Tennant’s reading performances of Cressida Cowell’s How To Train A Dragon series had me in fits of giggles driving to and from Edinburgh, confirming my inner child and my continuing delight in all things alliterative – not just my blog’s name.  They are my Audio Books of the Year.

October: I’ve spent two of the last three months of the year on the road, aligning reading with my destinations. The Munich Art Hoard was a fascinating glimpse into the unexpected moral and legal ambiguities that continue to exist around treasures stolen by the Nazis and taught me to look a more closely at the labels in art galleries. I had an entirely different experience that previous ones when I visited the Städel in Frankfurt after reading it. It is my #gapyeartravel Companion of the Year.

November: From an English book about Germany to a German book about Scotland – #germanlitmonth delivered Fontane’s Beyond the Tweed, a travelogue of his journey around the most famous bits of Scotland in 1858. (They are still the most famous bits btw so the book can still be used as a travel guide.) My Travel Book of the Year and the only book on this list by an author I have read before.

December: I may have been avoiding the Scottish winter in Gran Canaria, but I was deep into my #dutchlitautumn. The Boy is my favourite from among my choices for this and my Psychological Read of the Year.  It would make an excellent book group read; the mother being sympathetically tragic – or is she?

And so to my top 3.  In reverse order:

Back to August, the Edinburgh Book Festival and Helen Ellis’s Southern gothic and hysterically funny short-story collection American Housewife. Some of these ladies could given Myerson’s villain of the year a run for his money. Winner of my Short Story Collection and Comic Book of the Year awards.

In February I read my Most Anticipated Book of the Year.  Volker Weidemann’s The Summer Before the Dark lived up to expectations and resulted in the Gush of the Year.  I even read it twice, the second time in German, for Book Group at the Goethe Institute, where there was a hot debate about whether to categorise it as fiction or non-fiction.  Actually it’s neither. I suppose that makes it my Faction Book of the Year and, because I read it twice in 2016,  my Reread of the Year. It’s also the book that added more books than any other to my TBR  and started a whole new reading stream, making it the Most Influential Read of the Year.

So why is it not my Book of the Year?

In another year, it would have been, but in May  Jurek Becker’s Jacob the Liar came out of nowhere.  I picked it up to read along with TJ at My Book Strings and was not looking forward it at all.  Holocaust novels not being my reading material of choice. 7 months later and I can only summarise the experience in one word – revelatory – and that’s what makes this the Book Blogger Recommendation of the Year, Classic of the Year and Lizzy’s Book of 2016.