Every year I spend time considering what my favorite books were in various genres. I also like to notice patterns in my reading – topics that took up a considerable amount of my attention, usually by accident. This year I think I’ll actually make it official and write a post about it. So here goes!


I read more fiction this year than I have in many years, and it was less re-reading and more new fiction than usual. It was fun to see a change in my typical patterns. I don’t want to get too geeky, but I went from reading 9 works of fiction last year to 21 this year. My favorites (not including re-reads which are obviously favorites) are:

The Snow Child

The Most Enchanting.

The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey.

Orphan Master's Son

The Can’t-Put-It-Down Gutwrenching Masterpiece

The Orphan Master’s Son, Adam Johnson.

Diary of a Provincial Lady

The Most Laugh-Out-Loud Funny.

The Diary of a Provincial Lady, E.M. Delafield.


The Truest Portrait of Marriage.

Middlemarch, George Eliot.

Crossing to Safety

The Most Likable Flawed Characters.

Crossing to Safety, Walter Stegner.


I usually read a ton of biographies and this year I read very little. I think I can account for that change in that my main biography reading season, autumn, was consumed with pregnancy books and other things to help survive morning sickness. The easy favorite this year was:

Everybody Was So Young

The Sweet and the Sour.

Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story, Amanda Vaill.

General Non-Fiction

This category encompasses a huge variety so there will be more than one favorite.

whole brain child

The Must-read.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.


The Read-it-with-a-box-of-tissues Book.

Bread and Wine, Shauna Niequist

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

The Most Empowering

Ina May’s Guide to ChildbirthIna May Gaskin

The greatest Gift

The New Tradition.

The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp


I didn’t read as many as usual, for the same reason I didn’t read as many biographies as usual. But one stands head and shoulders above the rest. I’ve loved every recipe we’ve cooked from it (except one which I can’t even name because it was cooked for me during the worst of the morning sickness and thinking about it makes me want to throw up).


The Cookbook You’ll Wish You’d Bought Sooner

Dinner: A Love Story, Jenny Rosenstrach

Final Thoughts. 

Missing this year is History except for Blood Sisters which is part History, part Biography. I’m not sure why there was so little, but that’s interesting and I want to make sure to include some in next year’s stack.

Notable themes are:

  • Parenting, especially as it relates to the brain
  • Classics I hadn’t read yet
  • Award winning literary fiction
  • Pregnancy and Childbirth

So, what were your favorites or notable reads of the year?