What I Read in 2016

Of the goals I made for 2016, I am chagrined to admit that I only succeeded in achieving one of them: reading 25 books. In fact, I managed to read 31.5* books this year, so really I’m an overachiever. While for some this is a paltry amount, I’m rather proud of it, as my reading in the past few years has been scattered and lackluster (I didn’t read more than 15 or 16 books in 2014 and in 2015). Like I have for several years, I tracked all of my books using Goodreads, and I thought I would also share them here. I’ve listed the books in the order that I read them, along with the rating I gave each one.


Photographic proof of my goal achievement. 128%! It’s better than getting an A. 🙂 And yes, that profile picture is not at all current.

  1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (4 stars)
  2. Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster (5 stars)
  3. Undone by Michele Cushatt (4 stars)
  4. The Trunk Key by Carolyn Nash (2 stars)
  5. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (I didn’t rate this, but this was my review: “This book was so disturbing I can’t recommend it at all.”)
  6. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (3 stars)
  7. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (4 stars). I read this aloud to Charlotte and enjoyed it as much as I remember enjoying it as a kid. I read a lot of other books to Charlotte but didn’t think it was fair to count those, so I just counted one. 🙂
  8. Holding on to Hope: A Pathway Through Suffering to the Heart of God by Nancy Guthrie (5 stars)
  9. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (2 stars)
  10. Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter by Annie Downs (4 stars)
  11. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (5 stars)
  12. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (3 stars)
  13. The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken (5 stars)
  14. Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for Those Who Suffer from Depression by Zack Eswine (5 stars).
  15. Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (4 stars)
  16. Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld (2 stars)
  17. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (4 stars)
  18. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne (4 stars)
  19. The Girl in Seat 24B by Jennifer Peel (2 stars)
  20. *No One Knows by JT Ellison, the reason I only read 31.5 books. I realized about halfway through this one I didn’t care what happened to any of the characters, so I stopped reading. Life’s too short to read books you don’t like, unless you’re in school, kids. Then tough it out. 🙂
  21. Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty (4 stars)
  22. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (4 stars)
  23. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (4 stars)
  24. Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala (3 stars)
  25. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (4 stars)
  26. Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah (3 stars)
  27. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda (3 stars)
  28. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (3 stars)
  29. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (2 stars)
  30. The Scars that Have Shaped Me: How God Meets Us in Suffering by Vaneetha Rendall Risner (4 stars)
  31. A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman (4 stars)
  32. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing (4 stars)

Before I looked at this list I felt like I read a lot of the same kind of book, but I think I ended up with more variety than I initially thought. 19 out of the 32 books got a rating of 4 or above, and I am pleased with that. All of the books that got 5 stars (5 of them) I absolutely loved and would wholeheartedly recommend, but they are all pretty different from one another. The books that got 2 stars (5 of them) I really didn’t like much at all, but I kind of hate giving out 1 star ratings, so I ended up not even rating the one book I detested (looking at you, Sharp Objects). Of all the books I read, only 2 are books that I purchased. The rest I read through my library’s online eBook collection, borrowed from a friend (thanks, Leah!), or got for free on my Kindle. I used to buy a lot of books, but as I have gotten older and have more limited space, I really appreciate the ability to borrow books from the library and hope to read most of my books in 2017 that way as well.

I want to approach 2017 with a more structured plan (more on that later), but I’m happy with what I read this year and can’t wait to discover more great books! What were your favorites books from this year?

Weigh-In Wednesday: Stalled

Last week’s weight: 201.4
This week’s weight: 200.2
LOSS of 1.2 pounds

I can’t believe I am SO CLOSE to being in the 190s but can’t get there! Sure, I lost a little bit, but this is the same weight I was three weeks ago. I am not making progress.

I worked out 4 times between last Wednesday and yesterday. I tracked my food EVERY day, including the weekends. Here are my calorie totals for each day, with any workout I did that day in parentheses next to that:

Wednesday: 1,549
Thursday: 1,667
Friday: 1,522 (33 minutes running)
Saturday: 1,640* (I am pretty sure I ate more than this, but I did not know the calorie counts of everything I ate.)
Sunday: 1,779 (45 minutes running)
Monday: 1,957 (30 minutes running)
Tuesday: 1,489 (25 minutes walking)

So Saturday and Monday were not great days in terms of calories, but I think the others are reasonable. My calorie range, as determined by SparkPeople, is 1360-1710, so going by that I went over my range 3/7 days. Looking at it like that makes me realize that every little bit counts. Even though I tracked everything, I wasn’t as diligent as I could have been about making the right nutritional choices. I think in the back of my mind I was thinking, “I worked out today, so I can eat a little extra.” This line of thinking is silly since it’s not like I’m working out for an insane amount of time and burning tons and tons of calories, but nevertheless I found myself thinking it.

To sum it up: cardio can’t make up for poor eating habits. I have to have self-control, or I will never get anywhere with weight loss.

I WILL be in the 190s next week, or I’m shaving my eyebrows.

(Well, maybe not.)

Weigh-In Wednesday: Weekend Derailment

Last weigh-in (2 weeks ago): 200.2
This week’s weight: 201.4
GAIN of 1.2 pounds

Well, given the fact that last week was not a shining moment for me, I don’t know why I was surprised, but I was. I weighed myself on August 1, and I was 201.6. I wasn’t happy with that, but I knew I would get myself in gear and thought I could at least lose a little bit before today. I rocked the running and did another 4 miles on Saturday, along with a 3 mile walk and 2 other runs. I felt proud and strong.

If I am honest with myself, however, I know what did me in–the weekend. For some reason, my brain just shuts off on the weekend and I am not nearly as careful with tracking. I didn’t track a bite of food on Sunday, and I know I ate way too much.

If I am ever going to lose this weight, I have to be more diligent on the weekends. So my one goal for this week is to track every bite I eat. Knowing I am going to track it makes me more accountable, so I am hoping that will make me think twice about overeating.

I would LOVE to be in the 190s next week. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

Weigh-In Wednesday

Last week’s weight: 204.2
This week’s weight: 200.2
LOSS of 4 pounds

Wahoo! I am thrilled with this result. I worked hard over the past week, trying to diligently track my calories and make better food choices. I wasn’t perfect: the weekend was difficult to track everything because we ate out a few meals, and I ate over my range on at least 2 days. But even on the days when I ate over my range, I am sure I still ate fewer calories than I was before I started paying attention to my intake. I exercised 3 times, and I didn’t eat past 8 any night.

Sometimes it seems like the scale doesn’t reflect the work (or lack thereof) that is done, but today, I feel like it did. It is just the motivation I need to stay strong and keep trying.

One pound at a time, one day at a time, one choice at a time.