Highlights of 2016 reading

Thanks to audiobooks, I read 144 books in 2016. (If you look at that list, some are still in progress—the problem with relying on the library; when I can’t finish an audiobook in the rental period, I have to wait months on hold for it to come back to me again. I’ve been waiting for The Passion of Dolssa to come back for something like 3 months.)

OBVIOUSLY, this list doesn’t include the books I’ve edited. OBVIOUSLY, you should read all my books! Check out the sidebar under Books I Edited, or go here for more info on Tu Books.

In more than a year of my outside-of-work reading being mostly on audio, I’ve found that audiobooks have an even worse diversity problem than print books. I’m not surprised by this; most of the books I publish haven’t gotten audio versions made, and that’s likely similar to the audiobook market as a whole. So my outside-of-work reading isn’t as diverse as I’d like it to be, but I’ve been able to read a lot more than I would have otherwise, given my aversion to reading finished books outside of work lately. (I work such long hours that I need a change-up when I’m off—I was reading maybe five books outside of work before picking up audiobooks.)

Here are some highlights, in no particular order, of my reading in 2016:

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Adventure, magic, and traveling to alternate worlds and timelines. So much fun. Looking forward to the sequel this year.


The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde

Clever, funny, and just what I needed to escape in November…

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

The last volume in the Tiffany Aching series, and Pratchett’s last book. It moved me. Pratchett had an ability to make you laugh at human foibles and poignantly appreciate the death of a character—and the author!—in such a unique way. This is a series I’ll return to again and again in the future, I think.

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

Historical fiction, set in San Francisco, 1906. If you don’t know why that’s significant, you need to read the book even more. Beautiful.

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

Listening to this hybrid book on audio made me not even realize what I was missing in the print version–a comic-with-the-book! But Mary Robinette Kowal’s narration created an audio experience of the comic parts that translated well from the page—I knew from the change in narration that it was was a story-within-a-story, and it all came together perfectly.

Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle

One of the few audiobooks in which the narration by the author enhances the book rather than detracts from it. Few authors have a good reading voice, I’m sorry to say. (Few audiobook narrators are good in general, honestly.) So this excellent story was made even better via Tim Federle’s voice.


Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

Speaking of excellent narrators, this narrator sounded like she was a Latina from Queens. That made this fascinating story about a teen girl in Queens just trying to make ends meet while worried about the Son of Sam murders even more fascinating. And man, I felt for Nora in her worries about her brother.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I didn’t realize till MONTHS later that this was narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda. And it didn’t stand out to me because his voice was seamlessly Aristotle’s. A beautiful book with top-notch narration.


My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

This book is HILARIOUS, especially if you know the real history of Lady Jane Grey. And the audiobook’s narrator REALLY gets this book. She’s great at all the accents, and growls and emotes and simpers and everything perfectly.

Starflight by Melissa Landers

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen some good space SF in YA. This was an enjoyable read.








Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature

Oh, and while I was rambling I completely forgot I also wanted to mention that I just finished listening to the audiobook version of Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande. I read from the ARC some, then listened to most of it on CD way back last month, but was finally able to finish it today, and I have to say–hurrah! Great job. Brande does a really great job at explaining the point of view of the many, many people of faith who also believe that science is learning things that perhaps God had a hand in, but also that science and especially the teaching of science in public schools don’t make a claim as to exactly how that fits into a particular belief system.

I loved going to BYU, actually, because it supported my belief in both. My geology class at BYU was an amazing experience, even if it was the only class I’ve ever flunked. Okay, that was more because it was an 8am class and oh, you DO NOT turn out the lights and show slides for an 8 AM class! I never knew half what was going on, and more’s the pity because what I did hear was amazing, and for that very reason I wanted to believe that I could stay awake and didn’t drop it. And what I did learn (among other things, I promise) was how geology fit into the personal worldview of my teacher as a practicing Mormon–something you can have a conversation about at a private religious college, of course. It was fascinating, and what I got most out of it is that there’s still a lot of the miraculous in science, and if we believe (meaning all people of faith who believe in A god) that God created the world, then perhaps the things we learn about in evolution can teach us about the possible means by which he (or if you so believe, she) did it.

Anyway, if that even made sense at this hour, there’s an excellent interview at the end that Robin Brande does with … a scientist much like the teacher character she creates in the book, whose name has escaped me, and it’s really pithy stuff. He was the author of Finding Darwin’s God, a book that explored Darwin’s belief system, and now that’s on my want-to-read pile.

Highly recommend Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature. Realism, teen girl angsty, but bringing religion in as a way of bringing the character’s inner life to life. And it’s just dang funny. I really liked how it portrayed this girl’s religious life positively, even while exploring the cattiness of a high school clique, without condemning the clique for being religious (rather, for being hypocritical and… the word escapes me. I got nothin’. I give up for the night).

Good night. Next time I recommend a book, I promise to do it while fully awake. I just didn’t want to forget about this!