Friday, March 03, 2017

The Best Books I Read in 2016: An Appendix to my Reading List for 2016

This little post, which is an appendix to my 2016 Reading List, has generated some interested before. I started this small tradition in 2014 and did it again in 2015, so I figure it is worth continuing in 2016. The idea is for me to look back and see what great things I read in 2016. I read a  lot, and I rate what I read on a 1 to 5 stars rating with 5 stars being the best. A 5-stars book to me is the best of the best, one that I want as many people as possible to read, and  it is a book that I would personally own. I  read a lot of great books, but I rarely want to add them to my personal collection. So this list includes the 5-stars books I read for 2016. So feel free to check them out, and if you read any of them, feel free to comment and let me know what you think. If I managed to get the review done in 2016, I will include the link in the book title.

Graphic novels and comics

This is a format that I favor when it comes to reading. A lot of good stuff is published these days as graphic novels proving you can do a lot of cool things with  this format. As I have noted before, I  get a good number of graphic novels and comics via NetGalley, and a few via Edelweiss.

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 3. This collection is the TMNT before Nickelodeon turned them into cutesy kid cartoons. As I wrote in my review, this is an excellent compilation of the authors early work. 
  • Drowned City. A tale of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. If you want to understand what really happened, this book is certainly a good start. 
  • I  continue to enjoy the Palmiotti, run on Harley Quinn. This year I read volume 3, volume 4, and volume 5. Volume 5 is the last one before DC did yet another retcon on their comics (the Rebirth thing they got going as of this writing). This means there is a new "volume 1" of Harley Quinn. Though they kept the same author, I am skeptical as I tend to be every time comics publishers feel the need to hit that reset button yet one more time for the sake of trying to increase sales. We shall see. Meanwhile, I did enjoy the offerings so far. Harley Quinn series is one of the few series that DC had running that was not some dark, oppressive, and often overdone tale. This series is always light, fun, and humorous. 
  • Ted Rall had a couple of very good graphic novel biographies of politicians who ran for office in 2016. I managed to the read Bernie and Trump graphic biographies, which are very good if you wish to learn more about those men in an accessible way. I wish  he had one for Hillary Clinton too. 
  • Another excellent biography graphic novel was John Lequizamo's Ghetto Klown
  • I learned a bit more about Buddhism and a 13th century Japanese Buddhist master in Nichiren
  • You can read this one year round, but I think Valentine's Day would be a good time to read this. The book is The Complete Love Hurts. This is certainly one I would love to add to my collection down the road. 
  • Deadpool had a movie last year, and naturally there was renewed interest in the comics. Since I do not rush to watch movies in theaters, I had to wait, so while I waited I read Deadpool: The Complete Collection, Volume 1
  • Another excellent graphic novel biography I read in 2016 was 21: the Story of Roberto Clemente. Not only was it a great book, but so much of it evoked memories of me growing up in Puerto Rico. 
  • And finally for graphic novels, a little dharma with Cold Mountain.


After graphic novels, nonfiction is the category I tend to favor the most. 2016 was good, but not as good as previous years for me in terms of solid 5-stars books (a lot of 4-stars, which are still good, but not for this post).

  • 2016 was the year I got serious about studying Tarot (and oracle cards), so naturally I read a few books on the topic last year. A good one I can recommend that I also own is Jessa Crispin's The Creative Tarot
  • Via NetGalley I  discovered what I think is a very good general reference book on Tarot. The book is Llewellyn's Complete Book of Tarot.
  • I took a trip to Asia and met some interesting people in Benjamin Law's Gaysia.
  • Finally, I got in a bit of Gabriel García Márquez this year, and I read a collection of his speeches. The book, which is in Spanish, is Yo No Vengo a Decir un Discurso. You have to love the title, which in English means "I am not here to give a speech." Ironically, by his own admission, the author was terrified of public speaking. 

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