2016 Favorites: Book

One of my goals of 2016 was to read 24 books over the course of the year. According to Goodreads, I ended up reading 33 books. This makes me happy.

Here are (in no particular order) some of my favorite books that I read last year:

It’s quite hard for me to pick one book as “Karan’s Book of the Year” for 2016. Each the books above had great stories, were well written, made me experience a smorgasbord of emotions, and had something that stuck to my soul long after the book was over. If I was forced to pick one, I would have to say that book would be The Nightingale. I felt that this book was pure literary perfection. As I said about the book in September

I LOVED this book! It’s beautifully written, with an engaging story, a haunting backdrop, and well developed characters. It made me cry quite a bit. This is one of my favorite books of all time

(why yes, I did just quote myself)

This simplistic review doesn’t even come close to describing how breathtakingly sublime The Nightingale is. Please read this book.

 

Quotes: December Edition

I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in December:

Time devours all. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

All life is an experiment. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

In the face of the inevitable, the only choice is to adapt. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

What’s the point of jumping onto a reef just a few steps from shore? — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

There are many ways to say I love you in this cold, dark, silent universe, as many as the twinkling stars. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

He said nothing, either in her mind or aloud, which was his way of saying all that he needed to say. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

“The fading sunlight holds infinite beauty
Though it is so close to the day’s end.”
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

We are defined by the places we hold in the web of others’ lives. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

Every night, when you stand outside and gaze upon the stars, you are bathing in time as well as light. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

Our lives are ruled by these small, seemingly ordinary moments that turn out to have improbably large effects. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

It’s one of the central paradoxes of archaeology that in order to excavate a site so as to study it, we must consume and destroy it in the process. — The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

Somehow, though, and I’m sure you’ve met people like this, he was able to appear as merely part of the background, even if he was standing at the front of a line. — The Book Thief

A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship. — The Book Thief

She closed her eyes and her ears held the notes. — The Book Thief

Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness. — The Book Thief

There were not many people who could say that their education had been paid for with cigarettes. — The Book Thief

It was a style not of perfection, but warmth. Even mistakes had a good feeling about them. — The Book Thief

You can do all manner of underhanded nice things when you have a caustic reputation. — The Book Thief

“His hair,” she told him, “is like feathers.” — The Book Thief

How do you give someone a piece of sky? — The Book Thief

“I am stupid,” Hans Hubermann told his foster daughter. “And kind. Which makes the biggest idiot in the world.” — The Book Thief

She heard his stomach growl — and he was giving people bread. — The Book Thief

“I love you.” He says this quietly, the way he has always done, as if it were the sound of breathing and heartbeat. — The Algorithms for Love

I started crying again. This understanding, this pain. Was this what love was about? — The Algorithms for Love

Quotes: November Edition

I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in November:

His own age was on the older side of completely indeterminate. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

It seems odd, don’t you think, that the quality of food should vary inversely with the brightness of the lighting. Makes you wonder what culinary heights the kitchen staff could rise to if you confined them to perpetual darkness. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

He seemed more like a succession of extraordinary events than a person. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

I’ve certainly never come across any irreversible mathematics involving sofas. Could be a new field. Have you spoken to any spatial geometricians? — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Well no, not married as such, but yes, there is a specific girl that I’m not married to. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

I told you that coincidences are strange and dangerous things. — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

“Ah,” said Dirk, “it is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto nonexistent blindingly obvious.” — Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

Will I ever feel better? If you’re reading this, I guess the answer is no. — When I’m Gone

His cheeks hurt from smiling so much, or maybe his facial muscles were out of practice. — When I’m Gone

Quotes: October Edition

I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in October:

If you’d take your head out of the clouds and look around you now and then you’d be surprised at what you see. — Asterios Polyp

Life is stressful dear. That’s why they say “rest in peace.” — Asterios Polyp

After all, folks aren’t so hard to figure out, y’know — you just ignore what they say and watch what they do. — Asterios Polyp

How can we call death — about which we know nothing — the opposite of life, when we barely comprehend life itself? — Asterios Polyp

I am the hero of my own story. — Asterios Polyp

Her breath is wine-sweet, and she has one of those smiles that seem architecturally impossible. It still slays me. — Dark Matter

He laughs. Beautifully. — Dark Matter

Perfect in their imperfection and asymmetry, like a range of mountains. Or the shape of a river. — Dark Matter

Halcyon

I’ve always been an ardent fan of physical books, refusing to read e-books as much as possible. There’s something about the feel of a non-electronic book, of how you can feel the weight and texture of a physical tome, and how the book smells, and how the pages rustle when the wind blows fiercely (San Francisco is surprisingly windy at times), that I find irresistible.

But the times are changing, and I decided to give e-books a try. This had nothing to do with Amazon adding free e-books as a Prime benefit. That was simply a coincidence.

I’ve been reading my first e-book on my iPhone for the past 10 days now. Here’s how I feel about e-books so far:

  • I miss everything I wrote in the first paragraph of this post about physical books. 
  • Having a book pretty much always with you (since I was reading this book on my phone) is excellent. I find it hard to carry a book with me unless I’m also carrying a backpack, but when the book is on your phone this is a non-issue. I’ve found myself reading much more as a result of this. Previous moments of solitary, aimless waiting have now been transformed into consumption of passages of an e-book.
  • I typically read 2-3 books at a time, and having the ability to carry all of them with me always will be great.
  • I have a (bad) habit of folding down the corners of pages of books. I do this when the page has a nice line (or lines) that I would like write down at some point. With e-books this is another non-issue — I simply highlight the lines in the app. Though this does take out the fun of going back to a page I folded and trying to figure out which line caught my attention in the first place.
  • Reading in between sets at the gym is fun. Though sometimes I lose track of time and end up with unintentionally long breaks.
  • One of the more interesting things about having physical books on display, say on a book shelf, or lying untidily in a pile by your bed, is that they are a great conversation starter. Or even a conversation killer. With e-books this facet of reading is lost.

Overall I’ve quite enjoyed my first encounter with an e-book. I don’t see it ever replacing physical books for me, but I do see it augmenting my reading experience moving forward.

 

Discover

I discovered The Folio Society yesterday. I instantly fell in love with a number of their books, and I’m currently trying to decide which book(s) I want to purchase for myself. I’ve always loved books, and am starting to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of art (SF MOMA and the de Young Museum are some of my favorite places in the city). I can’t wait to add these books to my personal library.

Quotes: September Edition

I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the books that I read in September:

(I also just realized that both the books I read in September were about World War 2)

People aren’t supposed to look back. I’m certainly not going to do it anymore. — Slaughterhouse-Five

But sleep would not come. Tears came instead.  — Slaughterhouse-Five

“That’s one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones.” — Slaughterhouse-Five

“Other people’s dreams aren’t very interesting, usually.” — Slaughterhouse-Five

The worst can always be true. — The Nightingale

Inside, the house echoed the voice of a man who wasn’t there. — The Nightingale

I belong to a generation that didn’t expect to be protected from every danger. — The Nightingale

Vianne finished the letter and immediately began reading it again. — The Nightingale

But when he looked at her — and she looked at him — they both knew that there was something worse than kissing the wrong person.
It was wanting to.
The Nightingale

“Now that you’ve met me, you’ll never be able to forget me. That’s something.” — The Nightingale

I see the surgeon in him suddenly, the man who is used to staring past blood and bone to find what is broken. — The Nightingale

How can I start at the beginning, when all I can think about is the end? — The Nightingale

“Some stories don’t have happy endings. Even love stories. Maybe especially love stories.” — The Nightingale

Quotes: August Edition

I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from the book that I read in August:

It’s tough to live with people stuck in the past, isn’t it? — Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution. — Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I exist to serve. — Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Thank you for being my light in the darkness. — Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Quotes: July Edition

I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from books that I read in July:

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. — Mother Night

No one has mastered the art of life. Everyone is just stumbling in the dark. — Here

It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety. — Foundation

To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well. — Foundation

Memories sting when they come suddenly. — Foundation

Quotes: June Edition

I wrote a blog post talking about how I write down lines from books I’m reading. Here are some lines that I loved from books that I read in June:

She had studied the universe all her life, but had overlooked its clearest message: For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love. — Contact 

It’s in the code — there’s a method called clay_is_awesome. I assume every programmer writes one of those. — Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

This sounds very interesting to me, but mostly because this girl is very interesting to me. — Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

“They’re not magic. They’re only as capable as their programmers, right?” — Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

The most vital things we hide even from ourselves. — Fortune Smiles

“Toucan cereal.” — Fortune Smiles

There are many challenges to long distance running, but one of the greatest is the question of where to put one’s house keys. — The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

“He knows she isn’t perfect. She knows he definitely isn’t perfect. They know there’s no such thing as perfect.” — The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

It strikes him that it is odd to have to use the thing that may not be working to consider the thing that isn’t working. — The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

In the end, we are collected works. — The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry