1. The Yearling by Marjorie Rawling (1938)/Jan. 13, 2016
This book just blew me away. Rawling really wrote a fabulous coming-of-age book about a lonely boy and his pet deer. Of all the books on this list the writing was the most vivid and descriptive. Nearly a year after reading it I can still picture scenes clearly.
2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1920)/April 16, 2016
When I created my original list of books I'd like to read this year I focused first on Pulitzer Prize winners so I could kill two birds with one stone since I am attempting to read as many past Pulitzer winners as I can. The Age of Innocence was the first book written by a woman to win the Pulitzer and it did not disappoint.
3. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (1939)/June 19, 2016
2016 marks the year I finally read something by Agatha Christie. We actually read this book for my SOTH book club. We had a fun discussion on it, too. One of the gals shared a story how she once purchased enough of the books for her honors class, then ripped out the last chapter from each of the books. The students got to the end of the book and just about died not knowing how it ended up. Of course, those were the days before the Internet. She was teased the students and required a writing assignment before giving them the last chapter to read. What fun.
4. West With the Night by Beryl Markham (1942)/June 24, 2016
I became obsessed with Beryl Markham and her writing this past year. I first read a book about her, Circling the Sun, and then two books by her. She describes her life in Kenya and I was just swept up in her prose.
5. A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'Connor (1955)/July 7, 2016
I hadn't done my homework on Flannery O'Connor before I launched into reading her short story collection here. I wasn't prepared for her Southern Gothic style or her racism. But despite this I was captivated by her use of foreshadowing and other literary techniques. I have actually thought about her stories much more than I thought I would after I finished the book.
6. The Splendid Outcome by Beryl Markham (1987)/ July 24, 2016
This is a collection of eight or nine short stories by Markham. I didn't like them as much as her book West With the Night but a few of them really touched me with their African-ness.
7. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (1937)/ October 23, 2016
I really struggled to finish Out of Africa by Dinesen. I slogged my way through it finally and then didn't even write a review of it. The first part of it and the last chapters are quite good and touching but the middle bits just did not spark my imagination. I'm afraid I went to the well one too many times on my Africa phase. What I find so interesting is how famous this book and Karen Blixen's story are yet West With the Night, set at exactly the same time in Kenya, is by far the superior book.
8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)/ November 27, 2016
It isn't always advised to reread books one loved as a child. Rereading Little Women provided case in point. What I fondly remembered from my childhood seemed to lose a bit luster on the reread plus most of the moralism and piety just irritated me.
Should I stick with all women classics again in 2017 or should I add back in the option of reading any classic authored by both men and women?