Jackson Street Booksellers, Omaha

In this second annual round-up of the books I’ve read and the beds I’ve slept in, I gotta admit I’m cutting corners on the reading list. Every year, I promise to keep better records, because by December it’s all a jumble. I’m left to cobble together notes, scan my bookshelves, log in to Amazon and Goodreads to patch together what I’ve read.

Some books were read on my Kindle Paperwhite, some were on Tom’s iPad, some were paperbacks, and some were hard-covers. I find notes of what I’ve read mixed in with travel notes; sometimes my reading selection is ignited by my travels. Uncharacteristically, there were even some books I didn’t finish. This is an incomplete list, but even so, I remember so much more about the year when I recall what I was reading along the way.

Which brings me to my 2016 bed count: 54 beds in 45 cities. My records are pretty good on this account, because I reserve beds but stumble upon books. Also, I need to document my whereabouts so that when you (or I) search our site or ask us for advice, you’ll hit upon something. (And so will I.) Oh, THAT place!

Books and beds together define my year, and describe so many places I’ve visited, not by land or by sea, but by imagination.

Hotels 2016

Quote in Viking stateroom, Yangtze River Cruise. I often read in bed, but seldom read the headboard.

One thing is sure, I will read more poetry in 2017. I’ve promised myself that. Poetry and notable passages jump out to me now in a more urgent way. I suspect I’m not the only one leaning in to try to understand more, do more, change more. My reading and notes are already more focused this year.

Eight of these titles have some Minnesota connection.

A favorite read this year

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World, by Matthew Goodman

When I'm Dead All This Will Be Yours!: Joe Teller – A Portrait by His Kid, by Teller

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo

Augies's Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip, by Neal Karlen

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James

Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews

Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith

Inspired to re-read this classic when we visited the site of the Acadian expulsion.

LaRose, by Louise Erdrich

The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

God Help the Child, by Toni Morrison

Inhabited, by Charlie Quimby

The Wait [unpublished], by Jennifer Bonner with Susan Cushman

Backpacking with Dracula, by Leif Petterson

Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver

Stories of Your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang (The short story upon which the movie “Arrival” is based)

Kitchens of the Great Midwest, by J. Ryan Stradal

Why Still Dance, by Phebe Hanson

Hotels 2016

On New Brunswick's Grand Manan Island, the SeaCup Inn was one of our favorite places in 2016.

54 beds in 45 cities


St. Paul #1
New York City, Hotel 32/32


Minneapolis (house and dog sitting, with pleasure)


San Jose del Cabo, MX – #1 Casa Natalia
Sea of Cortez – Uncruise Adventures
San Jose del Cabo #2  – Marisol Boutique
St. Paul #2

hotel 2016

Casa Natalia, San Jose del Cabo, Baja Sur. High recommendations


Lutsen, MN  Solbakken Resort


Lincoln (2), Kearny, and Omaha, NE – AmericInn
Bloomington, MN – Radisson Blu Mall of America


Quebec City #1, QB – L’intendant
Chicoutimi, Saguenay, QB – Auberge le Parasol
Village Val Jalbert, QB – Village Historique de Val-Jalbert
Saint-Jean, QB – Chalets sur le Fjord
Saguenay – Hôtel Castel de la Mer
Quebec City #2 – TRYP Québec Hôtel PUR
Montreal – Travelodge Montreal Centre

Hotels 2016

The kindness of friends at the ranch in New Mexico


(New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada)
Halifax, NS #1 – Lord Nelson
Sussex, NB – Amsterdam Inn
Fredericton, NB- Fredericton Inn
St George, NB- Granitetown Hotel
Grand Manan Island, NB – Seacup Inn
Saint John, NB – Mahogany Manor B&B
Wolfville, NS – Old Orchard Inn
Pictou, NS – Braeside Inn
Baddeck, NS – Water’s Edge Inn and Gallery
Louisbourg, NS – Peck’s Housekeeping Cottages
Halifax #2 NS- Lord Nelson


Santa Fe – Sage Inn
Raton – A friend’s ranch
Santa Fe – Inn of the Governors

hotels 2016

Travel Tip: if you don't know the alphabet, a photo or transcript of your address might come in handy for finding your way home.


Hong Kong – Hotel Panorama By Rhombus
Macau – Grand Lapa
Taipei – AirBnB
Seoul – AirBnB
Beijing – Fairmont Hotel
Xi’an – Shangri-la
Lhasa – Shangri-la
Yangtze – Viking Emerald
Shanghai – Fairmont Peace Hotel on the Bund


Rome #1 – AirBnB (with spiral stairs)
Split – Piazza Heritage Hotel
Dubrovnik – Hotel Lapad
Rome #2 – Apartments in Trastevere TocToc
Amsterdam – Radisson Blu airport

hotels 2016

The hotel bar in Shanghai's historic Fairmont Peace Hotel on the Bund.


Tom in Madrid – Hotel Europa and Petit Palace Arenal
Malaga, Spain – Picasso Suites
Sevilla – Petit Palace Santa Cruz


Council Bluffs, IA #1 – Courtyard Inn
Council Bluffs, IA #2 – the ol’ homestead

We've provided some handy links above. In some cases, we have affiliate relationships. So if you order books via our Amazon links, for example, we might earn a couple cents. Hey, that's what our opinion is worth!

We've linked to hotels we especially liked, and we are affiliates of Booking.com, too. But mostly we just want you to know what we liked.

Our sponsored trips this year included Quebec and Maritime Canada, the AmericInn hotels of Nebraska, Viking Roof of the World River Cruise (China) and UnCruise Adventures' Sea of Cortez. Context Travel, another affiliate partner, provided us with some great guided tours in Canada and Asia.

We do an annual roundup of books (and sometimes beds) every year. Here are the posts from those years.

Recommended books for 2014
Books, 2015.
Books and Beds, 2016.
Books and Beds, 2017.

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