2016 Top 10 List
BOOKS PUBLISHED IN 2016
Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
I just finished this book, and I can tell I will be thinking about it for some time. It tracks the lineage of two sisters. One stays in Africa, the other is sold into slavery. It was a horrifying look at the realities of slavery and life on the African continent, but it was also a good story, filled with good characters. I highly recommend it.
Love Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton
This book spoke to me. It spoke to me as a woman, as a mother, and as a human. I laughed and cried and was happy to go wherever she wanted to take me. This is my favorite kind of memoir – a good mix of stories and reflection. I listened to this, as read by the author, and enjoyed the audio.
The Mandibles, by Lionel Shriver
I’m a fan of Lionel Shriver. I loved We Need to Talk About Kevin and the concept of The Post-Birthday World. So I was very excited to read The Mandibles, even before I read this New York Times review and my brother decided to read it with me. The book imagines the economic collapse of the dollar and thus the United States. It’s like the 2016 version of The Road. While the economics were fascinating, I was invested in the characters. A worthy, grown-up dystopian book.
The More of Less, by Joshua Becker
Minimalism was a theme in my 2016. I read this book after I’d spent time online studying minimalism, started decluttering (with Marie Kondo), and completed a minimalism challenge, so the information wasn’t exactly new to me, but it was well-presented. In fact, if you are new to the movement, getting started, or an old-hand, this book will serve as a handy reference. I also listened to this one, as read by the author, and recommend the audio.
Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys
I burned out a bit on World War II books at the end of 2015, but I couldn’t pass up a new book by Ruta Sepetys. So I dove in and was not disappointed. This book tracks four youths trying to get out harms way at the end of the war. I liked the alternating view points and the setting. Sepetys is great at historical fiction.
BOOKS PUBLISHED BEFORE 2016
Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella
I didn’t know what to expect from this YA book, but I was enchanted by what I found. This is a witty, hilarious, realistic book about a teen who had a kind of mental breakdown. The humor and compassion in this book is not something that is easy to come by, particularly in a book that could have easily veered into “issuey” territory. I particularly like the portrayal of the family. They have problems and annoy each other, but they really love each other.
French Kids Eat Everything, by Karen Le Billon
This book changed the way I think about food and governmental policy. And yet it was fabulously readable. The author, a Canadian, married a Frenchman. And they decided to spend some time in France with their two young children. Le Billon was greeted with an entirely different way of eating, of thinking and teaching kids about food. I was fascinated to learn about how seriously the French take food and food education. The parents, communities, schools, and government all work together to teach kids about food.
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
I read this for the Tournament of Books. It is one of those massive, messy tomes that is a pleasure to read just for the conquest. It follows four friends throughout their complicated and privileged lives. It’s one that is fun to talk about, because everyone has a strong opinion. I quite enjoyed the experience of reading it and debating it.
Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
Such a lovely, quiet book. I listened to this one and loved the slow but steady story. It is a love story of two older adults. Their spouses have died; their children are grown. And they find comfort and love with each other. It’s gentle and great.
What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty
I read this one on vacation. It was the perfect vacation book and the perfect gateway drug to Liane Moriarty. This one has Alice wake up after falling at the gym, having forgotten the last ten years. She can’t remember liking going to the gym. She can’t remember her kids. She can’t remember that she has separated from her husband. It’s a great premise that delivered.
It was a good reading year. Some facts about these:
- 8 of these 10 authors were new to me
- 3 of the 4 audio books I listened to this year are on this list
- 3 nonfiction; 7 fiction
- 3 were for book club; 2 for the Tournament of Books
- 2 YA; 8 adult
- 8 women authors; 2 men
- 10 awesome books
I can’t wait to see what books 2017 brings.
What books impacted you this year?