Dec 21, 2016

My Favorite Books of 2016




I read 48 books in 2015 and it bugged me that I didn't read two extra books to make it to 50 books, so that was my goal in 2016. 50 books because I get OCD about "complete" numbers like 50 vs 48, haha. But there were just too many awesome books I kept hearing about plus I wasn't working the first six months of 2016, so I had more time to read more than every before. I kept bumping up my reading challenge until I got to 100, though I doubted I'd actually reach it. Looking back,  I read 103 books in 2016, which is most likely the most I will ever read in one year.

Last year I shared my favorite 2015 reads (read it HERE), broken up in 3 categories. This year I am breaking them up into more categories since I read a lot more diverse books this year.

FICTION

Favorite Historical Fiction: 
The character development, slow but steady pace, and historical relevance of these books blew me away.  I learned a lot while also diving deep into the lives of these strong female protagonists.
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Peine, 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Favorite Contemporary Fiction:
Again, strong female protagonists, but each of these ladies had a whole lot of stuff they had to work through emotionally throughout the books, which was great to see how this unfolded page by page.
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (caution: there is a risqué scene & some language)

Favorite YA Fiction:
Don't let the YA label steer you away; these books are enchanting and the writing was superb! Wolf Hollow and Wonder are tear-jerkers, AWIT is a sci-fi filled with symbolism, and WW is hilarious! And this was not on purpose, but they all start with W haha!
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Shmidt
Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Favorite Classics:
You just cannot go wrong with these timeless tales.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (re-read)
The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

NON-FICTION

Favorite Historical Biographies:
Whether training for the Olympic rowing team, surviving brutal Japanese interment camps during WWII, or hiding Jews during WWII, these biographies showcase humility and bravery of inspirational people.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
Evidence Not Seen: A Woman's Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Diebler Rose
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (re-read)

Favorite Contemporary Memoirs
These memoirs each dive into what it feels like to try something totally new (a real-estate/home reno/home decor franchise, a used bookstore, and training for a marathon) and the unexpected difficulties, joys, and hilarious moments along the way. 
The Magnolia Story by Joanna and Chip Gaines
The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book by Wendy Welch
My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, A Daughter. and a Ridiculous Plan by Tom Foreman

Favorite Foodie Memoirs:
 Fun, light reading about two women who were both trained at Paris' Le Cordon Bleu and the culinary escapades that ensued. Warning: Don't read these books when you're hungry :)
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How A Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices Into Fearless Home Cooks by Kathleen Flinn
My Life in France by Julia Child

Favorite Psychology Books:
Whether evaluating introversion, the everyday habits of individuals and businesses, or the idea of placemaking, these books were packed with intriguing research and practical application.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick

Favorite Books About Emotional Health:
These books were valuable resources to help through anxiety, perfectionism, and communication. I'll definitely refer to them again in the future. Didn't notice until now that 3/5 have the verb 'embrace' in the title, haha.
The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety For Good? by Rhett Smith
Surprised by the Healer: Embracing Hope for Your Broken Story by Linda Dillow and Juli Slattery
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown
The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam McMugh
War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles by Paul David Tripp

Favorite Theology Books:
A diverse bunch, varying from a memoir of a Muslim man's journey to Christianity, a how-to on inductive Bible study, a close look at a masterpiece and parable, and diving into attributes of God, these all pointed me to God and the truth of the Bible. 
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity by Nabeel Qureshi
Living By the Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible by Howard G. Hendricks
The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming by Henri J.M. Nouwen
None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different From Us by Jen Wilkin

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HERE is Goodreads' summary of my year in reading
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Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think? Any books you read and LOVED in 2016?




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Elle Alice