50 Books I Read in 2016

50 Books I Read in 2016

2016 was the fifth consecutive year I’ve read fifty books a year. One book a week is very manageable for me. However, the last two years I fell behind and was faced with 14 book pileups in December. Two years in a row this happened! I blame my lack of willpower and re-watching Game of Thrones and all of Shameless, The Leftovers, The Killing, Stranger Things, The OA, and The Night Of. I resolve to be better at prioritizing reading time in 2017! Here’s this year list of books read. I link to 2015’s list at the bottom of the post.

    Books I Loved

  1. I found Maus I in my younger brother’s childhood bedroom during a trip to Houston. I knew of its fame and read it in two afternoons. The graphic novel memoir is the story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s regime as told by his cartoonist son.
  2. You can’t finish Maus I and not immediately go look for Maus II. This story reaffirmed my goal of documenting my dad’s story of surviving the Vietnam War.
  3. Fates and Furies

  4. I read Fates and Furies while in Barcelona and it was hard to go to bed because I couldn’t stop reading! I also carried it and squeezed in reading sessions during subway rides. This story of a marriage is first told in the husband’s point of view and then told in the wife’s point of view.
  5. I expected to love The Thing Around Your Neck, a collection of 12 short stories, because I fell in love with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s writing when I read Americanah last year. I love stories of straddling two cultures and assimilating to American culture.
  6. I enjoyed The Course of Love so much that I made the girls at I Feel Better Podcast read it and we dedicated a whole episode to it.
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  8. Truth and Beauty is a memoir by Ann Patchett about her friendship with Lucy Grealy, who lost half of her face to childhood cancer. A beautiful story that made me want to read Grealy’s memoir, Autobiography of a Face.
  9. Milk and Honey is bittersweet lyrical poetry with accompanying sketches that made me want to sketch again.
  10. I can’t fathom the amount of courage and grace it takes to write about a relationship and its intimate and ugly parts and still have a working relationship. And yet Glennon Doyle Melton achieves that with Love Warrior, an unflinching retelling of her experience of her husband’s infidelities.
  11. Their Eyes Were Watching God, a story of a black woman named Janie and her three marriages, might be my favorite book read in 2016.
  12. The Grownup teetered between books I loved and books I liked but what pushed it into the love cateogory was the fact that I read it to Sugarface on our long drive to Arkansas. We shared laughs and speculations. I laughed out loud at the first line of this novella (which prompted me to read to Sugarface).
  13. Books I Liked

  14. The Lowland is a family drama centered around two Indian brothers.
  15. My friend Ashley recommended I read In Cold Blood and now it’s my turn to recommend that you read it if you enjoy True Crime.
  16. Norwegian Wood was assigned reading for the I Feel Better Podcast. So glad it was put on our list!
  17. A Tale for the Time Being is two stories in one. That of a Japanese 16 year-old girl who kept a diary and the Canadian novelist who finds her diary washed ashore in Canada.
  18. A neurosurgeon learns of his terminal diagnosis and has to come to terms with his mortality at the age of 36. He dies while writing When Breath Becomes Air and the epilogue is a tearjerker.
  19. I read The Buddha In The Attic after reading Maus II and it was kind of thematic. The writing style (first person plural) was a smidge distracting in the beginning but it was a heart-aching read about Japanese female immigrants right before WWII and then entering WWII.
  20. Goldfinch

  21. My friend Treavor gifted me Goldfinch a few years ago for my birthday. What an adventure of a read! It also won a Pulitzer in 2014.
  22. 2 Dollars a Day is a compassionate and well-researched book about the extremely impoverished in the United States.
  23. Are you a Shonda Rhimes fan? If so, read Year of Yes.
  24. I’m a big fan of Oprah and bought What I Know For Sure for my sister. It is a mix of personal development and memoir essays.
  25. Read Not that Kind of Girl if you like Lena Dunham or the show Girls.
  26. Men We Reaped is a grief memoir that acknowledges (not so much examines) the role of race in the death of five black men in her life.
  27. Love, Loss, and What We Ate is overwritten and needed better editors. Padma Lakshmi was excessive in mentioning how she used to model. Every page at first felt like it had at least three sentences that started with “when I was a model”. When I started to accept that leaving the modeling world was a pivotal moment for her and that she earnestly is referring to that transition, it became less distracting. I read a few criticisms about how out of touch she is from an average person’s everyday life. Those kinds of criticisms always grate me. She’s a former international model and Top Chef host! She’s telling her story, which includes working in an industry that values beauty.
  28. The End of the Story speaks to loss and sifting through ever-transforming memories.
  29. The End of Your Life Book Club is about a book club between the author and his dying mother. I added to my to-read list after reading this book.
  30. Blankets was my first experience of the graphic novelist’s Craig Thompson’s work. I must read more of his works in 2017.
  31. We Were Liars,a YA mystery, is the only book that made me want to read it immediately again after I finished to see if I could catch the clues a second time around.

  32. I decided to read Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman after listening to Lindy West confront one of her internet trolls in an episode of This American Life.
  33. I read M Train because I loved Patti Smith’s first memoir, Just Kids, and because I heard she wrote about one of my favorite TV shows watched in 2016.
  34. I’m so excited to see Big Little Lies being made into a TV show!

  35. The Life We Bury was the first book my book club chose. A thriller/mystery that was well-written.

  36. Personal Development Books

  37. The author of The Art of Living subscribes to Napoleon Hill’s teachings.
  38. I wanted to read Thich Nhat Hanh for the first time and chose How to Eat as my first. Speaks to mindfulness while eating.
  39. So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

  40. You are a Badass

  41. Everyone Writes

  42. The religious undertones in Fringe Hours was distracting.
  43. Crush It!: Why Now Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion will make you want to tweet.
  44. Crossroads of Should and Must was beautifully illustrated.
  45. How to Love (another Thich Nhat Hanh book)

  46. The Writing Life
  47. Books I Didn’t Quite Like

  48. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

  49. The Nest

  50. How to Be Single

  51. I used to enjoy the Adulting blog but I think I’ve outgrown most of the content!
  52. Rosie Project

  53. I was so excited to read Adultery since it’s by Paulo Coelho but it was a flop for me.
  54. I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around

  55. Shining Girls, chosen by my book club. Thriller with a side of time travel.

  56. Eleanor and Park was on the cusp between books I didn’t quite like and books I liked.

You may also like: 50 Books I Read in 2015

Question: What were your favorite reads of 2016? Please share in the comments!