Friday, December 30, 2016

Favorite Books of 2016

This year, I read and finished 20+ books. Here are my five favorites.

I've included at the bottom a couple honorable mentions and my two kids' favorite books of 2016. I always love to hear what others are reading, so if you've read a good book recently, please share in the comments.

Fun fact: after compiling the top five list, I noticed they were all written by women -- two Brits, one Nigerian, one Asian-American, and one Canadian.

And shout out to my husband for making the graphic.

Happy reading!

Still Life by Louise Penny

Still Life is the first book of the wildly popular, twelve book (and counting) Chief Inspector Gamache mystery series. The author built up so much suspense, I lost a lot of sleep while reading this one! Engrossing, suspenseful, well-paced, lots of twists and turns. And her sumptuous descriptions of food made me hungry almost every time I read.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca, a mystery/romance/gothic novel, was an instant success when it was first published in 1938 and today is considered a classic. I found the first fourth of the book a bit slow, enjoyed it after that, and then for the last fourth of the book, I again lost a lot of sleep and could not set it down. I can't tell you why because that would ruin the mystery, but I found it engrossing, dark, disturbing, and wonderfully written.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah is a love story that explores many big themes including feminism, culture, immigration, race, and power. The reader follows the main character, a wealthy Nigerian woman, as her life takes her from Nigeria to the U.S. and back again. The book was engrossing and very well-written, though I did not like how the love story turned out and at times it felt like the author was pushing her agenda rather than just telling the story. But, still the book stuck with me. I found myself thinking about it long after I read it.

Parenting Without Borders by Christine Gross-Loh

This nonfiction parenting book explores some of the pitfalls of American culture's version of parenting and compares these pitfalls to other, often better, parenting practices around the world. Utterly fascinating. This book helped to broaden my perspective of what parenting can be like, though I would have preferred it if the author had examined more than just a few countries and socio-economic classes to make it a truly global book.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling; illustrated by Jim Kay

This was my fourth time reading this book, but my first time reading the illustrated edition and it was just magical and beautiful. Bonus: the illustrator's re-imagining of the characters helped me finally get that Ron Weasley actor's face out of my head while I read. DO NOT get this on Kindle. Purchase it or borrow it from your library and enjoy the visual art in its full-sized glory. Chamber of Secrets is also available illustrated, but I haven't gotten my hands on it yet.

Honorable mentions:

The Martian by Andy Weir
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Grace's (3 yrs old) Favorite Books:

A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer
What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Ann Schwartz

Cora's (2 yrs old) Favorite Books:

High Five Magazine created by Highlights
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

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