Favorite Books of 2016 and a Giveaway!

UPDATE:

The winner of the book giveaway is Shannon H.

Shannon, I will be getting in touch with you soon and your book choice will be on its way to you! Congratulations! And thank you to everyone who participated!

Last year, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to read 50 books. I surpassed that goal by reading over 75 books. (Don’t judge. I spend a lot of time in car lines at 3 different schools.)

favorite-books

I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite books from 2016. There is quite a bit of variety so hopefully you can find something on this list that peaks your interest.

  1. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry: this book started out very strangely. I think I only downloaded it to my kindle because it was free one day. But it was such an interesting story of family and forgiveness. I think everyone can relate to these characters in some way.
  2. Girl at War: This was the first book I read in 2016. This novel moves back and forth between 1990’s Croatia and present-day New York and follows the story of a girl and her friend who grew up in a war situation. I found the book to be honest and it kept my attention the whole way through.
  3. 13 Hours in Benghazi: I am fascinated with anything associated with current-day military. Probably because my husband has been in the USAF for 20 years and has deployed multiple times over the course of our marriage. This book made me angry and sad at the loss of lives and I was heartbroken reading about what the men went through. And for the record, this isn’t a politically biased book – instead, it is straight from the mouths of the guys on the ground.
  4. The Lunar Chronicles series: Peter jokingly referred to this series as my “cyborg love story,” and that’s pretty much what it was. I realize this is a far cry from my usual reading preference but there was something interesting that drew me to these books. Maybe it was the spin on traditional fairy tales or maybe I just needed a diversion from my usual. I don’t know. But if you like a little sci-fi with your fairy tales, these are the books for you.
  5. The Knockoff: This is another book type that I don’t usually read but I really liked it. This novel was based around the New York fashion industry and followed one woman in particular who returns from work after taking a few months off and finds herself completely out of the social media loop. It was quirky and fun – definitely a light read, if that’s what you’re looking for.
  6. The Invention of Wings: This novel, based on the historical figure  Sarah Grimke, follows two women, one a slave and one the daughter of a prominent slave owner. I found myself eagerly following along on their journey for equality.
  7. Dead Wake: Written by Erik Larson, this book was an historical look at the sinking of the Lusitania. It read like a novel except that it was all true. Some of it was pretty technical and tedious but if you like history, particularly military history, you will love this book.
  8. Rhinestone Jesus: I think I put this in one of my favorite things list. I love any type of memoir and this was no exception. Follow along with this family as they choose to say yes to Jesus.
  9. Just Mercy: Probably my favorite book this year. As a girl who has grown up in the south, I know that racism exists but I didn’t realize the extent. I think this would be a great read for a book club, but honestly, I think everyone needs to read this book to better understand what is currently happening in our country. This book opened my eyes in a new way and I can’t seem to get it out of my mind.
  10. The Perfect Son: Following a family who is falling apart at the seams, this is a story of redemption and reconciliation which teaches us through the characters to love others just the way they are.
  11. Look Me in the Eye: This was the year of autism reading for me. I read several books written by people with high functioning autism/Asperger’s and I found them to be very insightful, particularly as I applied their insights to Jonah. Reading about how their brains work was really interesting to me!
  12. The Lake House by Kate Morton: I love a good mystery, don’t you? This book kept me guessing till the very end. It vacillates between past and present day and I loved the characters.
  13. Where the Light Gets In by Kimberly Williams Paisley: This memoir retraces Kim’s mom’s diagnosis of dementia and the reactions and feelings of her family. It was an honest look at how dementia affects everyone, not just the patient. If you have a family member suffering from dementia (and even if you don’t), this is a great read. There are also resources in the back of the book if you need help or support.
  14. Here’s To Us: This book follows the messed up family of a recently deceased famous chef: his three ex-wives, and their children. It is family drama on steroids. (There is a lot of drama!) But it also shows how family dynamics can affect so many other avenues in your life. If you don’t mind some language and such, I think you will like this one.
  15. The Devil in the White City: This is another one by Erik Larsen (author of my #7 pick). Ok, y’all. This is a true story about the murders that occurred during the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. I’m not going to lie – it was a little bit creepy. There were times when I just couldn’t read it because it gave me the heeby-jeebies. But it was also fascinating. Plus you will learn lots of interesting facts which I apparently now enjoy spouting off to my family. Things like “Hey, did you know the Ferris Wheel was invented for the Chicago World’s Fair?” as we are getting on the Ferris Wheel at our local amusement park. (Yes, I know I’m a nerd.)
  16. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: I heard about this true story while listening to a podcast this past year. Henrietta Lacks was a black woman who passed away in 1951 from cancer. Before she died and unbeknownst to her or her family, doctors took cell samples from her which were instrumental in many major medical breakthroughs such as the polio vaccine and gene mapping. This story follows her family as they search for answers about their mother’s gene contributions.
  17. Gods at War: Pastor Kyle Idleman explores several different idols that we experience in modern times. Some of the idols he tackles are food, money, entertainment, and family. Stepping on any toes yet?
  18. A Mother’s Reckoning: This poor mother. I feel so terrible for her. She is the mom of one of the Columbine killers and she shares stories of her family, warning signs that she didn’t know were warning signs, and her feelings of despair, horror, and deep sadness over the heinous acts her son committed. This book is a wakeup call to parents – we won’t always know every single thing our child is thinking or doing but an open line of communication is so important.

 

So those are my favorite books from 2016. Let’s do a giveaway! Leave a comment here on the blog or on facebook telling me which book you would like to read. When you do, you will be entered to win that book of your choice! I will leave comments open until Sunday night and will notify the winner on Monday.

6 thoughts on “Favorite Books of 2016 and a Giveaway!

  1. You know I am in! I would love to read Rhinestone Jesus just because it has been on my list but Just Mercy sounds VERY intriguing too since you said everyone should read it!

    1. I absolutely loved the Lunar Chronicles! Kayla introduced me to them. I love a good fairy tale too. So many choices, but I think I would like Just Mercy.

      1. I was a little embarrassed to put Lunar Chronicles on my list (haha!) but I did really like them. Just Mercy is great!

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