My favorite Books of 2016!!
2016 was a fantastic reading year for me! I finished out the year with a grand total of 75 books…which is exactly how many I challenged myself to read at the start of the year. I still can’t get over that amount….75…crazy! I’ve always been a big reader, ever since I was 10-11 years old, I’ve loved to read. But I think I used to average bout 20 books a year most years. Then at the beginning of 2015, a friend of mine suggested that I start a PopSugar Reading Challenge that had a grand total of 52 books in it. I agreed to start it, fully expecting that I wouldn’t come anywhere close to actually reading all 52 books….but I did! I actually ended out 2015 reading 55 or 56 books (I can’t recall exactly). I was so pleasantly surprised and I promptly decided that I would challenge myself to read even more in 2016. The addition of audiobooks has definitely helped with increasing my reading total. I spend quite a bit of my day on mindless chores; vacuuming, folding laundry, cleaning floors, etc. Listening to an audiobook while I do them makes the chores slightly more tolerable as well as helping me to crack at my never ending “to be read” list. Win, win. So, if you haven’t yet ventured into the world of audiobooks, I highly recommend that you give them a try! I still much prefer to actually sit down and read a real book or read on my beloved Kindle Voyage, but audiobooks are definitely something I’ve recently learned to love.
As for my favorites of the year…I’ve read a lot of really fantastic books, and just like last year, it was hard for me to narrow them down into a smaller list. All 20 books in this list are books that I gave a 5 star rating to. I feel like there is a pretty good mix of genres, lengths, authors and subject matter. I didn’t have any specific book goals for 2016 other than to read more than I did in 2015 and to read a lot of the books or e-books I already owned before I bought more (this one probably wasn’t considered a great success 😉 ) I also had a handful of rereads on my list for this year…some of which are included in my favorites below.
20. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – This was one of the many rereads for 2016. It has been so long since I first read this book, that I figured that I was due for a reread. If you haven’t yet read this classic or if it’s been decades since you have…I highly recommend reading this beautiful and classic novel.
19. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson – I’ll actually put the entire Millennium Trilogy in this list as a favorite of mine for this year. I started the trilogy in 2015, but finished out with the second and third book this year.
18. The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison – I could not put this thriller down! I love a great serial killer/psychological thriller story and this one did not disappoint.
17. Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher – Another trilogy that I loved. These are actually 3 shorter, novella length books that make a gripping mystery with a nice romance aspect that I couldn’t stop reading.
16. Sutton by J.R. Moehringer – Historical fiction mixed with some true crime make for a fantastic read I couldn’t put down.
15. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – Historical fiction with biblical references and stories make for a wonderful tale of the strength and determination of the human spirit.
14. The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein – A must read for any dog lover! Make sure you have your tissues close by because it is a total tear jerker.
13. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler – I consider this book to be incredibly important and something that should be read by all kids ages 14 and older. It covers consent & sexual assault in a very honest and profound way.
12. Cinder & Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – These 2 are part of the Lunar Chronicles which is a YA Fiction series that takes a modern day twist on old school fairy tales. Very unique and entertaining stories…I’m looking forward to finishing this series in 2017.
11. It by Stephen King – Another reread for me. I was very glad that I decided to take on the beast that is this book again, because I feel like I got so much more out of it the second time around. Interestingly enough….this was also the longest book I read in 2016 at 1153 pages! It’s also 1 of 3 Stephen King books on this list.
10. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane – A fantastic mystery/thriller that had quite the shocking twist I never saw coming.
9. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld – This was a pleasant surprise of a book that I only picked up because of an online book club pic. It quickly became a favorite of mine with it’s beautifully tragic writing and story.
8. A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman – A beautiful feel good story that will appeal to most readers. Another tear jerker…but not in an overly depressing way…this book will leave you feeling good about humanity.
7. The Stand by Stephen King – Another beast of a book at 1152 pages and the second of three Stephen King books on this list. I’ve had this one on my TBR for decades and always put it off because of the length….but I’m so glad I read it this year. If you normally shy away from King because you feel like his books might be too scary or gory for you, this would be a good choice for you.
6. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – Neil Gaiman is adult fantasy at it’s finest! I’ve read 3 of his books so far, and this one is definitely my favorite so far. Fantastic characters with some of the best world building you can imagine. If you’ve been thinking of reading Gaiman, I highly recommend this one!
5. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – The Kite Runner is one of my all time favorite books and this second novel of Hosseini’s didn’t disappoint. Historical Fiction paired with the strength of the human spirit can be found in this wonderfully tragic story.
4. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – Yet another Historical Fiction (can you tell that’s my favorite genre?) that had me reeling. It’s an epic multi generational tale about the slave trade in West Africa. A must read for fans of historical fiction.
3. The Shining by Stephen King – Another reread for me and my favorite Stephen King book of all time. It definitely needed to be included on this list. If you are a fan of King or the horror genre in general and haven’t yet read this (or even if you have before), definitely pick this one up!
2. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – WW2 Era Historical Fiction by another one of my favorite authors. A very important book with some heavy subject matter that will definitely require a box of tissues near by.
1.A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – I cannot say enough about this book and how much I absolutely loved it…how much it wrecked me, moved me and affected my mind. This was, by far, without a question, my favorite book of 2016 and quickly found it’s way into My All Time Favorite Books list. It’s HEAVY….really heavy. The subject matter here includes things like; drug addiction, assault and suicide…so it’s not a light, easy, feel good read by any means. But it’s by far one of the best written character studies I’ve ever read. It’s a book that, upon finishing, I found myself not able to move on to anything else because I just could not stop thinking about the story or the characters in it. If you can handle some heavy and deep subject matter, I HIGHLY recommend this beautiful and tragic story of love and friendship that is like nothing else I’ve ever read.
Phew! That’s it….my top 20 books out of the 75 I read this year. There were sooooo many other 4 and 4.5 star reads that were also excellent books…so please check out some of the many reviews I’ve written this year.
I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings on the reading front for me! I’m going to work on getting through my very large and ever expanding to-be-read list, as well as finishing up some in progress series. I’d be happy with finishing another 75 books in 2017, but ideally even one more than this year will be a win for me 😉 What are some of your 2017 reading goals??