2016 Book List

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This post makes me feel like the last one on the block to take down the Christmas tree. Who cares that I’m just now finding time to compile my list of books for 2016. It’s one of my favorite things to do and last year’s list deserves to be remembered and documented.

Last summer I joined Anne Bogle’s Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club. It turned out to be a delightful experience. Anne’s picks were intriguing and varied and the online discussion was lively. We even heard from several authors of our monthly titles. Nothing better than talking books with fellow book lovers.

Here are a few genre highlights from 2016.

Favorite Fiction: So many great stories in the fiction pile last year. My favorites are as different as the four corners of a map, yet all examples of brilliant story telling. Such characters as I’d want as friends….

Count Alexander Rostov – “Rather than tucking in blankets and buttoning up coats, we must have faith in them to tuck and button on their own. And if they fumble with their newfound liberty, we much remain composed, generous, judicious. We must encourage them to venture out from under our watchful gaze, and then sigh with pride when they pass at last through the revolving doors of life…” Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

Miss Ona Vitkus – “Because the story of your life never starts at the beginning.” Monica Wood, The One-In-A-Million Boy

Larry Morgan – “You can plan all you want to. You can lie in your morning bed and fill whole notebooks with schemes and intentions. But within a single afternoon, within hours or minutes, everything you plan and everything you have fought to make yourself can be undone as a slug is undone when salt is poured on him. And right up to the moment when you find yourself dissolving into foam you can still believe you are doing fine.”
― Wallace Stegner, Crossing to Safety

Francie Nolan – “From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.”
― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The Storied Life of AJ Fikrey by Gabrielle Zevin
The Gaugin Collection: A Genevieve Lenard Novel by Estelle Ryan
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
After You by JoJo Moyes
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
11/22/63 by Stephen King (audio)
Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah
The Butterfly and the Violin: A Hidden Masterpiece Novel by Kristy Chambron
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (reread)
The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood
The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (audio)
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Banerjie Divakaruni
Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
The Year We Turned Forty: A Novel by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Still Life by Louise Penny
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (audio)
Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson (audio)
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobahn Vivian
Windfallen by Jojo Moyes (audio)
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
The Undoing of St. Silvanus by Beth Moore
Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Tears of the Giraffe: Ladies #1 Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (audio)

Favorite Nonfiction: From Pixar to pastors, Broadway to beauty, the year’s nonfiction had many noteworthy and memorable takeaways.

“The best stories suggest what they cannot name or describe.”
– John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace

“In this example is the basic value proposition of Essentialism: only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”
― Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

“…failure is painful, and our feelings about this pain tend to screw up our understanding of its worth. To disentangle the good and the bad parts of failure, we have to recognize both the reality of the pain and the benefit of the resulting growth.”
-Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc.

Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God by Lauren F. Winner
Power of Words by Joyce Meyer
The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam S. McHugh
Steadfast Love: The Response of God to the Cries of Our Heart by Lauren Chandler
The Dangerous Duty of Delight by John Piper
It’s Not What You Think: Why Christianity Is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die by Jefferson Bethke
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (audio)
The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance by Hoang and Johnson
The Cure: What if God Isn’t Who You Think He is and Neither are You by Lynch, McNichol and Thrall
Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Happy? by Gary Thomas
Beauty: The Invisible Embrace by John O’Donohue
Teach Me to Want: Longing, Ambition, and the Life of Faith by Jen Pollock Michel (audio)
Just Show Up: The Dance of Walking Through Suffering Together by Kara Tippets and Jill Buteyn (audio)
Run With the Horses: The Quest for Life at its Best by Eugene Peterson
Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer by Richard Rohr
Tribe by Sebastian Junger (audio)
Audacious by Beth Moore
Nothing To Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard by Jennie Allen
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda (audio)
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas by Collected Authors

The Artist’s Daughter by Alexandra Kuykendall
Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy (audio)
When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood (audio)
The Pastor by Eugene Peterson (audio)
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Gratitude by Oliver Sacks
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

Conmara Blues by John O’Donohue

I’d love to hear your favorites from last year! Here are links to years past: Book List 2015 …. 2014 ….. 2013 …. 2012

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