I talk about reading a lot, because it’s something I do a lot of. In the spring of 2016, I set a goal to read 40 books through the remainder of the year. I was able to surpass that goal and read 46! Now, I know that seems like a lot of reading, but I’ll tell you a secret: a lot of the books I “read” were actually listened to, in the form of an audiobook! I subscribe to a great service from Amazon called Audible.com and listen to books in my car (I do a lot of driving). So I decided to keep track of the books I read/listened to for a couple reasons; so I could know whether or not I reached my goal and so I could remember which ones were great, just ok or downright awful, and then I could recommend my books to others. That being said, I have narrowed the 46 books down to a top 10, my very favorites that I read this past year are as follows:
10- Liane Moriarty ‘Big Little Lies’: Wasn’t sure I was going to like this one, as it started out being about a group of small kids going to Kindergarten, and I thought ‘I don’t have kids, I’m never going to relate to this story.’ Boy was I wrong! This book is a very well written, funny, detailed women’s fiction type with suspense, mystery, murder and it’s fantastic! I’ve read a few from this author and this one is by far my favorite, I listened to it twice!
9- Octavia Butler ‘Kindred’: This is a book about slavery and time travel, and again I thought ‘I’m never going to relate to this, never mind enjoy it…I’m not into time travel.’ Lies. Apparently I am into time travel, because I loved this book, couldn’t put it down, and have since picked up and read other books about time travel and loved those too! This book is fascinating, but also eye-opening and sad as slavery was still very much alive and well in the 1800’s.
8- Tyler Oakley ‘Binge’: This book got great reviews so I decided to give it a whirl based on that. Omg, Tyler Oakley (an apparently well known YouTuber I’d never heard of before) scored a new fan in me! I laughed, I cried, I related so hard and I listened to this one twice. ‘Binge’ is as real as real gets.
7- Janet Fitch ‘White Oleander’: This book reads like a poem, and I was afraid that would make it difficult to follow, but it didn’t. It’s so beautifully done! It’s also sad, dark, distressing, heartbreaking, honest and true, and I couldn’t pull myself away. I loved this book! Unfortunately, I tried to read another by this author called ‘Paint It Black’ but I couldn’t finish it. It was too depressing and dark for me, so I guess I have my limits on that.
6- Anne Frank ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’: The writing ability of this young girl blew me away; she was so wise beyond her years! I adored Anne! She was innocent, sweet, smart, and sassy. Her stories and the events surrounding the Holocaust were staggering and oh so tragic. The hardest pill to swallow here is that her words are true; some of the diary entries are terribly sad and quite disturbing. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t cry while reading this book. I found it impossible not to.
5- Augusten Burroughs ‘Lust & Wonder’: First, let me start by saying I’m a big fan of memoirist Augusten Burroughs and have read many of his books, but this one is my favorite. Augusten is known for writing about his difficult and quite disturbing childhood, as well as his struggles with alcoholism. This book however, is his most intimate and honest thus far. The amount of love he has for his partner is insurmountable, it’s incredible and everyone should experience that kind of love in his or her lifetime. I’m pretty sure I cried reading this one too. I’m a crier!
4- Donna Mabry ‘Maude’: Oh Maude! This book had a lot of tragedy, but I absolutely adored it. It was astonishing to see what life was like in the early 1900’s before electricity, before cars, before women even had the right to vote! Maude had a hard life right from the get-go and this story is shared from the perspective of her granddaughter Donna, in a compassionate, loving, dignified manner. A beautifully written memoir that reminded me of ‘Little House on the Prairie’, another book series I adored!
3- Audrey Niffenegger ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’: Absolutely adored this book! The story completely pulled me into the character’s lives and I hated putting it down. This was the type of book that I thought about all day until I could go back to reading more. It’s a book about time travel, but it’s so much more than that, it’s a love story. I would not recommend this book for children; there is some harsh language and adult content. It’s a wonderful book for adults though, highly recommended!
2- Allen Eskens ‘The Life We Bury’: Whoa! This book is intense! I loved, loved, loved it! There were so many edge-of-my-seat moments in this one, what an incredible story. Allen Eskens is a fabulous writer and this was his debut novel! Great mystery, great character development, incredibly interesting, thought-provoking plot! Don’t miss out on this one!
1- Daniel Keyes ‘Flowers For Algernon’: This book, oh, this book has such a special place in my heart. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Charlie, from beginning to end, he’s so endearing! This is a story of humanity, hope and perseverance. It’s both beautiful and heartbreaking in so many ways. I finished listening to this book, cried in my car for 20 minutes and started it all over again. Absolutely adore!