As I’ve mentioned before, reading is one of my favorite activities. I love being transported into another world or another person’s life. As a child, I almost exclusively read to keep myself busy, and was definitely the kid with the flashlight under my covers late at night just so I could figure out what happens in the latest Magic Treehouse story.
This habit hasn’t changed–in fact, it’s only gotten worse, as it’s quite common for me to miss my bus stop because my thoughts are consumed by a book. This year, I covered over 14 books (and counting!)! While it’s impossible it pick a favorite, I do have 6 of the best ones (in my opinion) that I wanted to share with you. Enjoy!
The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss
By Anderson Cooper
Did you know that Gloria Vanderbilt is Anderson Cooper’s mother? I didn’t until I picked up this book — have I been living under a rock, or is this common knowledge? Anyways, the story of Gloria’s life, as privileged as it was, is very eye opening in a “lifestyles of the rich and famous” type of way. She comes to present day armed with 90 years worth of wisdom and genuinely helpful life advice. I loved the insight to Anderson and Gloria’s relationship, and the way they speak to each other is mature and insightful.
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
The story in this book is every person’s nightmare. Susannah Cahalan, a normal 20-something, woke up one day in a hospital not knowing where her brain was for the past few months. Throughout the course of the book, she takes readers step by step through when she first started feeling sick, her days spent in the hospital, and her final diagnosis and how she dealt with it. This book is deeply unsettling, but, in my opinion, an important read; it’s a detailed insight into the lives of the mentally ill, and something we all could empathize with more. Susannah is relatable and honest, and tells the story wonderfully.
Holy cow, did I love this book! The Nightingale is about two sisters living concurrently in World War II times. The impact they make on their communities is incredible. This story is deeply emotional, historically accurate, and one that I recommend for anyone. While it’s a fictional story, it’s based off of many things that did happen in World War II — both the good and the terrible. It truly was my favorite book I read this year, and I haven’t stopped talking about it for months. Pick this one up!
I can’t say much without giving the story away but WHOAH. I got through this book in 3 days flat — it was that enticing. Dark Matter will totally mess with your head and make you think about aspects of the universe that you wouldn’t have thought of before. It’s set in Chicago (heeey!) and is funny, riveting, and a great thought starter. Even if you don’t love sci-fi books, you’re sure to love this one.
Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
This is the most “chick-flick” book that I read all year, but it was very enjoyable! It was light in tone, funny, and made me feel just a little bit more literary for reading something that resembled a Jane Austen story. You don’t have to love Pride & Prejudice to love this book, but it certainly helps to know the plot of the original story first. This is a great beach read!
What a powerful, poignant book. I can’t tell you how many times I cried while reading this. You’d recognize Cheryl Strayed from Wild, but to me this is her most impactful writing. This book is a collection of questions and answers written in a “Dear Abby” format. At least one letter in Tiny, Beautiful Things is likely to strike a chord with you — I know many did for me.
What are the best books you read in 2016, and what’s on your list for 2017?