I just barely got through my 100 book goal this year (and I'll admit, there were a lot of children's books padding that total), but I have to say I really enjoyed what I read. So now, without further ado, my favorites from what I read this year:
- The Holy Bible - This was, without a doubt, my biggest reading accomplishment of the year. A feat I've attempted several times, but 2016 was the year I was successful. Reading this epic work as a whole helped me make sense of the less exciting parts and get a much better big picture view of the work as whole.
- Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter - Was there anything I was more obsessed with this year than Hamilton? That's why this annotated script interspersed with short pieces about the show that's revolutionized Broadway has to be on this list. In 2017, I have tickets to finally see the production in Chicago.
- White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg - This book reminded me why I thought I was going to be a History major in college. Learning the untold story of ordinary people from the beginning of white settlement in America was fascinating. Even when it was ridiculously dry, it was interesting. I will never look at Thomas Jefferson and many of the key figures mentioned here the same way again.
- The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom - How had I not heard the story of this woman who bravely not only hid Jews during the German occupation in the Netherland during WWII, but also played a key role in the Resistance and then survived a prison sentence in a German concentration camp? Despite her constant assurance that she's as cowardly as the rest of us, Ten Boom was a great example of sticking to your princples even when it's hard.
- Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey - This one was really the convergence of two main themes for me this year - my Christian faith and my budding feminism - and Bessey has played a role in both. Ever since I stumbled across her blog a few years ago I wanted to hear more about women who are both strong Christ followers and strong feminists. Even though my soul says the two things shouldn't be mutally exclusive, it took reading this book to understand why that's the case.
And in alphabetical order, 10 books that were also quite good and I expect will stick with me for some time:
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz - Beautifully and understatedly written, this story of two teen boys who don't quite fit in until they meet each other is just wonderful
- Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman - The writing here was amazing and really helped to show the unique challenges of mental illness.
- Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero - Such an authentic teen voice. I felt like Gabi was a real person I actually knew, or maybe that she'd copied sections from my teenage diaries.
- Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson - My friend wrote a book! But also fanfic, online friends, bisexuality, and so much to think about
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown - I feel like Daring Greatly was a better book, but Brown's message of owning up to your imperfections to live a better life is still powerful.
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison - I thought I was relatively informed on issues of racial inequality, but this look at one young man's life in the first half of the 20th century showed me I was wrong.
- The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz - A little erotica usually goes a really long way with me, but in this final book of the Red Years Series, Reisz manages to work in a little suspense, and actually, a lot of romance, too. Such a good series end. I want to read The White Years, but I don't know if my heart can take it.
- Notorious RBG by Irin Carman & Shana Knizhnick - I had no idea what a badass life Ruth Bader Ginsburg has lived. What a strong woman.
- Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz & Miriam Klein Stahl - beautifully illustrated quick but impactful survey of women making a difference around the world and throughout history
- Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team by Daniel O'Brien - any book ranking the Presidents that irreverently call Teddy Roosevelt the best has to have something good between the covers