Monday, January 2, 2017

Best books of 2016



Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave was my absolute, favorite #1 read of this year.  I am a total sucker for smart, funny characters and witty dialogue and this book delivers! I also love any book that is set during World War II. This was a novel after my own heart!   This book also now resides on my Top 10 of all time list.  Read it!  You will be so happy you did.


This gem was not a 2016 book but I didn't read it until I really needed it.  2016 started with a lot of unhappiness, stress, sorrow, and sadness.  By April of 2016, two of my kids were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, my army son had broken his leg badly in an airplane jump, my husband had been without work since January, and I was really heart-sick and not able to find my joy.   I read this book at a silent retreat and tried to put what she said to practice.  Most helpful to me was the section on really knowing yourself.  I now also have a whole page of awareness of myself..being Gretchen...so that I can attempt to not put myself in positions that threaten my joy.


I read this in one sitting on New Year's Eve.  I love Liane Moriarty!  Her characters feel like my friends and I can't put her books down.  They are great when you just want a book that feels like an old friend and some fun characters who feel like real people.  I recommend all of her books!


I tried to read this book last summer but it required a level of concentration that I couldn't find.  That is a hallmark of stress, when your brain can't focus.  I got through half of it and had to put it down.  I picked it up on the first day of winter break and started over.  It was very good.  Set in New York, it follows the lives of 4 siblings as they try to get their inheritance back from their badly behaved brother.  Great character development and dialogue.


I bought this book at the Sycamore Tree while on a silent retreat.  I felt like it was on the shelf just for me.  I was really struggling with why God allows bad things to happen to good people.  He is a really good writer and this book was full of anecdotal examples as well as questions for personal reflection. This book was just what I needed, right when I needed it.  So, you have to ask yourself which


"what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?"  and who doesn't love a good Mel Gibson quote :)  and view :)


I also read The Aviator's Wife which I liked, but did not love.  I found the story fascinating, but for some reason the characters were a little flat to me.  A Man Called Ove was also another that didn't move me greatly.  I liked it though so perhaps it was me and my stress level that kept me from loving them and being able to fully immerse myself.  



I just started this...a haunting story of Auschwitz and the horrors that twins, Peal and Stasha are subjected to under Joseph Mengele.  Beautiful character development and prose.  

How about you?  What were your favorite books of the year?  What are you reading next?  


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