The Year's Best

Homegoing and Roots are very similar; they both follow a family through many generations from Africa to America. And they are both so well written, I couldn't help but list them. Pandemic and Dr. Mutter's Marvels deal more in medicine and contagions, non-fictional horrors of sorts. And Interview with the Vampire probably needs no introduction - but if it does, I have the handy link below!

1) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
2) Roots by Alex Haley
3) Pandemic by Sonia Shah
4) Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
5) Dr. Mutter's Marvels by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

2016 is the year of sci-fi! While my top and 5th books aren't sci-fi, the other three are. Basically the future is king and makes for great fiction. Whether it's humans on Mars, virtual reality gaming, or virtual reality living, there was a variety of sci-fi sub-genre to choose from this past year. My top book, a psychological thriller, will frighten and shock you with the possibility that everything in the book could actually happen. And Wreckage is a great story at heart, which, while probably not likely to happen to anyone, deals with emotions that we all struggle with. Happy reading!

1) A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
2) The Martian by Andy Weir
3) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
5) The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
4) Wreckage by Emily Bleeker

Wow, three of my top five are World War II books. I didn't realize I had such a fascination for that time in our history. But the stories that come out of it are truly amazing. I also threw in a book about the debt industry in the United States and space travel. Once again, this was a year of non-fictional favorites!

1) Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff
2) Bad Paper by Jake Halpern
3) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
4) A Higher Call by Adam Makos
5) Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

Looks like I'm back to what I like best, non-fiction. Even the graphic novel on this list (Hyperbole and a Half) is autobiographical. Each one of these books shows the power people have over each other, from someone across the country, to someone you know and love, to even yourself, reality can truly be stranger than fiction.

1) Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
2) Dare I Call It Murder: A Memoir of Violent Loss by Larry Edwards
3) Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
4) Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
5) Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman

I'm not sure I can tie these books together in a cohesive way like I did with 2010's list, except that I enjoyed them all.  Plain and simple.  For books like Shades of Grey, Ella Minnow Pea, and Death with Interruptions, I enjoyed the author's creativity and clever wit.  They were playful, intelligently written, humorous books that all held an undercurrent of the sometimes disturbing realities that plague societies.  Blind Descent and Half Broke Horses are books based on adventurers, proving that real life can indeed be stranger than fiction!  I hope if you don't end up reading these five books, you'll find others that you enjoy as much as I enjoyed these.

1) Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
2) Blind Descent by James Tabor
3) Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
4) Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
5) Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago

I'm excited about these five books because they represent a good spectrum in terms of genre.  There's a memoir, military non-fiction, young adult fiction, and even an academic book.  Despite this, there is one underlying theme in all these books, they made me think differently about something.  For the Glass Castle, it was homelessness and mental illness.  For Generation Kill, it was the military.  For the Hunger Games it was about the delicacy of life.  For the Forest of Hands and Teeth, it was about indoctrination and reality.  And for Mindless Eating, it was how I thought about food and my eating habits.  I hope you'll be inspired to read these amazing books and that they'll teach you something you didn't know about your world and yourself.  Happy reading!

1) The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
2) Generation Kill by Evan Wright
3) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
4) The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
5) Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink