10 Best Reads in 2016

I'm fairly certain that every other post I've written this year has been book-related. It's a wonder that anyone reads this blog at all. But alas, I know what I'm about. So presented without fanfare, here are my Top 10 Favorite Reads from my 2016 Book Challenge:

10. Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat by Chrissy Teigen
Some may argue that this doesn't count because it's a cookbook, but to those I say- this is my list and I can do what I want! Also, this cookbook may be my favorite of all time. Seriously. My expectations were low because how good can a supermodel's cooking be, right? But holy moly- I've made several of Chrissy's recipes and each one has been ridiculously delicious. I can't recommend this cookbook enough!

9. A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
This book was like the feminist version of A.J. Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically, which I also enjoyed. I loved that Evans took on the challenge of literally interpreting women's roles in the Bible and the conclusions (some surprising) she came to at its conclusion.

8. Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
Although this won't actually be published until January 3, I received it through NetGalley and I'm so thankful I got to read it. I am not a short story girl, but this book blew my freaking mind. To say this woman can write would be a gross understatement. This was my first of Gay's, but Bad Feminist is now topping my list of upcoming to-reads!

7. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This book was recommended to me as a good audio-book to listen to. I loved it- the perfect combination of spooky, clever, and fun. My only criticism is that the ending felt a little drawn out, but the rest of the book was so wonderful and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the perfectly fitting music that aided in transitioning between chapters was actually Bela Fleck. Super fun audio-book read.

6. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
This was another NetGalley request and thank goodness because the waiting list at my library was unbearably long! Like most people, I was familiar with Trevor Noah as host of The Daily Show. I've long thought he was incredibly insightful, intelligent, articulate and funny so I assumed his memoir would be the same. It was all of those things, but admittedly, it was not very humorous. I don't know how you tell a story of growing up "born a crime" in post-apartheid South Africa, or as a survivor of domestic violence and make it funny. So Noah didn't and it was amazing just the same. I felt that this book and his musings on race were especially timely given the current political climate in the U.S.

5. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
I was pleasantly surprised to find this book full of depth and terrific content. It delved into RBG's most "notorious" opinions and dissents, including notes in the margins providing background, insight into why Ginsburg's words were so significant and translating constitutional law into layman's terms. This book had the potential to be really superficial, or boring and text-heavy. It was neither. The story behind RBG's legacy was approachable and well-written. Highly recommend!

4. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer performs the ultimate beautiful balancing act of tackling serious issues like sexual assault, domestic abuse, gun violence and her Dad's debilitating medical condition with laugh-out-loud hilarious sexcapades and experiences as a stand-up comic. She is candid, honest, heartfelt and her book is so full of girl power, self-love and positivity that I wanted to burst with love and admiration for her.

3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks
Although I really had no interest in the British royal family, this book made me feel like I knew them personally. It was a total guilty pleasure read, but I absolutely loved it and I know most everyone else who's read it feels the same!

2. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
It probably has something to do with the fact that this book was based in Cincinnati and hello- how many books are ever set within driving distance of my podunk little town? I loved this re-telling of Pride and Prejudice.

1. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
Since reading this book, I have pretty much made all my friends and family read it, as well. I knew I would love this book because I love virtually every thought that comes out of Glennon's mind. But I was completely unprepared for how this book would wreck me, convict me, and cast light on the dark, scary, vulnerable parts of myself and my marriage. Glennon's struggle with intimacy particularly resonated with me and as she wrote about how she and her husband learned how to drop their shame-filled ideas of what sex is supposed to be and re-learn how to love each other, tears streamed down my face. I devoured this book and if I could give it six stars, I would. This book needs to be read by every woman, every married couple, every person who has ever felt like no one understands their pain. I can't begin to overstate the beauty, vulnerability, courage, and honesty that is wrapped up in this book.

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What were your favorite books this year?

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