My Favorite Books Read in 2016

Reading is such an important part of my life and something that I absolutely love doing. Learning from others’ experiences and imaginations feels like such a gift. For me, the only other things I’d rather been doing when I’m not spending time with my family are reading or writing. (And when I’m reading with my kids – best part of my day!)

I set a goal of reading 40 books this year and surpassed it to reach 58! You can see all of them here – not including a couple releasing this year that I got to preview. (You can also check out my favorite reads from 2014 here, and my favorites from 2015 here!)

Here are my favorite books read in 2016, in no particular order:



  1. Deep Work by Cal Newport. This book argues that we as a culture have let distraction take over our lives, to the detriment of deep attention and in-depth work. It came recommended from a friend, and it continues to challenge me in how I spend my attention each day.bookdeep-work-cal-newport
  2. Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch. This book contains some wonderful stories and a great overall message about allowing our kids fail in order to learn how to stand up again and be responsible and accountable. I pre-ordered this one before it came out, and I’m really glad I own it, because I’ll be referring back to it in the years to come.
  3. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. Probably my favorite book read this year! I happened to be chatting with a community leader about local issues, and she recommended this to me. I was captivated by it, and have been recommending it ever since.bookhillbillyelegy
  4. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. This book made me cry, laugh, and want to read everything in sight. A very touching story of a man who began reading books with his mom while she was undergoing chemo treatments.
  5. The Legacy Journey by Dave Ramsey. I’ve read several of Dave’s books, but this one is probably my favorite, because it focuses on your wealth legacy – how what you do now with your money can have an extremely beneficial impact on your family and others for a very long time.
  6. Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This book transformed my soul and opened my eyes. I didn’t agree with everything (I rarely do in a book!) but Half the Sky has truly heightened my awareness and compassion about world issues regarding the oppression of women in the developing world and deepened my resolve to doing what I can to aid in some of these international problems.bookhalfthesky
  7. Grit by Angela Duckworth. I found this book to be more exploratory than results-based, but there are some key points that have continued to stay with me. It makes the case that while our culture loves people who are “naturals” – those gifted with athletic talent or extremely high intellect, for example – no one really achieves high levels of success without passion and perseverance.
  8. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. This book has changed the way I think about getting old and confronting death. SUCH a good read. This is the second book I have read by Atul Gawande, and I love his thoughtful writing style.bookbeingmortal
  9. On Fire by John O’Leary. This book recounts John’s experience getting horribly burned in a fire when he was nine years old, and what his pain and experience taught him about the will to live and what it means to live a life of great purpose and passion. On Fire is an uplifting and powerful read.


  1. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I’ve recommended this to several people, who then say “Oh, I don’t like to read horror.” But this isn’t a typical Stephen King book (I don’t like that genre either!) It’s a well-researched novel with a fascinating storyline, and even though it’s more than 800 pages, it goes quickly for the most part. I couldn’t put it down!book11-22-63
  2. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. I almost didn’t read this because if I’m being honest, I think the title is terrible and the cover is terrible. But it was highly recommended, so I gave it a chance, and pretty soon, I was wrapped up. It’s a YA novel, and though it moves a little slow in some parts, it explores some tough themes with likable main characters and has a fantastic ending.
  3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. I got on a Young Adult kick last year, which has continued. I listened to this on audio during a drive to Nashville for a writing program and really enjoyed it. A compelling story with an unexpected outcome.bookeverything

We’re a week into the new year, and I’ve bought about 10 new books on my Kindle and have been keeping the library busy with my requests; there are so many I can’t wait to read this year. (Which is positive momentum to have, since I’m aiming for 75!) I’d love to hear what has been on your favorites list or what you’re looking forward to reading next. Any recommendations for me?

2 thoughts on “My Favorite Books Read in 2016

  • January 6, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Great list! Hillbilly Elegy is 1on my list this year. I think I will add a few more of these to the list, too! Thanks for sharing

  • January 6, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    My recommendation would be The New Jim Crowe. It’s not pleasant to read and is very heavy hitting, but it’s blindingly eye-opening explaining how the state of race relations got to where it is today.

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