My 10 Favorite Books in 2016

I do love to read. And I love to share about the books I've read. So without any further ado (and in no particular order), here are 10 of my favorite reads from 2016.

#1 - Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

This mix of comedy and sociology is perfect to talk about dating and romance in the modern age. I learned a lot, and I found so much of his research and perspective thought-provoking. So much relates to how technology has impacted all our relationships, not just romantic ones.

#2 - Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

I haven't stopped talking about this book. Set in rural Kentucky and Ohio, Vance unpacks the regional, familial, and class culture of rural white America. It was super eye-opening and helped put into words things I've known or seen but haven't been able to articulate.

#3 - Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Father Gregory Boyle

This book is not new, but I read it for the first time this year. (Actually, I listened to the audio book, which Father Boyle narrates... awesome.) It's simply so good. And inspiring. And heart-warming. And convicting. All the ingredients of a great book.

#4 - Wanted: A Spiritual Pursuit Through Jail, Among Outlaws, and Across Borders by Chris Hoke

Similar to Tattoos, Hoke writes a memoir about his life serving among predominately Latino gang members. But, of course, he has a unique perspective and his beautiful writing is often quite deep and thought-provoking. I definitely recommend!

#5 - Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

I expected to hear about Noah's comedy career and rise to fame, but the subtitle is very true on this one. It's full of stories from his childhood in post-Apartheid South Africa. I learned a lot about South Africa, and Noah writes stunningly about shifting between cultures. One reason I loved the audio book was hearing him switch between languages and accents.

#6 - Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution by Brené Brown

This is a book I will read again. I'd tried to read some of Brown's books in the past, but had struggled to connect. This one, however, clicked with me right away. What probably stuck with me the most is recognizing the stories we tell ourselves, particularly in a situation where we experience pain or rejection.

#7 - Dream Things True: A Novel by Marie Marquardt

A YA novel about a mixed-status couple? Yes, please! This novel follows a high school couple that deals with immigration issues when the boy discovers his girlfriend is undocumented. Marquardt's second novel comes out next month, and I'm super excited!

#8 - In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

Guerrero's story is so heart-breaking and an immigration tale that many have never heard or considered, so I recommend diving into her story. While in high school, she returned home from school to learn her parents had been deported. But she stayed. No one ever checked up on her, and she was a U.S. citizen, so she stayed and finished high school before becoming a Hollywood actress.

#9 - Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

This book revolutionized my creative life. It made me think so differently about what creativity is and how to cultivate it in a healthy life. It was encouraging without any "follow your dreams" or "live the live you imagine in your mind" kind of stuff, which is not really my cup of tea... mostly because I have bills to pay.

#10 - Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham

I wasn't going to include this one because it was a total guilty pleasure. But I absolutely loved it! Sometimes you're afraid you won't like the celebrity behind your favorite characters, but Graham was so classy and kind and funny. It was a delightful read. And I loved all her behind-the-scenes of GG, but also her acting and writing career.

Well, there you go! I hope you may enjoy a few of these as we head into the New Year. You can see everything I read in 2016 on Goodreads.

So what was one (or more) of your favorite books this year?

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