My Favorite Reads of 2016

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In 2016, I’ve read 79 books (and will almost definitely finish the 80th before this week is out, I am about halfway through Hillbilly Elegy. Which, by the way, I think would have made this list if I’d read it before now. An excellent read!). I tried to narrow this list to 10, but I couldn’t bear to cut another book. So here are my top 11 books I read in 2016.



The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood – This tale of a young boy obsessed with world records and the elderly woman he befriends is unique, sweet, and memorable. (Full review.)

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher – One of those books that made me want to read EVERYTHING by the author. Also, I’m kind of sad I didn’t read it around Christmas. A sad tragedy brings a motley cast of characters together for Christmas in Scotland. Adored it! (Full review.)

Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery – What a treat to read these treasures for the first time as an adult! I loved living in Anne’s world for a while. (And the world of her children, too!) (Full review.)

Station_Eleven_CoverI'll Be YoursA Man Called Ove

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – Something about this post-apocalyptic novel is so intense, haunting, and lovely at the same time. Probably my #1 read of the year and one I would recommend to everyone. (Full review.)

I’ll Be Yours by Jenny B. Jones – I am a total sucker for Jenny B. Jones, especially her hilarious yet adorable YA romances. Raced through this one. (Full review.)

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman – I love it when a book lives up to its hype. This one totally did. Backman’s book is funny, sad, poignant, memorable, and all-around lovely. How does a man in his 30s write older curmudgeons so well?


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – I read part of Jane Eyre in college, but it must not have been much because there was nothing I remembered in this volume. A classic for a reason, Eyre is a fascinating heroine and I think I could reread this and get all kinds of different things from it. (Full review.)

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton – I keep finding myself recommending this Kate Morton historical mystery to others. A great book to dive into, Morton opens with a family drama that continually flashes back to World War II era. One I stayed up late to finish. (Full review.)


All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior – Full review coming, as this was a December read for me. Senior’s study on modern parenting focuses on the parent, not the child. Reinforced my strongly held notion that we should only do at most one activity per child, and challenged me in some other areas. Just a really interesting read.


Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker – This was definitely a faith-stretching year for me. We left our church and found a new one that is a completely different space. Jen Hatmaker helped me  through that somewhat with this book and armed me with the knowledge that I wanted a Christianity that looked outside the walls of the church. I have not arrived, but I’m growing. Whatever your feelings on Hatmaker at present, I think this is great, stretching read for those who no longer feel OK with casual faith. (Full review.)

Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver – I was on the launch team for this book, compiled by my good friend Mary from her late friend’s blog and writings. But my five-star review was not related to that; this is an excellent book, a book pushing the reader to truly live in faith and outside circumstances. Sara’s story is hard and heartbreaking, but her intense faith and optimism is inspiring. (Full review.)


It was hard to cut out a few other favorites, but I think those are truly my top reads of the year. I’m excited that I will finish at least 80 books this year (plus I reread the seven Harry Potter novels – that counts, it’s just hard to count on GoodReads). What was your best read of 2016? What do you think I should read in 2017? I’m anxious to hear your answers!

8 thoughts on “My Favorite Reads of 2016

  1. Jessie!!! Thank you for including my book!!! I have Station Eleven and need to read it. And…how have we not discussed missing Anne of Green Gables as kids? I have never read them – which makes me feel like a book nerd fraud! I have them on my Kindle, though, and hope to read them this year before passing them on to Annalyn.

  2. So many good books. I didn’t enjoy “One in a Million Boy” as much as a lot of people did. I would put it in the “good but not great” category.

    “Station Eleven” and “Secret Keeper” are both ones I would list among my favorites. I also enjoyed “Interrupted.” They weren’t new ideas to me, but I find myself recommending it to various people.

    “Choose Joy” and “Winter Solstice” are both on my TBR list, which is ridiculously long. I need to read a book a day to catch up (I have over 350 books on there.)

    I also read “Hillbilly Elegy” recently. My husband is from Eastern KY, and I know a bit of the culture. It did make a couple other things click into place for me.

    My very favorite book this year was “The Lost Sisterhood” by Anne Fortier. It’s historical fiction with some mythology thrown in and a strong female protagonist- adventure, intrigue, mystery…

    • Oh my goodness, is my TBR list ever humongous! Could we just stop publishing books for awhile? That’d be great. I have finished two books this week but I still have at least three others out from the library and two more on the hold shelf there! I will check out The Lost Sisterhood. It sounds really interesting.

  3. Thank you so much for the recommendations Jessie! I feel like we have very similar tastes. I also had “The One in a Million Boy” and “Station Eleven” on my list of best books of 2016. Also on my list “Kitchens of the Great Midwest”, “Salt to the Sea”, “And the Mountains Echoed”, “A Gentleman in Moscow” and “In This House of Brede”. I also loved in the Christian writing genre – “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller. I liked it so much more than “Blue Like Jazz”. I need to read “Interrupted”.

    • I have Kitchens of the Great Midwest out from the library right now! That Donald Miller book keeps coming up. I read Blue Like Jazz 10 years ago but nothing since then. But I will definitely try Million Miles.

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