To me, reading is as essential as breathing, eating, and sleeping. If I didn’t do it, I’d be miserable.
What disturbs me is that I spent years reading what I was required to read, and hardly any time reading what I wanted to read.
I read for pleasure from age five to eighteen, but after I started college, my pleasure reading dropped like an anvil from a cliff. From about age 18 until my early 30s, I read mostly textbooks, books, newspapers, case studies, and articles related to my studies and work, but hardly any marvelous novels or great works of non-fiction.
I’m extremely bummed that I will never get that time back to read. And I have no one to blame but myself.
To make up for lost time, this year of being a full-time writer has also been my year of being a full-time reader.
Here are the 67 books I read in 2016. They are listed in the order in which I read them, and I only included books that I finished.
- Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
- Cracked Pomegranate by Fae Bidgoli
- Swimming in the American: A Memoir and Selected Writings by Hiroshi Kashiwagi
- Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Writing the Heart of Your Story: The Secret to Crafting an Unforgettable Novel by C.S. Lakin
- 30-Day Author: Develop a Daily Writing Habit and Write Your Book in 30 Days by Kevin Tumlinson
- Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown
- Kaline Klattermaster’s Tree House by Haven Kimmel
- Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
- Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
- I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
- Rules by Cynthia Lord
- The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
- The Xenophobe’s Guide to the Icelanders by Richard Sale
- Humans of New York Stories by Brandon Stanton
- Post-Dated: The Schooling of an Irreverent Bonsai Monk by Michael Hagedorn
- Little Kunoichi: The Ninja Girl by Sanae Ishida
- Sewing Happiness: A Year of Simple Projects for Living Well by Sanae Ishida
- Figgs & Phantoms by Ellen Raskin *
- As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling by Anne Serling
- Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide to Building Stories that Resonate by Brian McDonald *
- The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity by Louise DeSalvo
- Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
- Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
- This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
- The Good Times Are Killing Me by Lynda Barry
- The Face: A Time Code by Ruth Ozeki
- Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me: A Graphic Memoir by Ellen Forney
- Cruddy by Lynda Barry
- At a Crossroads: Between a Rock and My Parents’ Place by Kate T. Williamson
- My Town by David Lee
- The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew
- Porcelain by Moby
- The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
- I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
- Involuntary Turnover by Cheri Baker
- Monstress by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
- Rock Paper Tiger by Lisa Brackmann
- Matthew Looney’s Voyage to the Earth by Jerome Beatty *
- Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles & Ted Orland
- Writer’s Doubt: The #1 Enemy of Writing (and What You Can Do About It) by Bryan Hutchinson
- Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary *
- Clementine by Sara Pennypacker *
- Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
- Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
- Amulet, Book One: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
- Amulet, Book Two: The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi
- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams
- Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
- Wool by Hugh Howey
- This is Not a Werewolf Story by Sandra Evans
- A Little Yellow Dog by Walter Mosley
- Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China by Eddie Huang
- The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
- Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka
- Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
- Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes
- Zek: An American Prison Story by Arthur Longworth
- The INFJ Writer: Cracking the Creative Genius of the World’s Rarest Type by Lauren Sapala
- Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
- Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
- Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain
- The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood by Kevin Powell
* indicates that I read this book in a previous year, and I read it again this year.
I read so many wonderful books this year, but I decided to challenge myself and pick the Top 10 Books that I really enjoyed and/or changed me for the better this year. These books are in BOLD and are hyperlinked. While I do recommend many of the books I read this year, these Top 10 hold a special place in my heart. Hope you’ll check them out.
If you have questions about any of these books, contact me. I love to talk about books.
ps. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of these links, I will be paid a commission at no cost to you, and you will be helping me devote more time to writing books and blogging about writing. Thank you and happy reading!