Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Favorite Books of 2016

As another year comes to a close (good grief, Charlie Brown!), I become reflective, as the title of this blog indicates I do oft times.  I set a goal at the beginning of the year to read 20 books.  I am now at 31 and may read a few more before the year is through, so I feel rather accomplished!

This year reading has become my therapy and way to decompress from that which is life.  I've clung to it more now than ever before and it brings back memories of summer vacation spent in the aisles of my local library checking out books to fall into during the summer, and clutching my Weekly Reader paperwork to make sure I didn't lose it before turning it in.  My reading has brought me back to my roots, and for that, I feel really, really good.

I thought I'd highlight a few of my favorite books of this no particular order....

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - This was gifted to me and it sat on my bookshelf much longer than I'd liked, but I knew diving into it would be a challenge.  It was, yet rewarding at the same time.  The story of Louis Zamperini as an Olympian and POW survivor from World War II was redeeming and torturous.  I had to take breaks from reading as the POW scenes were hard to take, reminding me of the sacrifices so many made for my freedoms.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - A controversial book turned movie, I really did enjoy reading this book.  Do I agree with the outcome of the characters and all that took place?  Absolutely not.  But it was heart-wrenching and thought-provoking all at the same time.  I read the sequel, After You, which made me like the original more.  

Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend - This was my first book after joining Book of the Month Club and I have a theory that your "firsts" dictate your thoughts of those experiences forevermore.  The fictional memoir of Frances Conway, who was a real-life person, kept me intrigued and engaged throughout the whole book.  I didn't want it to end and I wanted to have a conversation with Frances, though I'm sure she has passed by now.  

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - Written in the 1930s inspiring an Alfred Hitchcock movie, I stumbled unknowingly on this treasure.  I was searching for a classic romance as a book prompt from a reading challenge and oddly this book popped up.  I'm oh so glad I did!  This book is haunting, hard-to-put-down goodness that is probably best read in the winter, in a cabin, wrapped up in a blanket with endless amounts of coffee.  I'll definitely re-read this one again.

Hope Heals by Katherine and Jay Wolf -  I had to pick one non-fiction in the bunch and this one is it.  Katherine Wolf suffered a stroke in her 20s and this is the story of her life when that happened, her journey through recovery and rehab, and her life now.  Told in exchanging voice between her and her husband, Jay, you hear events from both of their perspectives and their transparency is refreshing.  I love a book that increases my faith in God and this one is a definite read if you are facing insurmountable struggles in your life.

There are many other books I could mention, but these are the five that stick out the most.  For 2017, I'll have to increase my reading goal!  And I may kick off the year re-reading a classic from my childhood that is what I think of when I think about reading, life and the gift I was given in a Mom who fostered that in me - Charlotte's Web.

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