I need to create a better system for keeping track of the books I read, because every time I sit down to do a “recent reads” or “best of” books post, I end up having to search through my Amazon purchases, this blog and other places to remember what I read!
Oh, of course. I need to create a Books I Read collection in my Bullet Journal for 2017.
Now on to my favorite books of 2016!
My criteria is simple. I read a lot of books last year, but for most of them, I couldn’t tell you the main takeaway or how they made me feel. These titles are the exceptions.
I still think about their lessons; some still haunt me.
The definition of a great book, no?
Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg
I am a huge fan of Duhigg’s work on habits (see this post with free printable habits flowcharts, this one about keystone habits and spillover and this one about why habits are so awesome), so I was excited to read this book. It’s unlike any other I’ve read about “productivity”, a typically bo-ring topic. I was riveted by the stories in this book and couldn’t put it down!
If you want to know what you can learn about goal-setting and inspiring others from the Marines, how to strengthen your kids’ internal locus of control (and why), how to motivate yourself and others to do important-but-unpleasant tasks, why “craving for closure” can hamstring good decision-making, and potentially life-saving lessons you need from Air France 447, read this book. I have an entire page of notes from it.
30 Chic Days by Fiona Ferris – Books such as this one are like candy for me, so I try to make them last as long as possible by reading a tiny section every once in a while.
This is a sweet book written by a fellow Francophile about harnessing the françaises approach to life and great style – meaning not just clothing, but everything else. I find myself listening to the Breakfast at Tiffany’s soundtrack and wearing eye makeup and perfume, thanks to Fiona. This book has a place now on my dresser, where I’ll pick it up and re-read it when I need some chicspiration.
Presence by Amy Cuddy. This is one of those books that I felt took a lot of pages to say a simple message (and indeed Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on this topic is one of their most popular). Still, I find myself reminding myself and others to “starfish up” when we’re needing to take on some challenge.
So much conflict. Raw and beautiful. (The movie was awesome too. Alicia Vikander reminds me so much of my daughter Sadie, I felt like I was watching her as an adult on the screen.)
Premise: A newborn infant shows up, alongside her dead father, in a little boat. The keepers of the lighthouse find her. And here is where the story begins. (Trigger warning: if you’ve had a miscarriage, you may not want to read this book.)
I love books about the sea, and lighthouses especially. This one is set in Australia, and it’s the first time I remember reading a novel set there. This is not a book that makes you feel good and happy, but it is gripping and stays with you.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Wow. An amazing book. A sensitive topic, for sure, and disturbing, although not graphic. I wanted to read it as soon as I heard it was loosely based on the real-life Fritzl case which captured my attention years ago.
The book is written from the perspective of Jack, a 5-year-old boy who, along with his young mom, are held captive in a garden shed that has been converted into a bunker from which they cannot escape.
What makes this book touching despite the circumstances of the protagonists is the tenderness between Jack and his Ma. In the world she creates for him in Room, he lacks nothing. A powerful testimony to the mother-child bond. Interesting side note: it normalizes prolonged breastfeeding.
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenburg – Food. Family. Tragedy. Paris. Love. Is there anything else? I wanted to curl up in this book and never come out.
What were your favorite reads in 2016?
Jennifer B. says
I signed up for the course. ? A couple of my favorite books from my past year’s reading are The Lonesome Gods (amazing) and The Miracle Morning (simple but transformative). I had an AHA moment when I read your booklist. STs can read the tragic books that NFs cannot. ? Well obviously NFs can and do read them, but they just can’t function for weeks after from having their emotions pillaged. ? I will check out the habits one though! ?
Mrs. Picky Pincher says
I just want to say, I love love love the new website design! It looks so clean and fantastic! 🙂
Thanks for the book recommendations! I’ve been meaning to get into reading things other than cookbooks lately, but it seems like the more I try the more “little things” pop up preventing me from reading. I definitely need to check these out at the library!
@Jennifer: Haha, interesting. I was deeply affected by two of those, but I can see how it would be tougher for someone with a more sensitive nature.
@MrsPicky: Thanks! I’m glad you figured out how to comment, there’s a quirk with this theme in which comments don’t show when you’re looking at the home page.
Sarah Prince says
Last year I read a bunch of personal development books that I loved. My top two were The One Thing and The Compound Effect. They’ve definitely kept me going these past few months!
Carrie Willard says
@Sarah I’ll look those up, thanks for the recommendations!
Carrie, have you tried goodreads for keeping up with your books? I like it, although occasionally I forget to put a book I am reading in it!
Grechen Rubin has some good books on habits if you haven’t read those yet!
I am going to put a couple of your books on my to read list!
Carrie Willard says
@Candace – I’ve read all of Gretchen Rubin’s books, definitely a Superfan!
I’ve considered GoodReads but prefer a paper tracker.