Books, Uncategorized

2016 Best Books Summary

I read a lot of great books in 2016. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites even though, generally, “Best of 2016” lists are a bit out of fashion at this point of the year.

Book:
Men We Reaped” by Jesmyn Ward (2013)

Inspiration to Read:
My friend, who has recommended other great books, suggested this one. I trust her judgement for books that leave an impression (she’d told me about “Americanah”). I didn’t know what I was picking up, but I trusted I’d like it.

Thoughts:
In this memoir, Ward writes about her experiences growing up as a young black woman in Mississippi. She reflects on her parents’ relationship and their broken marriage, her relationships with her parents and siblings, and the South as influences in her life. Most impressionably, she writes about loving, losing, and mourning five black men, including her brother. Ward writes honest and compelling prose; this is a great story simply because it’s a story that needs to be told.

Book:
Here Comes the Sun” by Nicole Dennis-Benn (2016)

Inspiration to Read:
This was a recommended book on Amazon, and I’ve started to trust the site’s grasp for the kinds of books and authors that I like through algorithm-crunching the other books I’ve viewed and purchased. I didn’t realize this book was so new (released July 2016) when I bought it, but was captivated by the plot summary.

Thoughts:
I knew immediately I would love this book. I liked the characters instantly and enjoyed the narrative even more. I read it in the summer, and reading about Jamaica in late July was like a dream. Dennis-Benn shares the lives and unrest of a three-generation, women-only family and their conflicting values and faiths. Her love for Jamaica and sharing meaningful stories about women is evident in every chapter.

Book:
Girl in the Woods” by Aspen Matis (2015)

Inspiration to Read:
I happened upon this book while browsing. I was captivated by the idea that a young woman, a few years younger than me, took off on a frightening and physically daunting challenge to recover and heal from trauma.

Thoughts:
Matis was raped on her second night in college. In this memoir, she writes about her journey toward healing by dropping out and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail – a 2,650-mile trek from Mexico to Canada – over 5 months. Her transformative journey was engaging and consuming in its honesty and openness. Her vivid descriptions of uninhabited nature added to the charm.

(Please note: I was not paid to write about these authors’ works. I obtained these books by my own means and am just a fan.)

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