2016 NBAs

Nance’s Book Awards, that is.

I started keeping track of what I was reading in late March.  I do remember a couple books from January so there are only two missing months.  Here’s the bulk of what I read in 2016 and my award winners for the year…


Loved, loved, loved this book.  Beautiful prose and a lovely tribute to her late husband.   It inspired a new personal writing project for me and I recall with fondness reading the book near our campfire on the morning of my birthday last Summer.    

Taught Me the Most

A tie between these two…

The Sympathizer was, well, dark as hell, truth be told!  But also so… well-written, well-told.  It explored so many different things on so many different levels.  My book club discussion of it was rich and interesting and there are still things I’m thinking about, months later.

Girl in Translation was a much lighter read and while the specifics of it haven’t stuck with me, the glimpse it gave of a small immigrant family and the conditions of the sweatshop where they worked still linger.  More than once since reading it I’ve wondered what hands made the clothes I’m wearing.

Fastest Read

Whoa.  Medical mysteries fascinate me and this one was pretty dang mysterious.  If I ever have a psychotic episode, I hope my doctors have read this book!   I finished the final 120 pages in one sitting in Vancouver last week.  The fellas were off skiing and I had a rare day to myself.  I had imagined myself trekking all about the city, checking out the sights and tucking into a cafe but instead, I sat at our airbnb rental in front of the fire and read and read and read.  I couldn’t believe it when I looked at my watch and discovered it was lunch time already!

Most Shocking Ending

This wasn’t an earth-shattering read but I had to include it because it literally left my mouth hanging open.  I’ve come to expect a twist at the end with Jodi Picoult but my eyes were bugging out with this one.

Honorable Mentions

I already wrote about We Need New Names, The Chosen, and When Breath Becomes Air earlier in the year.   Peace Like a River was like visiting an old friend.  I read it about ten years ago and wanted to read it again as I started thinking about trying to write another novel.   What you read while writing is hugely influential in your own writing and I knew this one would be worth revisiting.  It was even better the second time around.  Mudbound was the first book I read this year and it still stands out as one of the best.  City of Thieves also makes the cut simply because it’s a well-told story and I was truly captivated by it.

The Complete 2016 List

Brain on Fire  
by Susannah Cahalan

Leaving Time
by Jodi Piccoult

City of Thieves
by David Benioff

The Latter Days: A Memoir
by Judith Freeman

The Sympathizer
by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Drowning Ruth
by Christina Schwartz

Peace Like a River
by Leif Enger

Girl in Translation
by Jean Kwok

The Light of the World 
by Elizabeth Alexander

Firefly Lane 
by Kristin Hannah

When Will There Be Good News
by Kate Atkinson

Still Alice
by Lisa Genova

When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi

We Need New Names
by NoViolet Bulawayo
4.4/5 stars

The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah
3.7/5 stars

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
3.8/5 stars

The Chosen
by Chaim Potok

by Hillary Jordan

Up Next?

Here’s what I’ve got on my nightstand hold at the library so far for 2017…

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
Shrill by Lindy West
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
The Road Back to You by Suzanne Stabile & Ian Morgan Cron
Remnants: A Memoir of Spirit, Activism and Mothering by Rachel Elizabeth Harding & Rosemarie Freeney Harding

Got anything I should add to my list?


To follow along with what I’m currently reading, click here.

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