My year in reading, 2016

10 books I loved this year, in no particular order:


Brit Bennett, The Mothers

A lovely debut novel in which a church community and an abortion have equal heft and importance in three young black lives.

Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior

A memoir of the modern relationship. Melton writes about her history of addiction, disordered eating, and intimacy issues with a lucid, loving voice.

Ann Patchett, Commonwealth

A gorgeous family epic that makes me feel like maybe I could write a sprawling story with such economy and beauty.

Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

I chose this novel because it won the Pulitzer the year I was born. It’s a beautiful American origin story. I wanted to be outdoors and horseback the entire time I read this book.

Rebecca Traister, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation

This is a book that ought to be read by all women in their twenties (and thirties). We’re unmarried and childless or maybe feeling pressured to have kids or thinking about adopting solo or tired of crappy first dates or secretly enamored of our solitary lives, and this book tells us that we are not alone.  

Michael Zielenziger, Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation

A fascinating look into the cultural malaise that runs rampant among Japan’s young adults, particularly the hikikomori, young men who shut themselves in their rooms and withdraw from society. 

Mary Karr, The Liars’ Club

A fierce, unsentimental memoir from the woman who brought this genre to its current staggering popularity. Recommended for anyone who wanted to escape their hometown.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

The work that we need in these times. Required reading for all Americans.

Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things

A surprisingly engrossing and richly researched novel. This feels like a book Liz Gilbert wrote for herself, which made me love it all the more.

Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies

Oh my god, this novel blew me away. I loved the flawed characters and the lush writing. Scenes from this book still play across my mind months after I closed the cover.

Here are ten more books I read and liked, any of which could probably go in the list above: