Books I read in 2016
Out of all the books I read in 2016, my favorites were:
- Nonfiction—Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art, by Virginia Heffernan. “The Felt Internet” catalogs my favorite parts of the book, along with some reflections. And! Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio, by Jessica Abel, recommended by Luisa Beck. Looks like a graphic novel; reads like an immersive master class.
- Memoir—Truth & Beauty: A Friendship, by Ann Patchett, recommended by Luisa Beck, and Stir: My Broken Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home, by Jessica Fechtor, recommended by Lisa Sanchez.
- Fiction—The Beautiful Bureaucrat, by Helen Phillips, recommended by Josh Riedel.
This was a slow reading year for me, especially in terms of fiction. I started a few different novels, only for my Kindle to become graveyard of abandoned ones. In retrospect, my mistake was trying to get into sci-fi without accepting that invented vocabulary slows me down. I also maxed out on a certain style of nonfiction: “provocative claim → anecdotes yanked from scientific studies → here’s what it means for you.” In the end, I much prefer provocative claims in the form of enigmatic manifestos (see: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo) or lyrical explorations told from a personal perspective (see: Playing Big, by Tara Mohr; The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron; all of Brené Brown’s books).
The Full List
- Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, by Keith Farazzi and Tahl Raz
- Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives, by Tim Hartford (skipped to the end once I got the gist)
- The Prosperous Coach: Increase Income and Impact for You and Your Clients, by Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin
- Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio, by Jessica Abel
- The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
- Power: Why Some People Have It — And Others Don’t, by Jeffrey Pfeffer
- Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen, by Laurie Colwin
- An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, by Tamar Adler
- Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home, by Jessica Fechtor
- The Beautiful Bureaucrat, by Helen Phillips
- Walking in This World, by Julia Cameron
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen (re-read)
- Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art, by Virginia Heffernan
- An Absorbing Errand: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery, by Janna Malmud Smith
- The Magician’s Assistant, by Ann Patchett
- Truth & Beauty: A Friendship, by Ann Patchett
- Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Irin Cameron
- A History of the Future in 100 Objects, by Adrian Hon
- Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, by Adam Grant
Originally published on Medium