My Literary Year 2016

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me for a book recommendation, my free library coffee shop (Books with Baileys) would be open for business. The list below contains the books I read this year along with genre and ranking (five stars possible) and links for which I get no kickback. I also include lists of frequented blogs and podcasts.

Note: these books are in no particular order because that would require me keeping a list during the year, and if you know me . . . . . . .


The Martian (Weir), science fiction ★★★★★

All the Light We Cannot See (Doerr), historical fiction ★★★★★

Gone Girl (Flynn), psychological thriller ★★★★★

The Girl on the Train (Hawkins), psychological thriller ★★★★☆

The Round House (Erdrich), Native American, coming of age ★★★★☆

The Little Prince (de Saint-Exupery), fable ★★★☆☆

A Man Called Ove (Backman), fiction ★★★★☆

Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Semple), comedy ★★★★★

Slaughterhouse Five (Vonnegut), postmodern ★★★★★

All American Boys (Reynolds and Kiely), young adult ★★★★★

I’ll Give You the Sun (Nelson), young adult ★★★★★

An Abundance of Katherines (Green), young adult ★★★☆☆


Between the World and Me (Coates), letter to son about growing up black ★★★★★

New and Selected Poems (Oliver), poetry ★★★★★

Bittersweet (Niequist), Christian ★★★★☆

My Southern Journey (Bragg), essays about Southern living (and eating) ★★★★★

Due South (Brunner), essays about the South ★★★★★

The War of Art (Pressfield), psychological, self-help ★★★★☆

Lit Up (Denby), journalistic ★★★★★

The Art of X-Ray Reading (Clark), education ★★★★★

Hamilton (Chernow), biography ★★★★☆

Writing with Mentor Texts ( Marchetti and Odell), education ★★★★★

In the Best Interest of Students (Gallagher), education ★★★★★

Write Like This (Gallagher), education ★★★★★

No Other Gods (Minter), Christian ★★★★☆

Present Over Perfect (Niequist), Christian ★★★★★

The Bible – At least a couple of times per decade I will systematically read through the Bible, and 2016 was one of those years. I used an app by She Reads Truth which provided a plan alternating between Old and New Testaments sprinkled with Psalms and Proverbs.

Other Reading (blogs and websites count as reading)

The New YorkerIf you want to be a good writer, read good writing. Here’s the best contemporary writing.

Talks with Teachers – blog and podcast Talks with Teachers – Twitter

Moving Writers by Rebekah O’Dell, Allison Marchetti, Karla Hilliard (and others)

Three Teachers Talk by Amy Rasmussen and others

Dave Stuart Jr. by Dave Stuart Jr.

McSweeney’s – satire at its best

Approximately 1,000 essays from sophomores and seniors

1,200 essays on “The Juggler” (Wilbur) at the AP Lit reading

Podcasts (because we don’t just read with our eyes)

The Other 99 – my daughter’s podcast on equipping those in the church to do ministry

Revisionist History – Gladwell

Passion City Church – Giglio

Books Taught in 2016 (AP Lit, 12th General, 10th Gifted)

As I Lay Dying – Faulkner

Mudbound – Jordan “Mudbound, Skype, and Hillary Jordan”

The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald

Hamlet – Shakespeare

Frankenstein – Shelley

How to Read Literature Like a Professor – Foster

And Then There Were None – Christie

Macbeth – Shakespeare

Julius Caesar – Shakespeare

The Things They Carried – O’Brien

Ender’s Game – Card

Anthem – Rand

Fahrenheit 451 – Bradbury

If you are what you read, then I am a hodgepodge of works knitting together a messy yet beautiful soul.

What are you reading?

And if I you ever need a book recommendation . . . . . .

2 responses to “My Literary Year 2016

  1. Dear Susan, I am working on writing an article about American teachers’ reading life. I want to contact you, but donot have your email. Would you please send me an email, we can discuss it? Thank you very much! Happy New Year!

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