My Favorite Reads of 2016

It is time again for a list of my favorite reads of the year and having posted this list in November the past couple of years, I decided to wait until the end of this year.

The list is no ranking order but, I am listing several books at the end of this post as ones that I was definitely impressed with.

There is fiction and non-fiction here and my rubric for selecting these books is based on the impact that it made on me – a character, a great story for the fiction and for the non-fiction addressing a subject in a manner that stuck with me.

In short, these books have stuck with me just as three or four books I have read in the past 7 to 8 years continues to stick with me.  But that is another blog post.

Here are my favorite reads of 2016. (You can read my review of these books by clicking on the titles.)


Karl Rove’s The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters.



Laura McNeill’s Sister Dear


Roger Daniel’s Franklin D Roosevelt: The War Years


Sarah Sundin’s Anchor In the Storm


Dorothy Love’s Mrs Lee and Mrs Gray


Rick Campbell’s Ice Station Nautilus

Then there several books that I highly recommend for reasons that I note below.


James D. Hornfischer’s The Fleet at Flood Tide: America At Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945 

The debate about the use of nuclear bombs to end the war in the Pacific has been and will continue to be debated as to its morality and the reasons given for it use. Hornfischer’s book chronicles the path to Truman’s decision because, in part, what the American forces encountered through their march across the central Pacific in 1944 and 1945: An enemy who fought to the death and who refused to surrender because it was a sign of weakness. Well written and a vitally different view of the War in the Pacific.


Elizabeth Drescher’s  Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America’s Nones

Drescher’s book is a book which interviews and seeks to understand a group of people, several of whom were members of churches at one time, for whom organized religion no longer holds any meaning or purpose. It was an eye opening, mind opening, and soul opening book. Instead of talking about these “Nones” as many have done, Drescher seeks to help us understand why faith is no longer a priority to them.


Cie Cie Tuyet Nguyen’s Shock Peace: The Search for Freedom

Shock Peace is a piece of historical fiction based on the author’s experiences in southern Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975. This is a gripping story about people who risked their lives to escape to find the freedom they had lost.


Dennis W. Johnson’s Democracy for Hire: A History of American Political Consulting

This book was a political science re-education for me. Hate the negative campaigning? Get tired of the phone calls asking “Who would you like vote for if the election was held today?” This book chronicles the rise of American political consulting and how it has change and influenced American politics since the 1930’s. A great historical read as well.


Ruth Haley Barton’s Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership

(No review written)

A powerful book that I have re-read. It addressed the inner life of a leader. A different kind of leadership book that is faith based but well worth the read. So much of leadership writings seem to address the position of leader. This one addresses the leader him/her self and their inner life.


Cara Brookins’ Rise: How A House Built A Family 

Brookins book is an intense book about the effects of mental illness and domestic violence on and in a family. In an effort to rebuild her family, Brookins and her four kids design and build their own house and as they do, the build (and re-build) their family and their lives.


Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal

(no posted review)

A powerful book that moved me to tears at times especially as Gawande wrote about a care facility at which an innovative medical director took steps to help the residence feel at home and alive again.

There is so much here to read and to discuss not just in an intellectual way but as a family member who is a care giver, a medical professional seeking to give quality care to patients and their families, a counselor, clergyperson, and those who care about quality of life issues.

Gawande brings to light what many people, I think, wrestle with – when is NO needing to be said to give dignity to those who are facing death.

(I read this book which I received as part of a seminar on caring for the terminally ill and dying.)

Well, there you have it! I hope that you either buy a copy at your local bookstore or head to your local library to check out one of these great reads.


4 thoughts on “My Favorite Reads of 2016

  1. Thank you for including Anchor in the Storm among such wonderful books! And may 2017 be a great reading year for you!

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