TTT: Top Ten Books of 2016

There are a lot of  ways to rate what makes a book among the “top” books of the year, so I’m going to stick to the ones that blew my mind in some way. These aren’t in any particular order except that the one fiction book is at the end.

Freedom from Fear - Desmond M. Tutu,Michael Aris,Aung San Suu Kyi,Václav Havel,Desmond Tutu

There was just so much here about what it takes to obtain a democracy. It inspired a bit of a rant on our own system and the “loopholes” that people find in it. I  really hope that another book comes one day to describe the grueling process in creating the system that Burma has after the long battle. (my review)

  Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity - Julia Serano

It probably wouldn’t have occurred to me on my own femininity continues to be devalued even as women come ever closer to equality. It would seem like one comes up with the other but it doesn’t. Perhaps it’s balancing back out a bit with some of the feminists out there denouncing that you cannot be feminist and girly at the same time, but I have a feeling a bigger push is necessary. This is also the book that made it sink in that we should not focus solely on transition stories when discussing trans people. There’s more the their lives than that process and asking about it or advertising it as the most interesting thing about them reduces them to that thing and it’s not right. (my review)

  Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home - Anita Hill

I purposefully put myself in a job and industry that makes me move around a lot so I had no idea the troubles that were happening with people concerning home-buying other than that I knew the bubble had burst. This was enlightening on the home-buying initiatives and their racial slant. (my review)

  The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories - Marina Keegan,Anne Fadiman

Most of this was good, but the mind blowing essay was the one about Celiac Disease. It made me wish there was something I could do for her mother. I have lost a child myself, and it is different with each person, but I can’t imagine everything this woman went through. I can only hope that this essay gave her some sort of peace that her daughter fully appreciated her the love that she had for her.  (my review)

  Men Explain Things to Me - Rebecca Solnit

This book draws a fairly direct line between all the ways that women are silenced and how the more passive methods still give way to the violent ones. (my review)

  The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution - Jonathan Eig

It never occurred to me how bad things were or could get back before the pill. I am never going to daydream about living in another era or some fantasy landscape that is without contraception. Forget it. I shudder just thinking about it. (my review)

Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates

There’s a beautiful thing that this book does by presenting the current experience of racism as a person of color in the way that it does. It felt like world building in a fiction novel. I didn’t feel like the book assigned blame, though it didn’t shy away from it, so much as it laid the system out for everyone to see. I don’t know if that’s the best way to describe it either, but it was just a masterful way to make people who don’t understand racism see what it is to live with racism as a part of the world they must contend with on a daily basis and the balancing act that must be performed by people of color. (my review)

Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People - Nadia Bolz-Weber

There really are people in my life that didn’t even mean to help me along with something and just did. This is my first Bolz-Weber book and I loved it, especially the focus on religion. I didn’t grow up in a church-going family but religion was a part of our world in other ways. Nowadays, I’m married to a man on his way to becoming a preacher and I see the accidental saints that help him along his way and I recognize mine sometimes too. It’s the forgiveness you didn’t deserve or the opportunity to understand someone that you didn’t expect to get. It’s an interesting phenomenon but one that I appreciate more all the time. (my review)

Rising Strong - Deutschland Random House Audio,Brené Brown,Brené Brown

I want to write a book one day. It’s been a dream since I was a child. This is not a book about writing books but it takes the format of a story, the acts, and compares it to the way we deal with our troubles and it makes so much more sense of it. We rise strong in act 3, but to get to act 3 of any given story in our lives, we must have acts 1 and 2 first. There’s no skipping act 2, no matter how much of a miserable place it can be.  It’s made me appreciate the lulls in life and those times where it looks like I’ve failed. I didn’t fail. That was just the end of act 2. Now I have to get back up and make a better plan. (my review)

This Place Holds No Fear - Anne Posten,Monika HeldPTSD is a different animal for different people. The traumatizing effect is a factor, as are the personal history of the person who has it and the people they surround themselves with after. Trying to forget is dangerous and so is wallowing in it too hard. There’s a special middle ground where you remember but move on, you accept it as a part of your life but can let it be a part that you don’t have to live into anymore. That’s the place where this books lives. It is the delicate balancing act of an Auschwitz survivor, his fellow survivors, and his future. In the US, we’re accustomed to not thinking of anyone associated with WWII as having had problems coping with being back home. Other than a few instances in our media that were long ago, we’ve mostly buried that there was an aftermath, that there was anything that could possibly plague the men who came home. This book takes place in Poland and Germany and deliver a very different reality for that part of the world concerning this same war. It was beautifully written and well done and really made me look at the people of that generation from other parts of the world with a new respect. (my review)

Those are the ten books that absolutely blew my mind this year. Did you read anything that rocked your world this year?

Don’t forget to go to the Broke and the Bookish for the Top Ten Books of 2016 for other readers!

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