In case you haven’t noticed, I love to read.  It’s a passion that I’ve held since childhood and it has carried me through good times and not-so-good times. My interests are wide and there are only a few genres that I don’t have any interest in at all. I read fiction as well as nonfiction.  I enjoy biographies, self-help, historical fiction, and even a little science fiction. Life is too short to stick to one type of book.

Last year I did a reading recap of my top 10 books of 2015. This time I thought I would do something a little different and choose my favorite books from a variety of genres. So, here are my favorite reads of 2016.

Biography

I started the year off with an in-depth study of John and Abigail Adams. It was a lot of work reading four biographies at the same time, but I learned so much about the couple. My two favorites are John Adams by David McCullough and Abigail Adams: A Biography by Phyllis Lee Levin.

Mystery

I’ve been reading through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries. I got two of them read this year, my favorite being The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Classics

The classics are called so for a reason. They’re just really great, timeless stories. This year I read The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. All of these books have something to say to us today. The Count warns us of becoming obsessed with revenge. Ben-Hur shows us what we are all searching for and where to find it. Bradbury’s dystopian novel gives us a glimpse into where we may be headed. Frankenstein raises many questions about the creation of life and what our responsibilities are regarding it.

Christian

My favorites in the Christian nonfiction category are Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson, and Fresh Out of Amazing by Stacey Thacker.

Young Adult Fiction (this also happens to be Science Fiction)

I read all the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling in about two months. They are so amazing and the story arc is impressive. I also enjoyed Cinder by Marissa Meyer. It is a retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale and is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series. Don’t let the description of this one discourage you from reading them. The writing is really good and the storyline is imaginative. I was pleasantly surprised.

Other Nonfiction

Some other books I enjoyed include A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz, although I recommend it with reservations. The idea is brilliant: a man reads through all of Jane Austen’s novels and actually applies the lessons contained in them to his real life. However, he doesn’t share my worldview and uses vulgar language at times. I wholeheartedly recommend Life Creative by Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart to every woman, especially the one who doesn’t think she is creative. This book was so inspiring and I plan to reread it again soon. I also recommend The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. I read it before giving it to my oldest son and took some great ideas away from it.

Read-Alouds

I always have a good book that I read aloud to my boys. A few that we loved this year were The Home Ranch by Ralph Moody, The Green Ember by S.D. Smith, and The Princess and the Goblin/The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald.

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Homeschool Review Crew Reflecting on 2016

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