Good Books of 2016

As the year comes to a close, I'm looking back at some of my favorite books. 

Though I usually spend most of my time in novels, this year fiction left me wanting. Nothing moved me. But non-fiction pulled me in, with several touching, funny, unbelievable tales. And, as always, poetry never lets me down. 

8 Good Books I Read This Year   


The Bitch is Back
edited by Cathi Hanauer 

In a collection of excellent essays, women in their 40s, 50s and 60s — bestselling authors, renowned journalists, and critically acclaimed novelists — share hardwon thoughts on love, sex, work, family, independence, body-image, health and aging.

Heads in Beds

by Jacob Tomsky 

This tell-all is a funny, irreverent and engaging book offering a behind-the-scenes look at the highs and lows of hotel life. 


Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble

by Dan Lyons 

A gripping, entertaining and savage account of the unstable and artifical life in Silicon Valley, written by a journalist-turned-tech insider (who then spent two years as a writer for HBO's hilarious sorta-satire Silicon Valley).



Bright Dead Things
by Ada Limon

A slim collection of beautifully aching poems.   

I'm learning so many different ways to be quiet. . . There's shower silent and bath silent and California silent and Kentucky silent and care silent and then there's the silence that comes back, a million times bigger than me, and sneaks into my bones and wails and wails and wails until I can't be quiet anymore.

— from How to Be Quiet 

The Tijuana Book of the Dead
by Luis Alberto Urrea 

A gritty and honest collection of poems about life at the border. 

You, who seek grace from a distracted God.
you, who parse the rhetoric of empire, who know
in your guts what it is but don't know what to call it,
you, good son of a race of shadows—
your great fortune is to have a job,
never ate government cheese,
federal peanut butter . . .

— from You Who Seek Grace from a Distracted God 

The Cure for Sorrow:
A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief

by Jan Richardson  

Though billed as a book of "blessings," these prayers read as tender, unpretentious poems. 

Let us agree
for now
that we will not say
the breaking
makes us stronger
or that it is better
to have this pain
than to have done
without this love . . .

— from Blessing for the Brokenhearted


You Will Know Me

by Megan Abbott 

A gripping page-turner of a novel, tightly wound and wonderfully delivered. 


The Guest Room

by Chris Bohjalian 

A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal.


Your turn:  What did I miss? What's on your list?