Top 5 Books of 2016

//Top 5 Books of 2016

Top 5 Books of 2016

If you’re anything like me, you LOVE reading. I mean… love it. You have a stack of books at all times ready to be devoured.

Reading is incredible.

You can step into a new world without ever leaving your home.

I thought a nice little compilation of my favorite books from this year would be a great idea and hopefully give you some juicy reading fodder.

These are not in order as that would be just WILD to try and do, but these stand out as the Top 5 Books I Read in 2016:

1. The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

I read this book on my phone first (possibly in 2015? I can’t remember…) but bought it in August this year at Powell’s bookstore in Portland, OR in physical format. It is THAT good. This is the type of book you want to savorrrr. You want to underline. You’ll need a highlighter. You’ll read it again and not remember parts of it. It’s a new, delightful, insightful, WOW-oh-WOW-this-explains-my-life experience everytime you pick it up and read a paragraph. This is my new life-bible, so to speak. Feeling blue? Pick up this blue. Fearful? Pick up this book. Angry at your co-workers/neighbors/family? Pick up this book. Despondent? You get the picture. GET THIS BOOK NOW. In fact, if I had to recommend ONE book this year to read, it would be this one. GET IT GET IT. And while you’re at it, get Michael Singer’s other book: The Surrender Experiment. This is another favorite of mine and one I will re-read. Don’t hesitate to get that one as well.

2. The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun

Oh. My. Gawd. Holy. Mother of Pearl. I started this book on the plane ride over to Arkansas to hang with family for Thanksgiving. I devoured more of it each day while there, trying to save some for the plane ride home. I couldn’t wait. I finished it there.

First of all, this book was sooo well-written. It’s a memoir/self-help book with inspiring quotes to make you think.

This book did several things for me:

-It initially made me feel like I am the world’s biggest HAM. I’m talking… selfish, accomplishing nothing, small-thinking, LAME-O!!! Once I had a few days to clear my head, I realized this is most certainly not true and not a good place to stay mentally, but I appreciate the jogging of “reality as I know it.” What he has accomplished with his Pencils of Promise organization is incredible.

-It made me take a look at the last 35 years of my life. And then to look forward at the next 35 years and hopefully beyond. And to think… what do I want the next 35 years to look like? When I am 70 and telling my story, what do I want it to say? The jury is still out on that one… but I’m starting to hone in on some general ideas. Thinking…

-I had already started a fundraiser to build a PoP school ($35,000 will build a school in one of the countries they work in… Laos, Guatemala, Ghana, etc. You can donate here if you like.

3. Diana, Herself by Martha Beck

I didn’t read many novels this year but this one was a fantastic “allegory of awakening.” Really, really fascinating and thought-provoking. It was unusual. Insightful. Hilarious. And I felt all sorts of emotions as I read through it, including fear, anger, joy, relief, wonder and lots more. A greatttt read!

4. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand…

I mayyyy have read this at the very end of last year actually. I can’t quite remember. But heavens help us, this changed my life.

It was riveting. It was mesmerizing. It was unbelievable. The power of the human spirit to overcome, to survive, to continue on in the face of absolute misery and torture… it’s incredible. Awe-inspiring. I plowed through this book in no time and recommended it to everyone I talked to. Get it. And know you’ll never look at life the same again.

5. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.

This is another of those eye-opening books that allows you to step into a new part of the world and see world events from an entirely new perspective. A must-read. Malala comes across as such a beautiful soul, with a giving spirit. Along with her father, she advocates for the right of everyone to have access to education. This hits home for me as I truly believe Education + Empathy = a better world. Ignorance breeds hate and fear and destruction. You won’t regret reading this one.

And if you still need more reading ideas…

Here are some other books of note that I highly recommend:


I could go on.

Hopefully this strikes your reading fancy and you order in something juicy!

Now. I would LOVE (oh please please!) for you to post below with your favorite book(s) from 2016. Do let me know. I hope to read a shiz ton come the new year and will be looking through the comments for inspiration.

Talk to ya soon!


By | 2017-09-04T14:04:39+00:00 December 18th, 2016|Life Musings|13 Comments


  1. Stacy Bernard December 18, 2016 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the recommendations Chandi! I’ll be checking these out!!!

  2. Sheila Morris December 19, 2016 at 4:37 am - Reply

    “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. It’s been less than a year, but I might need to read it again. The language is stunning.

  3. Cynthia Decker December 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I am definitely interested in reading many of your recommended books. I am an avid reader, knitter, fiber “addict”, as well.

    Sheila Morris, I read “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr and it is also one of my favorites.

    I recommend “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah.

    Also: “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande.

  4. Diane Sturgis December 26, 2016 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    It’s a book that I read in 2015, but I’m re-reading it, it was so interesting! At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson. Here is the format I bought at Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/At-Home-Short-History-Private/dp/0767919394/ but there is an illustrated one, but that one runs $44. Also, another book I read that I really enjoyed, was Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson. Learned quite a bit about the Columbian Exposition that was held in Chicago in the late 1800s.

  5. Sandy Dudzik December 26, 2016 at 11:07 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your list! All of these sound like excellent reading. Looks like a trip to Barnes & Noble is on the horizon. Yes, I know there is Amazon but nothing quite compares to spending time in a bookstore. Well, except crocheting or knitting.

  6. Karen Freid December 26, 2016 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the recommendations! I’m always looking for something new to read!

    The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is one of the best books I’ve ever read! It rates up there with Unbroken. As I read it I felt like I was watching a movie. I didn’t want the book to end!

  7. Barbara December 26, 2016 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    Two of my favorites from this year are “The Pearl that Broke Its Shell” by Nadia Hashimi; and “The Japanese Lover” by Isabel Allende, both fiction books. Thanks so much for your recommendations ?

  8. Barbara December 27, 2016 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss … This is a conversation between Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.

    If Someone Says You Complete Me, RUN!: Whoopi’s Big Book of Relationships … Whoopi Goldberg is so honest and honest-to-God funny.

    Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmen … Ruth Bader Ginsberg is fascinating.

    • Barbara December 27, 2016 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      May I suggest goodreads.com for keeping track of what you read? I read 200+ books a year and have maintained the list for over 5 years.

  9. Ellie January 3, 2017 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    One of my all time recommended reads is Scarcity by Sendhil Mullainathan. It explains so much about the human experience when we overschedule ourselves.

    • Chandi January 4, 2017 at 1:56 pm - Reply

      Definitely going to add that book to my list!

  10. RG January 4, 2017 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    Sadly this year has left me with not being able to read much but know the coming year will bring me better luck ?. One of the great books I did read though was “Brain on Fire” by, Susannah Calahan. Definitely not one to miss!

    • Chandi January 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      My husband said he read this book and loved it. : )

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