Favorite Books of 2016
This year I actually kept track of all the books I read. I’m not going to go over all the books, but here are my favorites from the year. They are sort of in chronological order, but maybe not really. I have no idea. Some I added right after I read them, and others I added in bulk chunks months later.
The Martian by Andy Weir
I love this book. It’s a lot of fun, and the movie was pretty great too. The math/science is pretty well researched.
Showa: A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki
These are actually four books that span from the 1920s to the 1980s. I’ve only read the first two, and am going to tackle the last two this upcoming year. Shigeru Mizuki goes deep into 20th century Japan. It outlines the hardships that the country was facing pre-war Japan and describes the lead up to WWII, and then of course goes into detail of the War in the second book. This is a really great way to learn 20th century Japanese history, or just WWII history from a different perspective. It’s also a comic book. A bonus read that is also written by Shigeru Mizuki is Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, which is an autobiographical book (with names changed) of his experience in the Pacific.
This goes deep into Oppenheimer’s life. There are a lot of great personal stories as well as history about the man and the atomic bomb. I started reading this a couple months after having toured the B reactor in Hanford, Washington, where the plutonium for the Trinity test and the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki was made. After that I went on a WWII history kick where I read the Mizuki books and another book called Shattered Sword, which is a tome of a book about the Battle of Midway.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This is a powerful book. Coates is writing his son a letter and sharing his experience and view of the world. Just go read it. It’s great. 100 stars. Also if you enjoy this I also read The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates and it is just as good. They are both up there on the list.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I don’t even know what to say about this. I don’t want to spoil anything as I think it should probably just be read. It is now one of my favorite of the dystopian style books.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
This is a really original take of a sci-fi time travel story and it has a lot of social commentary around race and slavery. It also has a kick ass woman as the main character. I don’t really want to spoil it by saying much more. Just go read it.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
This book follows the 20th century migration of six million people (the Great Migration) from the south to the north by telling the story of specific people. This is important American history and you should read it.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I almost didn’t put this on here, but I think I have to. I really loved this book, but it’s bleak as hell and made me cry. It’s super depressing so you might not want to read it.
Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon
I’ve been a Sonic Youth fan forever. They are my favorite of favorites. So hearing Kim’s story was a magical experience. She details her childhood growing up in LA, living with a schizophrenic brother, all the SY details, the divorce, and much much more.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
The existential crisis of our generation is climate change. This book criticizes not just climate change deniers, but also the current “green” movements.
The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu
I loved the first book in this series and this one keeps up the pace.
Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy by Karl Marx
This is a beast of a book. It is not an easy read. This is something that I’m going to have to read again and again. There is a ton of information in here that is really great. I highly recommend reading A Companion to Marx’s Capital by David Harvey along with it. I would switch back and forth between books each chapter or so. He also has some video lectures to go along with it. I didn’t watch those, but might give them a shot next year.
Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks
A great intro to feminism. Read it.