6 books to read before the end of 2016

It’s not a secret that a library is one of my favorite places in the world. Sure, a beach vacation is lovely, but instead of cute dresses, my suitcase is packed with books. I can’t say I love every genre: Stephen King is waaayyy too scary for me, sci-fi is ok, and romance tends to fall into the home decorating world- nobody’s real life actually looks like that. I like to laugh; I like to learn.

Even if I only make it through a couple of pages before falling asleep, for me, a day without reading is like a day without breathing.

Maybe you need a few books for vacation.
Maybe you’re hoping to finish at least one book this year.
Maybe you’re trying to kill a few minutes in the school pick-up line.

Whatever your reasons, regardless the amount of available free-time, there’s something for everyone with my 6 favorite books (so far!) of 2016. Some of them came out years ago, but since I’ve just found them,  I thought you’d enjoy too.

textbook1. Textbook  Amy Krouse Rosenthal. You may know her from her fabulous kids books (Little Pea, Little Hoot, Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons) or you might be more familiar with her adult books (and one of my all-time favorites, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life).  If you “don’t have time to read,” Textbook is perfect for you. It could be the fastest 317 pages you’ll ever read- seriously- many pages literally have 3 words on them (admittedly, the number of blank pages made my eco-minded self a little twitchy).
As always, AKR is so adept at observing life you’d think she’s reading your mind.

“94% chance I touched up the peeking-out toes with nail polish right after putting on aforementioned sandals and just before seeing you” – Textbook.

The “Private Investigator Experiment” is BRILLIANT. If you’re so inclined, you can even make the book interactive and text her answers to questions throughout…she may even bake and send you a pie!

klebold2. Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy Sue Klebold. Yes, that Klebold, Dylan’s mother. Columbine. I would go so far as to say that this book should be required reading for every parent. Yes, it’s difficult. No, it’s not making excuses. It’s actually a lesson in everything they (as parents) didn’t realize may have been signs. He wasn’t a trouble child; he had friends, a job, hobbies; he went to Prom three days before the shooting. Even in hindsight, his behavior didn’t display anything outlandishly different from “teenager.”
Over the past 20 years Ms. Klebold has become very active and educated in brain (a different approach than “mental”) health. The book includes fascinating research and reports from various doctors guiding us to recognize suicidal tendencies unique to the adolescent brain.

“These are the issues that urgently need our attention. Asking “why” only makes us feel hopeless. Asking “how” points the way forward, and us what we must do.” -Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy

Time has by no means lessened the pain, imagery, frustration, anger she feels everyday. As always, the media didn’t accurately portray most of the event.

unhealhty3.  Unhealthy Truth Robyn O’Brien. You’ve heard of Erin Brockovich. Robyn O’Brien is the Erin Brockovich of food. She didn’t set out for that title. She’s really a mom with kids with food allergies looking for answers…often without knowing which questions to ask. What began as a need to keep her daughter (and other children) safe from foods that could potentially kill her, turned into astonishing findings that, quite frankly, many people aren’t willing to accept. Understanding what is in our food shouldn’t require a degree in science or a marketing jargon dictionary. Curious why identical foods (think Twinkies or candy) have different/safer ingredients in other countries than the US? Wondering what that clause on dairy products about growth hormones on actually means? What is making the number of food allergies explode over the past thirty years?

“…One out of every three U.S. kids currently suffers from allergies, asthma, ADHD, or autism and that the number of children with peanut allergies actually doubled between 1997-2002.” – Unhealthy Truth

You won’t feel the same after reading Unhealthy Truth. And, you’re likely to have many lingering questions.

three things4. Tell Me Three Things Julie Buxbaum.  Because you should never underestimate teen-lit. Seriously, there are some really great books out there. Finding yourself in a new state, with a new step-family (still grieving your mom’s death) is tough. Now transport yourself from middle-class Midwest and comfortable Chuck Taylors, to affluent California high-school.

“You know how it is. Mean girls get mean in seventh grade and they stay that way until your ten-year reunion, when they want to be best friends again.” -Tell Me Three Things

The story is good, the characters are engaging, but I love the idea of “Tell me three things” that connects the entire story stemming from an anonymous email. It’s also a great conversation starter for quiet teens.

girlboss5. #GirlBoss Sophia Amaruso. Apparently I live in a box. I’d never heard of Sophie Amaruso, and I’d never heard of Nasty Girl. Really though, it doesn’t matter. #Girlboss is less about the actual company and more about rising from nothing (think homeless high school dropout) to becoming – the founder and CEO of a $100 million dollar business. Sure, “Oh the places you’ll go” is nice and a reliable graduation book gift, but if you want to empower and motivate your daughters (and self!) to go kick-ass in life and/or business…you need #girlboss.  She also incorporates profiles of other unorthodoxically successful women.

“If you’re frustrated because you’re not getting what you want, stop for a second: Have you actually flat-out asked for it? If you haven’t, stop complaining. You can’t expect the world to read your mind. You have to put it out there, and sometimes putting it out there is as simple as just saying, “Hey, can I have that?”- #Girlboss

High school teachers, ADD THIS BOOK TO YOUR CURRICULUM!

assistants6. The Assistants Camille Perri. Let’s pretend for a minute that you have outrageous student loan debt. And let’s say that the company you work for makes triple that amount every minute of every day. And, perhaps they accidentally reimburse you work travel expenses a second time…the same amount that would pay off your student loan. What would happen if other employees had their student loans erased too?

“The problem is that nobody talks about what they make. It’s shame disguised as humility. Screw that. I’m a thirty-two-year-old assistant and I make $30,000 a year.” -The Assistants

Fun. Easy. Great beach read, or an “I’m too tired to think” read, or a “how am I ever going to pay off these student loans” imaginative fun.

Year of Yes by Shondra Rhimes would be my 7th book for this list, but since I already wrote a separate post on it: Apparently I missed my calling…I didn’t know I could get paid for lying, I didn’t include it here.

So, what are you reading?

Need more suggestions? Check out my 5 favorite books of 2015.

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Need more suggestions? Here are my 5 favorite books of 2015.

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