My Favorite Books of 2016

Sale PSA: A gorgeous classic long cashmere cardigan from Tomas Maier (who I’ve found has excellent cashmere), now 70% off, a rib knit fit and flare dress from Victoria Beckham in both black and white options, now 60% off, an asymmetrical ribbed wool merino midi skirt from Alexander Wang, now just $142, and a lovely graphic printed black/white slip dress from DVF (so pretty when it moves), now just $180.

I hope you all are having a wonderful season. For my final post of the year, I wanted to share some of my favorite books that I read in 2016. I try to share as many of the books I read as possible on this blog, though I do try and weed out the ones I truly dislike. These books were the tops of the year though…the ones that when I put them down, I just had that “wow” moment of true satisfaction.

Also please note that this shouldn’t be taken as a list of my favorite books which were released in 2016 (you can find some great recommendations for that here, via NPR)

Red Sparrow. I love a well written thriller which keeps me up at night and where the plot doesn’t make me roll my eyes (too much). Red Sparrow is not only all of this, but also manages to be incredibly informative and interesting with all sorts of insights into various aspects of spy craft. The author himself, Jason Matthews, worked for the CIA for more than three decades, which makes it all the more interesting. Red Sparrow is part of a trilogy, and all three are quite good.

When Breath Becomes Air. I know you’ve seen this around everywhere – recommended lists, bookshops, etc. In my opinion, absolutely worth the hype. I’ve re-read this a few times and it has one of the most touching final paragraphs I have ever come across.

The Glass Castle. A book which has been around for decades which I only got around to reading this year. I can’t remember the last time I found a memoir so fascinating and beautifully written. I read this recently after finishing Hillbilly Elegy and in many ways, I found both to be remarkably insightful into areas of my own country I had been incredibly ignorant and judgmental about.

PinesI think I just recommended this – a great well written thriller for anyone looking to escape for a few hours. The entire trilogy is worth reading but Pines is the best.

DisruptedHilarious and fascinating and educational. By a writer on Silicon Valley, about what happens when he joins a startup. Quite a few laugh out loud moments.

An Inconvenient Woman. I’ve read a few more from Dominick Dunne since then and this is still my favorite. Starts off a little slow but quickly builds up. Even more fascinating when you know it’s based on a real story (Alfred Bloomingdale scandal). One of those books which have kind of been forgotten over time…it deserves to be brought back out!

Honorable mentions: The Expatriates, Chaos Monkeys, The Diana Chronicles, Red Notice and I’m sure there are more.

I hope some of you enjoy the selections on this list…some of these were recommendations from you, and I remain thankful for all of you taking the time to share your own thoughts and recommendations for reading. If you have any favorite books of 2016 you read that you’d like to share, please do! I’d love to hear them.

I wish you all a wonderful remainder of your 2016! See you next year!

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  • Anonymous
    December 28, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Hello Kat,

    I remember that you posted about the Theory wool/cashmere coat a few posts back. Did you end up getting it? IT is now marked now.

  • Anonymous
    December 28, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    I mean, “marked down.” Most of the colors including the Camel color you featured went on sale.

  • Elizabeth Brooks
    December 29, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Hi Kat! Happy holidays and wishing you a fantastic beginning to 2017.
    Love your book choices, many of which I;d read (shocker) – gad to know Jason Matthews finally wrote a third novel as I loved the first two of that trilogy. Good spy fare is hard to come by. On that note, I discovered Stella Rimington for the first time on a long trip last month. The books aren’t mindblowing but they are very good and having been the first woman to RUN MI5 (!)…she knows her stuff, which is always fascinating, and the (female) lead MI5 character is interestingly complex. I made it through all nine books!
    I also read “Autobiography of a Yogi”, which of course is a golden oldie from the original counterculture that somehow I had never read. It’s lovely and quite inspiring if you have any interest in Eastern, particularly Indian, spirituality and/or the deeper meaning of yoga.

    I’m currently reading “The North Water”, which is absolutely gorgeously written although very graphically violent in places. Also reading “Dark Money”, which is completely fascinating. Both are newish releases and top recommendations of the year.

    Surprisingly as a techie I haven’t yet read “Disrupted”, but clearly I must!


  • Melissa
    December 30, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Kat,
    Thanks for the book list. I love that you are such an avid reader. My goal was one book per month but it’s getting harder to keep it up. How do you maintain a regular job, blog, and read so much?

  • Anna
    December 30, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks for the book recommendations! Would definitely check each one out! I recently finished a few of Diane Moriaty’s – love Big Little Lies! Now that holiday is coming to an end, my only hope is that I will find time for reading!


  • Hui
    December 31, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Thank you, Katherine, for the list! I will certainly read some of them! I admire your still trying to read while having a young child. I have two boys of low age and all I want to do at the end of the day is scrolling down my Instagram mindlessly. Such a shame!

  • P
    January 4, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Happy New Year! I just wanted to thank you for these book recommendations (I very much enjoyed the Glass Castle) as well as for your Japan reviews! My husband and I are on our honeymoon in Japan and we stayed at the Shiraume Ryokan in Kyoto based on your recommendation. We loved it! I just realized that your original post on it was back from 2012 — so great it’s still helping people years later 🙂

    • Katherine
      January 4, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      Hi Peggy! I’m so happy you enjoyed Shiraume! I keep meaning to go back (the last time I was in Japan it was being renovated at that exact time). I hope to do an update soon!

  • irina
    January 9, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Hi there! THank you, as always, for the list:) Are you on goodreads by any chance? My resolution for this year is 2 books a month, we shall see.. So far accomplished a graphic novel, and a kids book 149 pages long:)