Reading lists, rejoice, for the best books of 2016

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It seems like everyone is either looking back or looking ahead right now, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate my favorite books and movies from the last year. I highly recommend adding all of the following to your 2017 or winter reading list.

I owe all my favorite reads this year to one thing – the library. It’s like this novel (ha) concept where books are completely free!

But seriously, I can’t believe I waited so long to stop buying every single book and revisit my childhood love of the library. Now I get ebooks right on my Nook and audiobooks through the Overdrive phone app, then buy my favorites for a more permanent addition to my collection.

Best books of the year:

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  1. Trouble is a Friend of Mine, and Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly – Veronica Mars meets Where’d You Go Bernadette. Enough said.
  2. Legend series by Marie Lu – Everything you loved about Divergent story and the Hunger Games characters, but so SO much better. NOTE: Read the ebook versions. The print version has an incredibly annoying font treatment to differentiate the point of views.
  3. Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith – JK Rowling returns with the world-building detail of Harry Potter + the sarcastic investigating of Sherlock Holmes + the will-they-won’t-they of Suits’ Donna and Harvey. Worth the long read.
  4. The Duff by Kody Keplinger – After reading and then promptly rereading, I thought “I wish someone would make a movie of this While I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, too, it bears absolutely no resemblance to the book.
  5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – I tried to figure out the mystery and talked-about twist the whole time and was still completely surprised. Haunting.

Honorary mentions go to these light yet poignant “beach reads” about worthwhile complicated relationships:

Stay tuned for my “Best of” movies edition next week!

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A little book review or two

A few weeks ago I attended a Social Media Club of Dallas meeting in which a local content marketing expert Jerod Morris encouraged the audience to get out there and watch TV marathons, blog, and read. Generate ideas, get the creative juices flowing and be inspired. I took this to heart and made significant efforts to read more, this includes the design blogs I love so much, fashion bloggers to idolize, advertising and marketing articles and trying to keep up with day to day news and events (oh, I also treat myself to many a TV marathon on Netflix..for ya know, research purposes…). As a result, an amazing thing happened!

For us book nerds, there are few things greater than finding a story that you simply can’t put down. The kind that you read at traffic stops and make you consider canceling on happy hour for an even happier hour at home in bed turning the pages. They keep you up late and are quite time consuming, but you love them.

Well, I was fortunate enough to have two of those back to back. IT’S A MIRACLE.

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The first was Lit, a memoir by Mary Karr. The story line follows her starting as a post high school grad drifter to her struggles with alcoholism to her marriage to her first child and how she got (and continues to get) through all of it. The story line itself was great and took an unexpected turn into her struggles with faith (unexpected because I didn’t read what the book was about before I read it) and how it eventually pulls her out of a darkness. Mary Karr wields words like nobody’s business. A poet at heart, her sentences grab you. They are so powerful, so beautiful. My mom had recommended the book to me, and I would often call her and read a line and just be so taken back by its power. Okay, so that’s Lit. Read it.

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The next is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. A book recommended to me by a friend. She was so determined to get me to read it, she immediately mailed me her copy straight from NYC once she finished. Like Lit, I didn’t read what the book was about before I started. OH MY GOD. Sooo good!! There’s very little I can say about the book without giving anything away. But let’s just say the twists and turns are incredible and that this was definitely one I read at stoplights. It’s basically about a wife that goes missing and her husband is left to face the police and the public… that’s about all I can say. That was a super vague review, but just know that you’ll love it.

Now I am on to Looking for Alaska by John Green (yes, author of The Fault in Our Stars). A brief summary:

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

I started it just the other day and am loving it so far! What to read next though…

Read me..No really.

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I, Lydia, have a problem.

I have an addiction to buying books. I want all the books. More, I want more. Let me give you an example. As of my birthday I had 4 books in my pipeline. And then my office gave me a $20 giftcard to Amazon. So naturally I had to spend $25 to get the free shipping.. which means I bought two books. I now have SIX books to read. SIX. Now thank God I have a few trips coming up to knock a little reading out, but generally speaking I have a hard time reading for very long during the week without absolutely passing out. This means that I will likely be reading these books through December. This fact, however, will surely not deter me from continuing to purchase a book I want just as soon as I hear about it. Plus, Amazon makes it so easy to order a new book right away.

My defense is that buying a book is the best guilty pleasure there is. How mad can I logically be at myself for splurging on knowledge? Plus just look at how amazing these books are! Such a good mix of fun, educational, cultural and historical. The one I am reading now is the I Was Told There’d be Cake. It was a birthday present from fellow Tiffany’s blogger Sarah, and I’ve already laughed out loud a few times!

What’s up next?

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Mindy Kaling.

The Republic of Suffering Drew Gilpin Faust

How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age Dale Carnegie

Joseph Anton Salman Rushdie

The Favored Daughter Fawzia Koofi

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So anyhoo, this is my endless Summer reading list, mostly aggregated from watching too much of The Daily Show and from friendly recommendations. What’s next on your reading list?