I can’t exactly describe when it happened, but at some point in the past 12 months, books sort of became my life blood. I’ve loved reading as long as I can remember. There was the first story, Dick and Jane, that I read in preschool, and I firmly remember my mom telling my kindergarten teacher that I’d already finished multiple books halfway through the school year. My teacher was ecstatic upon hearing this news, and even though I was proud of the triumph they exuded, I didn’t think it was all that exciting. Reading was a part of my life. It was that simple.
Next came Little Golden Books, which I devoured, and then I had my “Ah ha!” moment with Harry Potter. (I don’t think I need to explain this. I mean, I was the kid who played Harry Potter at recess and fought with her brother about who got to read the newest book first and what the reading increments were.)
From there I discovered the 50 state books that my elementary school library owned. Around this same time I also read nearly every Bailey School Kids book (any and all fans HAVE to check out this list), and all of this resulted in me completing more book reports than any other child in Mrs. Wrigley’s third grade class. Children’s fiction shortly gave way to my Nicholas Sparks phase. This preceded an intense fascination with chick lit, which still exists by the way, and Emily Giffin, my favorite author. And during my college days, I discovered my love for historical fiction, still my favorite genre.
So I guess you could say reading has always been my passion, and books have served me a creative outlet I never knew I needed. But something about the past 12 months has turned my hobby into my obsession. Subway delays became a treat because that meant more time to read. Being stranded at airports or on buses wasn’t so bad; I had my characters to keep me company. I no longer cared that my boyfriend slept in later than I did; that just meant I could utilize my “reading nook” in our new apartment. Suddenly I was talking about books at any opportunity. My excitement over book club amped up. I was texting and Gchatting friends about what I was reading and probing them for recommendations. I started scouring New York magazine and all of the “Best of 2016” lists to add to mine. I can’t even say the reason was that 2016 blew up the reading scene, even though it totally did, because I’ve been reading from every decade.
Regardless, my new-found obsession prompted the creation of Big Little Literature, and I feel it’s only proper to share the books I’ve read in the past year. Don’t get me wrong: a few titles have failed to rock my world, but for now, I’ll only include my favorites. Hopefully they’ll spur some obsessive actions in you too.
- First Comes Love by Emily Giffin (2016)
- Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney (1984)
- The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki (2015)
- The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (2003)
- Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (ALL-TIME FAVORITE; 2016)
- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (2016)
- Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (2014)
- Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (2012)
- Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (2016)
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
- The Mothers by Brit Bennett (2016)
- The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang (2016)
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)
- The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (2016)
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (2016)
- Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty (2016)