Organising Queen’s best books of 2016

2016’s not over yet but unless something radically changes, these were my top books:


Stories I only tell my friends – Rob Lowe

I listened to the audible version of this book and I recommend you get that version because he narrates his own book and does all the different impersonations too. Even just for that alone, it’s a great listen. But he’s actually a really good writer too, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the listening time.

Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money – Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

I wrote a bit about the book here but I can say this – if you have a child and you want said child to have a good relationship with money, just get the book. You won’t be sorry. Matter of fact, I think many adults need to hear/ listen to many of these truths.

I listened to the book on audible, but it would be just as easy to read a paper or Kindle copy.


When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

This book won Goodreads’ 2016 choice award in the memoir/ autobiography category with good reason.

It is a beautifully written account of a journey through a lung cancer diagnosis and ultimately death, and I enjoyed listening to it. For Cup of Jo fans, the author was her twin sister’s late husband.

I think everyone should read or listen to this book. Treat yourself 🙂

And then some fiction

I really enjoyed these ones by authors you may not know (I didn’t know most of them) but give them a chance. You can always download the Kindle sample and see if you like the writing first.

The Marriage Mender – Linda Green

While my eyes were closed – Linda Green (this one is only $2 on Kindle)

Tomorrow there will be apricots – Jessica Soffer

The week I ruined my life – Caroline Grace-Kennedy (unputdownable)

Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty. I’m starting a bookclub in Johannesburg next year – first meeting end of January – and this is our first book.

For those who are budget-conscious (like I am!), I get my books 3 ways:

  1. Audible membership which I put on pause for three months a year to catch up.
  2. Kindle (but my rule still applies – it has to be under $10. I do put books on my wish list and Amazon lets me know when they go on sale)
  3. Library – a little-known fact for South Africans…. take a list of all the titles you want to read to your nearest library and ask the librarian to check if they are in circulation. You then reserve them and pay only R12 (for my municipality) when they arrive. I’d got lazy to take a list of books but I did so this weekend and reserved two. The minute the current lenders return them, they’re flagged on the system and will be dispatched to my local branch.

What were your favourite reads in 2016?

Share in the comments!

PS I posted the Rob Lowe book on Instagram and I’m so grateful to a commenter for telling me to get Andre Agassi’s one too. I’d had it on my wish list forever but wasn’t sure. Her recommendation pushed me over the edge 🙂 So please please do feel free to tell me your favourites.

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  1. Great post. Although I I am nowhere close to reaching my Goodreads goal this year, I did read some really awesome books which I loved. Some of my top books this year were Nantucket Sisters,Things I want you to know,Between Shades of Gray, Room, Home Front, The Rice Mother,Wave and of course Big Little Lies. I have saved the book you bought me, The Husband’s secret and Girl on the Train to read on holiday. I am also looking to get a nice Christmasy book to start reading today. Thanks for your recommendations. I am going to buy While my eyes were closed, as it sounds like something I will really enjoy. Can’t wait for our first bookclub meeting!

    • Terisha, let’s set up that first date so people who want to join can read the book! I’ll email you.

      I think you should give yourself some grace – you had a tough year with lots of changes. This year will be better 😉

  2. Oh Marcia we find joy in such different books, so let me know when you’re ready to try fantasy so we can chat 🙂

  3. I had to cancel audible. I just couldn’t keep up, especially because I love so many podcasts. I do get an audio book from the library every so often.

    Enjoyed seeing your picks!

    • Nina, funny you should say that because both years I put my account on hiatus (3 months’ break) to catch up and then just before Christmas, I put myself on a limited membership so I don’t lose my books but still have access to member deals. I can also reinstate the membership anytime, so there’s that. I still have 2 credits to use but about 2-3 books waiting to listen 🙂

      But audible books did contribute 14 of my non-fiction reads this year which is considerable!

  4. I love your photos featuring reading and eating! And I loved When Breath Becomes Air. Your blog layout is lovely. Happy reading in 2017!

  5. When Breath Becomes Air is a powerful look at a diagnosis of stage IV lung cancer through the eyes of a neurosurgeon. When Paul Kalanithi receives his diagnosis, he is forced to see this disease and the process of getting sick, as a patient rather than a doctor: the result of his experience is not just a look at what life is and how a scientific perspective works, but the ins and outs of what makes life matter. This heartbreaking book will capture you from page one and still have you thinking long after the closing sentence.

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