Looking for some amazing books to read in 2016?
Me, too. I keep a running wishlist of books I want to read someday, and when I heard about the Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge, I decided to kick it up a notch. To enhance my existing list, I reached out to some of my favorite working moms and bookworms, whom I knew would not steer me wrong. The following fab ladies suggested some of the titles you’ll see on my Books to Read in 2016 list:
- Lauren Berger, Working Mom Magic
- Julia Chick, my Ahalogy colleague who is not a working mom but definitely has good taste in books
- Katy Clark, Experienced Bad Mom
- Jacqueline Fisch, WMAG contributor and JacquelineFisch.com
- Monica Froese, WMAG contributor and Redefining Mom
- Amanda Kramer, Washington College/Miller Library
- Umeda Islamova, WMAG contributor
- Diana Limongi, LadydeeLG
- Emily Seamone, Women, Work, and Life
- Cherylanne Skolnicki, Let Your Life Shine
- Benita Staples, WMAG contributor
- Barbara Wenner, my (now-retired English professor) mom and personal book concierge
I divided my list into three categories: Work (career, entrepreneurship, professional development, leadership, etc.); Love (relationships, parenting, marriage, etc.); and Play (humor, escape, literary fiction, hobby, etc.) If you click on any of the affiliate links below and buy the book through Amazon, you’ll be helping support WMAG. So read up, people! I need your help to support my book-lovin’ habit.
Books to read in 2016: Work
Because books are way cheaper than grad school and fancy certification courses. You can read these titles in 2016 to give your professional life (and maybe even paycheck?) a healthy boost.
- Difference Works: Improving Retention, Productivity and Profitability through Inclusion by Caroline Turner: Presents the compelling business case for creating inclusive workplace cultures and provides tools for creating a workplace where women as well as men feel valued and included—and so want to stay and contribute to extraordinary outcomes.
- Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives by Howard J. Ross: Incorporating anecdotes from today’s headlines alongside case studies from over 30 years as a nationally prominent diversity consultant, Ross helps readers understand how unconscious bias impacts our day-to-day lives and particularly our daily work lives. And, he answers the question: “Is there anything we can do about it?”
- Good to Great by Jim Collins: What separates companies with good performance from those who become truly great? Based on a five-year study of top companies, this modern classic of business books reveals unique characteristics that cause a company to rise above the rest and sustain great results.
- I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam: Everyone has an opinion, anecdote, or horror story about women and work. Now the acclaimed author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (and working mom of three young children) shows how real working women with families are actually making the most of their time.
- It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff: A fascinating tale of top-down change for anyone trying to navigate today’s uncertain business seas, written by the former commander of the USS Benfold.
- Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth by Mika Brzezinski: From the rising star of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and New York Times bestselling author comes a timely and powerful look at women’s value in the workplace.
- Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr: Real, practical tools to help women quiet self-doubt, identify their callings, “unhook” from praise and criticism, unlearn counterproductive good girl habits, and begin taking bold action.
- The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work by Christine Carter: Not long ago, Carter—a happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and a speaker, writer, and mother—found herself exasperated by the busyness of modern life. In her book, she shares the combination of practices that transformed her life from overwhelmed and exhausting to joyful, relaxed, and productive.
Books to read in 2016: Love
What’s love got to do with it? Well, it depends. You might get inspired in the Love Department by embracing some of these titles, whether it’s to love yourself, your kids, or your partner better in 2016.
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary D Chapman: Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge! How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life? This proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner.
- The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Dr. Shefali Tsabary: A parenting guide that shifts the traditional parent-to-child “know it all” approach to a mutual parent-with-child relationship in which the parent learns alongside the child.
- How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough: Why do some children succeed while others fail? This book argues the qualities that matter most as children grow up have more to do with character than intelligence: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control.
- Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel: One of the world’s most respected voices on erotic intelligence, Esther Perel offers a bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home.
- The Noticer by Andy Andrews: A unique narrative blend of fiction, allegory, and inspiration in which gifted storyteller Andy Andrews helps us see how becoming a “noticer” just might change a person’s life forever.
- Parenting with Purpose: How to Raise Well-Behaved Children and Build a Strong Parent-Child Relationship by Nina V. Garcia: In this practical, eye-opening and action-oriented book, Nina Garcia (founder of the blog Sleeping Should Be Easy) explains how to use connection to raise well-behaved kids and strengthen your parent-child relationship.
- The Self-Care Solution: A Modern Mother’s Essential Guide to Health and Well-Being by Julie Burton: Combining the thoughtful and expert narrative of a veteran mom of four children with the voices of hundreds of moms she surveyed, this book is going to offer insightful answers to poignant questions about how mothers take care of themselves, their relationships, and their jobs while raising their children?and how they don’t. This book won’t be out until May, but you can pre-order it now (I can’t wait!)
- The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances E. Jensen with Amy Ellis Nutt: Motivated by her personal experience of parenting two teenage boys, a renowned neurologist gathers what we’ve discovered about adolescent brain functioning, wiring, and capacity. She explains how these findings not only dispel commonly held myths about the teenage years, but also yield practical suggestions to help adults and teenagers negotiate the mysterious world of adolescent neurobiology.
- Unfussy Mom: Simplifying Your Life, Staying [Mostly] Sane and Working Like a Boss by Jacqueline Fisch: This is my kind of “how to” book: how to do the work you love, without pissing off the people you love; how to get uber-organized as a working mom so your husband, your kids and your boss love you; and how to feel unapologetically happy to do the work you love. Yessss!
Books to read in 2016: Play
Perhaps the best reason to read books? For fun, of course. Sometimes, I just want to escape my everyday life, broaden my horizons, or have a few laughs. I’m looking forward to lots of good times reading these books in 2016:
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: This World War II novel moves from a blind French girl’s perspective to that of a young German soldier.
- Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman: A beautifully written collection of short stories about isolation in the city.
- Burial Rites by Hannah Kent: A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
- A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra: A novel set in Cold War Chechnya about the transcendent power of love in wartime.
- Euphoria by Lily King: A Margaret Mead-like protagonist works in the field of anthropology with her husband and lover in New Guinea.
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives. Compulsively readable and emotionally immersive—I literally read it in one day after work, and stayed up way too late to finish it.
- Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline: An unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past.
- The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones: A comedy of manners set in a small town in Wales in 1924.
- Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar: A novelized version of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell’s Bloomsbury life, starting in 1904 and spanning six years.
- Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back by Janice P. Nimura: In 1871, five young girls were sent by the Japanese government to the United States to learn Western ways and return to help nurture a new generation of enlightened men to lead Japan. Ten years later, they returned to Japan—a land grown foreign to them—determined to revolutionize women’s education.
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo: This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from a Japanese cleaning consultant takes readers step-by-step through the revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander: Directly challenges the notion that race no longer matters. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”
- Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by How a flight from conversation undermines our relationships, creativity, and productivity—and why reclaiming face-to-face conversation can help us regain lost ground.
- Bossypants by Tina Fey: From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on “Saturday Night Live”; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy. She is my working mom spirit animal.
- Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (and Then I Had Kids!) by Alexa Bigwarfe and Kerry Rivera: A collection of essays by mothers (and one brave dad!) who share their stories of how they evolved as parents and learned that when it comes to raising children, we can never say never.
- Pour Me Some Wine: A Toast To the Mama Sisterhood! by Leah Speer and Katrina Epp: An emotional journey of the modern mom, along with clever suggestions of the perfect wine to pair with each specific mood we all encounter on a daily basis.
- The Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler: These ladies happen to be my friends, so I’m totally biased. But this book is sooo funny and easy to read in short stints (which is about all you have time for when kids are around). Also makes a great gift to new and expecting parents!
What’s on your personal Books to Read in 2016 list? Please share below—I’m always open to more book recommendations!