Books I Read in 2016 Just some of the books that kept me busy in 2016: (Click on the book cover for a full review.) There was Romeo and Juliet. There was Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Then there was Ifemelu and Obinze of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. I first heard about The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez thanks to Buzzfeed. When I found the book on the shelf of my local Barnes & Noble, I knew I had to scoop it up, and I did. As the daughter of immigrants, I’ve always been drawn to stories like mine because I feel like there wasn’t a great, popular representation of them as I was growing up and falling in love with reading. When I purchased the novel, I roughly knew what I was getting into but after having finished the book, it’s clear I wasn’t at all prepared with what was hidden within the pages. I’m on a bit of a memoir kick lately so when I was presented with the opportunity to read Dave Holmes’s Party of One, I jumped at the chance. I know Holmes from his work on MTV and his Reno 911 stint. If you’re far more in tune with the world than I am, you may know his work on Esquire.com or on the Podcast circuit (is there a Podcast circuit?). Without knowing much more about him than his resume, I was excited to find out how he got where he did and why. Paper Towns by John Green is one of those books that has been sitting on my “To Be Read” shelf for ages. Every time I was ready to reach for my next book, I always eyed it but there was always a reason I couldn’t pick it up: “I have to review ______ first” or “I haven’t ready any non-fiction in a while” but most recently: “HARRY POTTER!” The time finally came to crack the spine on yet another Green novel (ok, so I’ve only read one other book of his). My expectations were set high, folks. When I posted my latest read on social media, I received a huge response. Everyone told me how much they loved it. The characters from the original series feel like that friend you haven’t seen in a long time. Each of you is different but the ghost of what was is still there and powerful. The new characters are a treat. Some are likeable, some aren’t, and some surprise the socks off you (at which point, hand them over to a house elf). It’s not like I never heard about the book. From what I understand, it’s a classic, but beyond that I was in the dark. Written in 1966, Valley of the Dolls is told from the point of view of three different women: Anne, Neely, and Jennifer all of whom eventually have a relationship with prescription pills…or “dolls” as they so lovingly refer to them. The story takes place over the course of twenty years. The reader is taken along for a ride of love and loss and careers and…life. “For the Depressos” is how the reader is greeted within the first couple of pages of Jaqueline Novak’s memoir, How to Weep in Public. Right away, we’re told that her book isn’t meant to help us get better and she’s not going to advise us to seek help. Instead, this tongue-in-cheek walk through depression encourages people who suffer from depression to embrace it; not only embrace it but to own it from the womb all the way through feeling like you might have a handle on the disease. Novak is constantly reminding us to give in to the side effects of depression while also causing us to laugh in public. When I was given Stephanie Danler’s debut novel Sweetbitter, I was intrigued by how it was described to me, “Kitchen Confidential meets The Devil Wears Prada.” I didn’t read anything beyond that because I wanted to formulate my own opinions about this raved about work, the author, and our heroine. Would it live up to the hype?