In keeping with last year’s tradition, the last post of 2016 will my top 5 favorite books of the year.
The Millionaire Next Door
My favorite book of the year has to be The Millionaire Next Door. The book is based on interviews with 500+ millionaires, national surveys and focus groups to better understand millionaires. The surveys were conducted between 1982 and 1996 so the data is somewhat old but I think the findings in the book are still applicable today. The main takeaway from this book is that looks can be deceiving – a lawyer driving a 7-series BMW, living in an affluent neighborhood and wearing Armani suit may not be wealthy while a plumber driving an old Buick and living in an average home can be a millionaire.
It is also interesting that 80% of America’s millionaires are first-generation rich and majority of them are not celebrities, athletics, or lottery winners. Majority of the millionaires are wealthy because they live below their means and they are avid savers. If you want to know if you are saving enough, the book provided a convenient formula:
Overall the book made me more conscious – I need to work on spending less and saving more!
Gone with the Wind
I don’t know how I’ve gone so long without reading this book – but now that I have, Gone with the Wind is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s hard to pinpoint what I love the most about the book – the story line, the characters, or the writing that makes you yearn for the Old South. The fight to prevent southern states from secession / freeing the slaves were definitely worthy causes; but as a reader, I couldn’t help feel sad for the lost of a culture and a way of life that Margaret Mitchell beautifully described in the book.
Of course there was the love story between Scarlett, Ashley and Rhett but my favorite is the friendship between Scarlett and Melanie; the friendship that helped the two incredible women through the toughest times. I also really admire Scarlett’s ability to overcome social expectations of what is acceptable and do what she wants – be a businesswoman so she can earn money and never be hungry again. Although some of Scarlett’s practices are questionable – I loved her independence, resourcefulness and determination.
East of Eden
Another great classic that I’m glad I finally read this year. The book focuses on the two families: Trasks and Hamiltons. Although at times the book rambles, the story and characters are fascinating. I love how well each character is developed. The Trasks: Charles, Adam, Caleb and Aron Trask; the Hamiltons: Samuel, Liza, and their nine children; Lee, the housekeeper and Cathy. To me, Cathy’s story line was the most intriguing and bizarre. It’s like she is possessed by a demon and is devoid of all human emotions. Yet, even though you know she is evil, you are still interested in her story – you still want to figure out a puzzle that has no solution.
Overall, the whole book is about good vs. evil and is basically a story about Cain and Abel and timshel – “thou mayest”, the idea that people have to choice their own moral path.
The Book Thief
This book is about Liesel, a girl living in Germany during WWII. On her way to her foster family, Liesel stole her first book, The Gravediggers Handbook. The Book Thief fell in love with words, with reading, with books. The book is a page-turner not in a suspense / must-know-what-happens-next but rather because it is beautifully written and the story line is heart-felt. You care about the characters and are genuinely curious and hopefully that nothing bad will happen.
My favorite part of the book is the love between Hans and Liesel – it is so beautiful. Hans is Liesel’s foster father – Hans holds Liesel when she is having nightmares and reads with her into the early morning. They know each other so well that spoken words are not necessary. Liesel had no one in the world until Hans came along and made her understand what it’s like to be loved by a father. My second favorite part of the book is that it is narrated by Death, which is interesting. Death in this book is not formidable, frightening or cold, instead it is humorous, curious, and a hard worker. Lastly, the definitions, explanations, drawings and lists throughout the book are a good change to the way information was delivered. This book has also been adopted into a movie and I can’t wait to see it!
Everything We Keep
Any book with “many unexpected twists” as its description is an automatic contender for me because I loved Gone Girl – the queen of unexpected twists. Although the book didn’t have as many unexpected twists as Gone Girl, I couldn’t put it down and stayed up really late reading the book.
The main character, Aimee, had her life all planned out and a big part of her life was marrying her childhood sweetheart James. However, a few months before the wedding, James disappears in a boating accident and was proclaimed dead. The book then goes through Aimee’s healing process and the quest to find out what happened to James on his trip.
Thank you for reading and please share any great books you’ve read that you think I should add to my list for 2017!