For the Bookworms: Books of 2016

Back in my tumblr days, I used to collate the books I read every year (here’s 2013 and 2012). In 2015 I moved everything to Trello. While it’s visually better, it isn’t able to give a yearly overview of the books.

(Update: I talk about this process here.)

So today, I’ll write about the books I read (finished?) this 2016, along with a snippet of why I’d recommend each. Hopefully you find something here to add as a last-minute sock-stuffer for that bookworm in your life.


Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles – This children’s fantasy series is for the mori girls and boys out there. Grounded by beautiful art in gouache, I confess I bought the book primarily for the illustrations. Get this if you love simple stories, forest themes, and beautiful artwork.

The Fountainhead – It’s impossible to pick up a book by Ayn Rand and not rethink your values. If you want a book that will make you think, get this one. Fair warning: At 700 pages, it’s not for light reading.

Nemesis – My first Asimov. For the classic sci-fi readers out there.

Every Day – I read this part to fulfill a reading challenge, part curiosity to why it’s a hit. I’d recommend this for people who focus on the plot over writing, or even John Green fans.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – Growing up in a strict household with an overbearing mother, this was one book I could relate to. If you’re from a similar family background, or curious about what the other side is like, I highly recommend this.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things – A book that’s thematically part of the fantasy Kingkiller Chronicles, but not necessarily part of the series. The book is written from the perspective of Auri, the series’ most mysterious character. Auri gives us a tour to the whimsical world below The University (where most of the series takes place). I’d recommend reading the series first, and only read this is you find yourself wanting more.

The ABCs of Hand Lettering – Do not be misguided by the name. This is not a guide on how to hand letter. The “ABCs” part of the title is merely a play on the author’s name (Abbey Sy). The book is a compilation of some of her best hand-lettering work, along with inspiration from other hand letterers.

Creative Lettering and Beyond – Pretty inspiration and light exercises on lettering. What this book does well is provide an overview on different kinds of lettering: hand-lettering, calligraphy, and even writing in chalk.

After Eden – A graphic novel which had gone viral in my childhood but, as usual, I was clueless. A friend thus insisted I read this revised version. It’s a typical love story which would appeal to a younger audience, or fans of the original who want to read the author’s re-take of one of his earlier works.

The Man Who Was Thursday – Read because Neil Gaiman compared Chesterton’s writing to “an artist painting with words”. I’d say its very illustrative and rich in detail. Read this to get an idea of Chesterton’s style, then compare to other writers such as Hemingway. The book is available on Project Gutenberg (FREE!).

Getting Your First Data Science Job – I’ve talked about this book in my Getting Started with Data Science post, but I’ll say it again: If you can only read one introduction book to Data Science, make it this one. It’s one of the best overview books I’ve read in a while. Again, free.

The Sketchnote Handbook – A good reference for anyone interested in sketchnoting, i.e., taking visual notes.

A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging – I had started following Sacha because of her sketchnotes, but kept following because of her blogging tips. This book is a compilation of those tips. In the book she goes over some common excuses people give when they fail to blog, then gives recommendations on how to overcome them. It was my primary reference when I started this blog.

Stumbling on Happiness – A book which explores the science of happiness–what makes people happy, and why is it so hard to achieve. Do not misinterpret: This is not a how-to book. What it offers is sound research on the subject of happiness. Insight is up to you.


And that’s it. I usually stick to nonfiction and fantasy genres, but this year I was doing a reading challenge for Fully Booked which made me cross over and try a few books I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

Over Christmas I plan to wrap up Dataclysm and Storytelling with Data, so I might need to add a couple of books to this list by year end.

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