Jessi Cape's Top Reads of 2016
Top Books to Inspire Hope Amidst Change
Memoirs of activism and tales of suspense helped ground this reader during a roller-coaster year
Reviewed by Jessi Cape, Fri., Dec. 30, 2016
Rife with change, 2016 has been a doozy, so we've resorted to simply being grateful for the fundamentals: health, loved ones, and books. Snuggling up with a good read seems critical to surviving the recent emotional roller coasters. Trying to rationalize America's current state of politics leads to a scrambled-egg brain floating in a pool of despair, but focusing on the efforts of successful activists is somewhat of a salve. Congressman John Lewis released the conclusion to his graphic novel trilogy to much acclaim. March: Book Three (Top Shelf) reassures us: Peaceful civil disobedience works. Another American political icon – whose name is almost synonymous with the fight for women's rights – Gloria Steinem, released the paperback edition of her memoir, My Life on the Road (Random House), with a bonus chapter, "Secrets." Gleaning protesting pro-tips from her wild and poignant recollections is a feisty morale boost. Local screenwriting consultant Jill Chamberlain compiled her golden nuggets of instruction into a book, The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting (UT Press). It's a go-to guide for anyone with a story to write. Dallas native Melissa Lenhardt released The Fisher King (Skyhorse), a follow-up to her 2015 Stillwater. This second Jack McBride novel picks up six weeks after the series opener left readers wondering about the state of murderous affairs in small-town Texas. The Year of the Monkey's standout fiction novel is local writer Amy Gentry's fantastic debut, Good as Gone: A Novel of Suspense (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Immediately ushered into the ranks of such explosive hits as Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, this psychological thriller is loosely based on the Elizabeth Smart story, but it goes delightfully turbulent in a hurry. Gentry's sensitivity to sexual assault victims' stories paired with a uniquely mapped plot makes this a story you'll latch on to for quite some time.