Merry, Merry Christmas!!! Favorite Books Read this Year!

Welp, I met my reading goal this year. I read 50 books; though nearly 30 made it a real struggle to post this list. “The cream rose to the top” only after I created a matrix to figure which book truly stood out.

― A major influence is the Redeeming Factor. Did the entire story, from page one to the end, gel?

Pacing majorly figures into a well composed story too. Engage me!

Premise is the third quality; a feature difficult to determine until the very end of the story. It’s easy to point out issues and problems, but I like seeing jigsaw puzzles not only come together, but form a coherent picture.

The Writing is the fourth integral piece. In addition to being able to write one error-free sentence, I’m also checking the story’s organization, a genuine voice, humor, insight, humility…

― …what largely figures into the fifth quality I scored―Originality. The story’s organization, genuine voice, humor, insight, humility is the book’s thumbprint, what makes the story unique. And you better believe it! Every book I’ve enjoyed, even those not on the list, share this feature.
― My overall reading experience is the sixth feature I also considered. The story had to make me feel better, both physically and mentally.

And so, there it is; the secret qualities that make a book "rise to the top." Out of a possible 60 points, only one book scored 60 points! Also, as a side note, only one author I personally met, and really, really like. Another author I heard of, but like the other authors on this list, I only connected with through their stories.


The Color of Water by James McBride harmonized and homogenized features of race, class and religion in an organized, concise and engaging style rare to come by. (Memoir)

Thou Shalt Not Steal by Bill ‘Ready’ Cash and Al Hunter Jr. is a personable story told by a baseball legend who played for the Negro Leagues, and written by a journalist who knows how to deliver a page-turner. (Memoir)

The Last Blind Date by Linda Yellin wasn’t dragging its feet. This is a humorous story about genuine friendships, and a lighthearted real romance all the way around. (Memoir)

Night by Elie Wiesel renders a piece of wisdom not easy to forget. (Memoir)

On Call in Hell by Cdr. Richard Jadick is a doctor’s Iraq war story drawn around realities of war. (Memoir)

Sweet Summer by Bebe Moore Campbell is a genuine, warm tribute to ‘her paraplegic daddy’ that as well pays homage to the significance and value of family, and strong male role models. (Memoir)

She Got Game by Cynthia Cooper really showed out. Coop's ‘un-abashing’ meaning of success through her rise to MVP (most valuable player) provided a refreshing meaning of she got game! (Memoir)

The Autobiography of an ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson, written in memoirish fashion, is the story of a young boy contemplating whether he wants to live his life as a black man or a white man.

The Lobster Chronicles by Linda Greenlaw is a lobster memoir; a very humorous, touching and passionate lobster memoir sailing off the coast of Maine. (Memoir)

Mayor for Life by Marion Barry is a WoW book. The depth of the personal success stories Mayor Barry created and championed, and the scope of the infrastructure he built around the Nation’s Capitol presents a notable story matched by few.  (Memoir)