My favorite books of 2016 are an eclectic mix, and I probably spent to much time thinking about which books I really wanted to feature here. This isn’t a best-of list, it’s my personal favorites. Just saying.
I said goodbye (and good riddance) to 2016 this weekend, and I’m back after some time off from blogging, when I intermittently thought about writing this over the course of oh, the last eight weeks. I just had to get this out there, and then I’m back and recommitted to hanging out on the internet again.
I’ve read about 125 books this year—but before you gasp at the number, it includes many graphic novels and picture books, so it’s by no means all full-length novels or works of nonfiction. And many of those books were titles that were published before 2016, and even some that aren’t coming out until 2017. While these represent my favorites of books that hit shelves this year, it’s by no means anything representative.
I’m also not repeating any from my mid-year list of favorites, but I stand by all of those choices!
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
I just love the structure of this novel, and it it weaves in stories from so many characters and across time. It’s short, but really packs a punch. Definitely a perfect book club book.
A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Oh my god, you guys, I need more fantasy romance in my life. Over the past year I’ve read so much historical romance, and really figured out what I like and when I’m in the mood for it. But I’d like to inject a bit more variety into my romance reading, so I’m open to exploring more outside stories in Victorian and Regency England.
Paranormal romance has not been a hit with me, though, and there’s just not very much true romance set in fantasy worlds, but I’m going to keep my eye out for more like A Promise of Fire.
I am so excited for the sequel, A Breath of Fire!
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
I read this and then reviewed the audiobook for Booklist, and I have to say it works in both formats.
It’s not a perfect novel, but it’s got a really interesting structure and an incredible voice, and I’ll definitely be interested in reading more from Bennett.
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
I’m a fan of (all different kinds) of vampires stories, but it was refreshing to read a suitably dark novel with excellent world-building. Moreno-Garcia weaves together Aztec mythology into her vampire lore, and situates the clans in the drug world of Mexico. There’s a cast of sympathetic and layered characters, and the writing is equally effortless even when describing gory action scenes and contemplative moments considering moral dilemmas. This is a new favorite.
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
This very slim science book rocked my world! I think I would have actually pursued a career in science had I read this book as a high schooler. This just reaffirmed my belief that good writing can make any subject compelling. The compact and elegant writing was a joy to read, and I felt like I actually understood these concepts. Highly recommended!
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam
This is a book you will either love or find unfathomably dull. (Obviously I loved it). There isn’t nearly enough fiction focused on the complicated female friendships, and this was so well done.
It’s an intimate portrayal of two women, which appeals to me, but there’s not a lot of plot but it’s also heavy on interiority, which doesn’t work for some readers.
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
This is the first time a picture book has ever made my favorite list, but seriously, I have almost bought this for myself several times (especially when I saw it at Wonder Fair when I was back visiting Lawrence).
It’s so simple but so clever, with gorgeous illustrations. Plus, what a perfect prompt to start a discussion on perspective.
For more of my favorite picture books of 2016, check out my guest post on my friend Shea’s blog.
2016 was an interesting reading year for me. My tastes and interests evolved, and I hope they continue to do so. I’m going to push myself to read harder again.
Do you have a favorite book of 2016? What are your reading goals for the new year?