(More) Favorite Books of 2016

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.

favorite books of 2016

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

HomegoingI 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

A Promise of FireOh 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

The Mothers by Brit BennettI 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

Certain Dark ThingsI’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

Another BrooklynJackie Woodson is just amazing. The complex relationships were so well-rendered. This hit my sweet spot as an adult book with major crossover appeal to a teen audience.


Rich and Pretty
by Rumaan Alam

Rich and Pretty by Rumaan AlamThis 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

They All Saw a CatThis 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?

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  • Loved Certain Dark Things. Just added A Promise of Fire to my list. Hearing great things about Homegoing, must get on reading that! 🙂 XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    • Ah so glad you loved Certain Dark Things! The Mexican twist on vampire lore was so awesome. Hope you like A Promise of Fire. It’s the only legit fantasy romance I’ve ever read, and I totally want more now!

  • I love seeing your lists. I liked but didn’t love The Mothers. I feel like I am the only one who felt sort of ho-hum about it.

    • I liked The Mothers more for the potential of a debut author rather than as a book itself. I thought it was good, but I think that Bennett will be great someday.