2016 was a pretty challenging year for me personally, as it was for many others, but it was an absolute stand out for my reading life. I discovered Litsy, signed up to Netgalley and started this blog (yay!) and I’m really grateful to have met such lovely people from the bookish blogging community. I also smashed my original goal of 50 books for the year and read 200.
Here are some of the best books I read in 2016. (Just noting that “best” doesn’t equal “favourite”.)
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent brought me back to Australian literature. It is beautifully written, atmospheric heart breaking and all sorts of fucked up. It’s absolutely stunning and I’m so glad I picked it up.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates talks frankly and heart-breakingly (are you sensing a theme?) about what it is to be black in a white world. It is raw, honest and so very sad. I wish society would learn more from books like this.
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe both broke my heart and mad me absolutely mad. Pascoe looks at the evidence to show that Aboriginal culture was much more advanced and no where near as nomadic as I was taught in school. I would love to get copies of this and hand it out to people. You should read this immediately, especially if you’re Australian.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is an amazing and ambitious debut novel about slavery tearing a family apart in Africa and following the paths of their descendants through their harrowing journeys.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is my best author “find” of 2016. These two pieces are stunning and I can only imagine her other works are just as good.
Colson Whitehead is my other authorial “find”. Zone One is the most amazing zombie book I’ve ever read, with an ending that will leave you screaming “No!!” at the flyleaf. And I think enough people have talked about the Underground Railroad without me needing to add anything.
Shrill by Lindy West is smart, funny, irreverent and unflinchingly honest. I’ll have my my feminism and body politics with an extra shot of sass please.
I’ve been reading other China Mieville books in the hope that any of them are like this one. I wish all noir could be written like this.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern prompted me to start devouring fiction again. I had been looking in all the wrong places, and it had been a long time since I had found something of this quality.
And I couldn’t complete this post without these guys.
Gemina – Kaufman and Kristoff continue to deliver stylistic excellence in the second volume of the Illuminae files. I just love the way this book is presented.
Nevernight – YA will never be the same.
Becky Chambers and the Wayfarer series – I think I’ve said in a previous post that this is just how I like my sci-fi – lots of character development with some explosions for good measure. I don’t think Chambers has gotten enough recognition for just how great these books are.
I did read a lot more great books during 2016, but I had better stop there.
I can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring!