My favorite books of 2016

My favorite books of 2016

2016 was a great year for reading. (And I’m not just saying that—it was much better for me than 2015!) Sure, I’ve had dry spells, and I read a lot of not-great books. But I also read a ton of terrific titles this year.

Today I’m sharing the best-of-the-best: the handful of truly exceptional titles that earned a spot at the top of my list.

(Because these were my absolute favorite books of the year, it’s no surprise that I talked about 5 of the 7 on What Should I Read Next. I’ve included links to the exact spot in the episode where I discussed each title. Click to listen.)

First up: fiction.

Series: My favorite books of 2016: Fiction
Everyone Brave is Forgiven

Everyone Brave is Forgiven

Author:
I knew I had to read this when my husband (who beat me to it) couldn't stop sharing Cleave's well-turned sentences aloud, and even many months later, I still think about this book all the time. There have been so many WWII novels of late; this tale of four young, warm, wise-cracking friends in wartime England is a standout. Cleave's writing perfectly matches the story, and it all feels so real—maybe because Cleave based his novel on his own grandparents' experiences, or because he put himself on war rations while writing to better experience London during the Blitz? There's a sequel on the way (working title: Everything Sad Is Forgotten), and however long I have to wait, it will be worth it. Listen to me describe this book on What Should I Read Next (Episode 32). More info →
Before We Visit the Goddess

Before We Visit the Goddess

I LOVED this book (and so did many of you—it was one of the most popular books on the blog this summer). This novel in stories was nothing at all what I expected. The novel tracks three generations of Indian women and their fraught relationships. The title comes from a chance encounter one of these women has with a stranger, which is fitting because my favorite parts of the story deal with the small moments that change the course of a person's life, and the unlikely friendships that do the same. This is a wonderful, beautiful, and sad book, and I've been recommending it like crazy since I read it. Listen to me describe this book on What Should I Read Next (Episode 48). More info →
The One-in-a-Million Boy

The One-in-a-Million Boy

Author:
An unexpected delight (although that doesn't mean no Kleenex was involved). I NEVER would have read this if a trusted bookseller hadn't pressed it into my hands and said READ IT: the plot summary would have made me put it right down. But it's one of my favorites of the year. I went into this novel knowing nothing and I liked it that way, so I'll just say Wood explores themes of love, loss, and identity through a quirky 11-year-old boy who loves making lists, a wily 104-year-old woman, an absentee father, a Boy Scout project, and the Guiness Book of World Records. Listen to me describe this on What Should I Read Next (Episode 29). More info →
The Course of Love: A Novel

The Course of Love: A Novel

Author:
First time on sale! ($11 cheaper than its previous lowest price.) Every once in a while I stumble upon a book that completely and unexpectedly wows me. This was the unexpected find of 2016. In this novel, De Botton tells the story of a completely ordinary couple through a blend of philosophy and fiction, which might strike you as either as dead-boring or disastrous, but I loved it. Listen to me describe this book on What Should I Read Next (Episode 37). More info →

Honorable mention: The Trespasser, A Great Reckoning, A Gentleman in Moscow.

Next up: nonfiction. I read far more fiction than nonfiction in 2016, but I still had a healthy number of nonfiction titles to choose from. These were the three books I couldn’t stop thinking about, that I’ve already returned to at least once, and that I intend to read again in the future.

Series: My favorite books of 2016: Nonfiction
You’ll Grow Out Of It

You’ll Grow Out Of It

Author:
From the publisher: "You'll Grow Out of It hilariously, and candidly, explores the journey of the twenty-first century woman. As both a tomboy and a late bloomer, comedian Jessi Klein grew up feeling more like an outsider than a participant in the rites of modern femininity. In "You'll Grow Out of It, Klein offers-through an incisive collection of real-life stories-a relentlessly funny yet poignant take on a variety of topics she has experienced along her strange journey to womanhood and beyond. Raw, relatable, and consistently hilarious, "You'll Grow Out of It is a one-of-a-kind book by a singular and irresistible comic voice." More info →
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Author:
I loved this book, and have already re-read it once, because I needed this message. We live in a distracted world, and more than ever before, good work isn't just going to happen. Instead, we need to choose to push out the distractions and focus on what really matters, and in his latest book, Newport tells us why and how to do exactly this. An excellent (and genuinely enjoyable) read for anyone who wants to thoughtfully examine their priorities, their working habits, or their relationship with social media. More info →
Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood

Author:
Do you ever read a book and think, my life would be better if I could memorize every word in this thing? That's how I felt after reading this. A fellow parent (who works as a psychologist at a local middle school) recommended this to me, saying it was a great roadmap for the tween and teen years. Parts of it were terrifying (because sometimes real life is like that), but I found this smart, helpful, and practical, and have been recommending it nonstop. More info →

Honorable mention: Lab Girl, Magic and Loss, Becoming Wise.

The best books I read this year that were published prior to 2016: Lonesome Dove, Gods in Alabama, Home Cooking.

What were YOUR favorite books this year? 

favorite books of 2016

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97 comments

    • Patti says:

      I’m with you. I thought the characters in ROC fell apart in the middle. Loved AGIM, as has been pointed out, the Count had the “will to joy”.

      • Sheryl Esau says:

        Rules of Civility was on my “I should have abandoned” list this year. I really didn’t like it. I’ve been hesitant to read A Gentleman in Moscow even though it sounded good. You two have encouraged me.

  1. Cindy H. says:

    The Orphans of Race Point by Party Francis made it to my “all time faves” goodreads shelf this year.

    I loved, loved, loved Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Everyone needs a Levi in their life.

    And Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum was my other very favorite for 2016. I’m just a YA fan, at 46 years old.

    The series I read, and gave five stars to, was the Legend series by Marie Lu.

  2. Erin says:

    The book that I loved so much this year was “Lily and the Octopus” by Steven Rowley. I laughed, I ugly cried, it was a cathartic read for me. Maybe I loved it so much because of my obsession with my two little dogs, but man, what a book!

  3. Jo Skidmore says:

    I listen to audiobooks and these were my favorites…
    A Man Called Ove was my absolute favorite book of the year!
    I also liked The Neapolitan Series by Elena Ferrante
    Heartless by Marissa Meyer
    The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

    • Elaine says:

      A Man Called Ove was one of my favorites, too, and I was surprised that it was. But it was beautifully done and such a dear story.

  4. Stephanie says:

    I also love love LOVED EBIF. I also took you up on your suggestion to listen to the audio of A Man Called Ove and it has unexpectedly become another favorite! Home Cooking was another great find this year. That book was one of those treasures that you seem to find at the precise moment you need it.

  5. Jen says:

    Everyone Brave Is Forgiven was my favorite adult read of the year–so good! The second book on my list is Pax by Sara Pennypacker. A story about a boy and a fox, and family and friendship and life. Pax is classified as children’s literature, but like so many of the books mentioned in your Reading For Life mini series on the podcast, this book is wonderful for adults as well. Just a beautifully told story.
    In the not-published-this-year category, this was the year of Happy Potter for me. I’m late to the party I know, but I’m so glad because I got to read the series for the first time with my son. We have had so much fun exploring the amazing, magical world created by J. K. Rowling. I’m truly in awe that all of that which is Harry Potter came out of one person’s imagination–truly incredible! We ended up doing these books on audio as I found myself running out of voices for all the characters. The narrator, Jim Dale, did an absolutely fantastic job bringing the series to life and I highly recommend listening to the series.
    Thank you, Anne, for all your hard work on behalf of all us readers! I have found so many great reads thanks to you, and your podcast is something I look forward to every week; it’s one of my very favorite things!
    Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  6. Deb Kenyon Thom says:

    Wow, all great sounding titles to read.
    I read over 90 books this year. Yes some were just so-so but good ones
    The Time of our Singing by Richard Powers, recommended by a Paris bookseller.
    Then there was The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. The book Final Gifts by Maggie Callahan and Patricia Kelly had me taking copious notes. It has been a long year.

  7. Kari Hansen says:

    I read “In the Woods” by Tana French a couple of years ago for my book club. Honestly, I thought it was horrible. Mediocre writing, poor characterization, holey and contrived plot that did not engage me. I was surprised it was not a better book because Tana French gets a lot of positive attention. So I was also surprised to see “The Trespassers” on this Best of 2016 list as an honorable mention. Does French become an exponentially better writer with each book? Should I give her a second chance? Or if I didn’t like the first book, are her others a waste of my time? I don’t mean this as an “explain your choices!” kind of comment, but rather that I am trying to understand the disconnect between what I saw in French’s writing and other’s appreciation of her work. What do you think?

    • Pamela says:

      I adore all of Tana French’s books (except The Likeness because it was a preposterous plot). For me, it’s her characters that drive the book and the way that Ireland itself is a character. I also think her writing is divine, the way she leads us into the mystery through the eyes of the detective.

      I’m sorry – I know I’m not Anne but I just discovered these books this year on Anne’s podcast and I devoured the entire series. I thought Secret Place was the best in terms of characterization and plot.

      • Jo Skidmore says:

        I think i just don’t do “deep”. I just didn’t enjoy her book. I rarely if ever give up on a book. I did not give up on The Secret Place, but it couldn’t finish soon enough for me.

        • Pamela says:

          I hear you. I put down so many books. I have to be hooked. Ultimately, I’m all about reading what we LOVE. Happy holidays and I hope you have many cozy reading days!!

  8. Melanie says:

    My best read of 2016 (and possibly my entire life) was Lonesome Dove. Thank you thank you thank you for recommending it. I knew most of the story already thanks to the tv mini-series when I was a kid and many times since then. The writing was just beyond explanation. It’s definitely not my typical genre but it’s so beautifully written.

    I also fell in love with Outlander this year for a different reason. The writing is good but the story is captivating. I actually read it 3 or 4 times and listened to it on Audible twice. I keep going back to it and it’s comfortable now. It took me a while to move on to book 2 because I just didn’t want to move on. I needed to let all the happenings just sit with me for a while. I did move on and I’ve made it through book 4. They are all good in their own way but I have taken a break and will pick up with book 5 sometime in the future.

    • Tammy says:

      You convinced me. I just requested both books at the library. This is such a great community on this blog. Thank you for the recommendations!

      • Melanie says:

        I can’t wait to see what you think!! Outlander is a bit graphic, just to let you know. Lots of violence, sex, rape (including male)…I’m pretty sensitive but I was able to manage. I wasn’t able to watch the Starz version all the way through, even though I knew what was coming.

  9. Sandra mosolgo says:

    My favorite is News of the World by Paulette Jiles , I was so fond of the characters that I didn’t want the short book to end. Really enjoyed listening to The Boys in the Boat.

  10. Shayne Johnson says:

    I had a great reading year too! I loved Station 11, Nightingale, A Great Reckoning and When Breath Becomes Air. I loved the beautiful prose in Peace Like a River. So many it is hard to remember, maybe I will actually keep a list of books I read this year – my book journal goes unfilled yet again.

  11. Liz Erdmer says:

    I loved My Brilliant Friend and the second in the series by Elena Ferrante. I listened to them while weeding the garden. I discovered Nevil Shute this year and enjoyed several of his books especially Trustee from the Toolroom and Pastoral. I enjoy your podcasts Anne, a great concept to ask people about their favorite books, it’s like peeking to see what others read in airports.

  12. Elaine says:

    I read so many excellent books this year but my favorites (all written earlier–some much earlier) were “Ordinary Grace” (stunning), “Jayber Crow” and “Hannah Coulter” (both by Wendell Berry) and “Our Souls at Night” by Kent Haruf. “Nightingale” (although I really am not a Hannah fan typically) was terrific as was “A Man Called Ove”.

  13. Melisa says:

    I had a banner reading year. I loved One in a Million Boy, Rules of Civility, All the Light we Cannot See.
    Howver, the best books I read this year was published prior to 2016: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (never read it before and it’s easily the greatest book I’ve ever read)

  14. Tracy Tobias says:

    So fun to read everyone’s favorites! For those who want to keep track in the easiest way possible, I just keep a list in Notes on my iPhone and give an asterisk (or two or three) if worthy of recommending. I read a ton of books this year and a lot of them were just not that good. The BEST book for me was A Town Like Alice. It was written in the 50s and the audio narration by Robin Bailey was excellent! There heroine in the story is really just amazing! Loved her so much. I also finished listening to the Jacky Faber series narrated by the awesome Katherine Kellgren. Love Jacky as a heroine too, Great YA series. Best non-fiction that EVERYONE who has aging or ill parents should absolutely read – Being Mortal by Atul Gawande – excellent! For pure joy I loved reading Susan Branch”s Fairy Tale Girl and Isle of Dreams, although my favorite of her’s is A Fine Romance-Falling in Love With the English Countryside. It’s a rare rainy day in here in Southern California and after reading everyone’s recommendations, I want to get out a book a read! Thanks for your list and your podcast. I look forward to it every Tuesday morning.

    • Adrienne says:

      Tracy – I read “A Town Like Alice” many years ago. Have you seen the miniseries starring Bryan Brown? It is so good! There is a movie too, from the 1950’s I think, but I have never seen it.
      Adrienne

      • Tracy Tobias says:

        Adrienne
        Thanks for mentioning the mini-series. Another friend mentioned it as well. It’s not on Netflix. I’ll have to search the library, but just got rid of the tv with a vcr, so hopefully I can find a DVD

  15. Jo Yates says:

    I recently finished “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” by J.D. Vance, so it is fresh in my mind, but I think it is my favorite nonfiction read this year. I binge-read the Inspector Gamache series, my favorite of which is “How the Light Gets In”; I also loved Lisa Jewell’s “Inside the O’Briens” and “Left Neglected.”

  16. Kathy Grey says:

    I didn’t read very much at all this year, but am going to set aside time every day in 2017 for it. My therapist recommended The Invention of Wings, which I absolutely loved! I was sad when it ended. And that, for me, is the mark of a great book.
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. Seawillow Farrar says:

    I loved your recommendations this year. These were a few of my favorites Station 11, Everyone brave is forgiven, Nightingale, All the light we cannot see, One in a million boy, A man called Ove
    And Britt Marie was here.
    Thanks for all you do to keep good books in our hands.

    • Jo Skidmore says:

      I liked Britt-Marie Was Here as well. Another good quirky character from Fredrick Backman. I can’t wait to read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry – I have the audiobook on hold through overdrive…

  18. Pamela says:

    I love the sense favorite lists. It’s like Christmas discovering all these unopened treasures. I am going to read Station 11 because of the great reviews on your podcast and you have really intrigued me with One In A Million Boy.

    My favorite books this year were The Children, Lab Girl, and Commonwealth.

  19. Breanne says:

    Everyone Brave is Forgiven is easily in my top list for this year, if I were making a list. I still think about it and am thrilled to hear he has a sequel in the works.

    And Deep Work is also on that list. I’m recommending it all the time and have started to implement some of his ideas. So good.

    Love seeing your top lists.

  20. Adrienne says:

    I think I’ve churned through over 60 books this year, but very few of them were 5-star books for me. My favorite novels were ‘The Girl You Left Behind’ by JoJo Moyes, which is so different from the Me Before You series, ‘I Let You Go’ by Clare Mackintosh, ‘One-in-a-Million Boy’ by Monica Wood, and ‘The Forgotten Room’ a collaboration by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig. Oh, and ‘The Lake House’ by Kate Morton was also a fantastic book, but ‘Secret Keeper’ is still my favorite by her.

    I read a lot more non-fiction this year than I normally do. I really liked ‘Shaken’ by Tim Tebow, “All the Pretty Things’ by Edie Wadsworth, ‘For the Love’ by Jen Hatmaker, and ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ by Cheryl Strayed. My daughter (aged 19) and I both read ‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ at the same time and our discussions about the book really helped me look at hot button issues with a fresh perspective and a new point of view.

    Biggest disappointments this year were ‘Truly Madly Guilty’ by Liane Moriarty and ‘Small Great Things’ by Jodi Picoult. ‘Truly Madly Guilty’ was just boring compared to her previous book, and the plot of ‘Small Great Things’ was so predictable and the book filled with too many offensive stereotypes. I also tried to listen to the audiobook of ‘A Man Called Ove’ but I hated it and sadly gave up after about 30 minutes….

  21. Lisa says:

    I Will Send Rain by Rae Meadows. I won this book from Publisher’s Weekly and unexpectedly found it in my mailbox one day. It’s an excellent read. Simple but powerful prose, about a single family whose homestead is set in the early Dust Bowl years, 1934 Oklahoma. A true and truly heartfelt look at the ties that bind, the choices we make, and the inevitable cracks in foundations. Very Steinbeck, which was a lovely discovery as he is one of my favorites. You will feel a range of emotion during this read (you’ll shake your head, you’ll root for the family, you’ll cry for them, get mad at some, and bite your lip more than once), but ultimately be glad you got to know them (even if you don’t agree with all of them). 5 stars!

    My runner up, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopoards by Kristopher Jansma (2013). A brilliant novel, and IMO, required reading for any writer. My husband brought this home to me from the dollar store, talk about treasure found!!

    Of course I could go on and on. Loving everyone’s recommendations and making my list! Happy Holidays to all!!

  22. Susan says:

    Late to the Unbroken reading, but I loved it. I also really liked When Breath Becomes Air. The holocaust memoir, But You Did Not Come Back, was very powerful. It is short but memorable and haunting. What Comes Next and How to Like It by Abigail Thomas was another memoir that I enjoyed — I like her quirkiness interspersed with nuggets of wisdom. I also read Gone with the Wind for the first time, which was great! For chic-lit, The Hating Game by Sally Thorne was excellent. And I also enjoyed the sweet kids chapter book Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary.

  23. Julie says:

    Favorite fiction – A Gentleman in Moscow

    Favorite non-fiction – Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

    Most comforting fiction to read when a lot feels wrong in the world – the Mitford series (Evicted was very worthwhile, but so hard for me that I put it aside by 8:30 at night and read Mitford before bed).

    Thanks for another year of excellent recommendations! I’ve also loved reading reader comments and getting new ideas.

  24. Erin in CA says:

    The books I liked best in 2016 were: A Great Reckoning (Penny), The Light Between Oceans (Stedman), I Will Always Write Back (non-fiction YA, Alifirenka, Ganda & Welch), Eligible (Sittenfeld), and What She Knew (MacMillan). I love GoodReads’ “2016 Year in Review” feature, which made doing this so easy! Also made me realize that although non-fiction/memoir is my favorite genre, I didn’t read a lot of them that I loved this year. Guess I need to do a little research and start putting books on hold at the library!

  25. Jacelyn says:

    Thank you, Anne, for this post. Many of your favorites and those of others in the comments are in my To Be Read list. My library has been pretty slow to get most of these, and I want to space out my purchases.
    I am grateful for this post for another reason. Truthfully, I have a hard time figuring out which books YOU have really loved or enjoyed. I understand why sometimes you are hesitant to speak negatively about a book and why/how you could still recommend a book not loved by you. I appreciate a genuine recommendation. Thank you!

    • Shayne Johnson says:

      I agree. I also parse through the wording used on Kindle Daily Deals. When the recommendations are from a 3rd party source, I am much less likely to buy than when they come from Anne herself.

    • Anne says:

      I could give lessons on how to tell if a reviewer genuinely enjoyed a book, whether it’s a review on a blog or the New York Times. 🙂 I don’t do a lot of straight reviews, but in general, when talking about books, one can share facts or one can share opinions/feelings. Facts—like plot and publishing history—are more or less objective. Not true for opinions/feelings. If you want to know what the reviewer thought, you know which one to focus on if you want to know how the reader in question liked the book, or didn’t.

  26. Carol says:

    I am so happy to see that you loved Lonesome Dove!! One of my all-time favorites. Thanks for sharing this list–many are already on my TBR list but I’m adding a few more! Merry Christmas!

  27. Melanie says:

    I agree, this was a great reading year!

    I just finished reading Everyone Brave is Forgiven for the second time in six months. I’m not much of a re-reader, so that’s really saying something. The second time I listened on audio, and this is one of those books where the audio really enhances the experience. Cleve’s dialogue was made to be spoken aloud. I’m not sure how I feel about a companion book…when something is so good there’s always that feel that continuing it could dilute it.

    My absolute favorite book of the year was To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey. It’s part adventure story, part love story and the writing is fabulous.

    I also, thanks to this blog, discovered Wendell Berry this year and I couldn’t be more in love with an author’s work! Finding out that Berry was mentored by Wallace Stegner (my other favorite author) made me both happy and jealous that I couldn’t be there in the classroom with them.

    • Laura says:

      I can’t wait to read Eowyn Ivey’s books! I’ve been saving them because I think I’ll love them, which sounds weird when I say it…

    • Kelsey says:

      Thank you so much for this post, Anne, and for all of the consistency you have in giving book advice! Some of my very favorite books of 2016 have come from your suggestions 🙂

  28. Laura says:

    I’d say the Enchanted April, My Antonia, Half Broke Horses, Miss Buncle’s Book, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper for fiction. Furiously Happy, Angela’s Ashes, Stir, The Road Back to You for nonfiction. Hard to pick!

  29. Karen Grosz says:

    Off the top of my head, When Breathe Becomes Air, Glory Over Everything and Redeeming Love were my favorites, but I truly enjoyed One-in-a-million boy. Reminding me of The Man Called Ove. Thanks for the suggestions.

  30. Julie says:

    I had a much harder time narrowing down my list of favorites but my six favorite fiction reads overlap with two of yours probably because I learned about them from you! They were One in a Million Boy and Everyone Brave is Forgiven. My others were 11/22/63 which I read because of Jamie Golden’s recommendation in episode 1 of your podcast-great episode. I also loved Our Souls At Night, A Gentleman in Moscow and The Underground Railroad. I had many more favorite reads this year, mostly memoirs which is definitely my favorite genre-I especially loved When We Were the Kennedys which I read because of your recommendation. What a great year for reading! Thank you! You can link to my year end wrap up on the nursebeansews blog.

  31. Jill Penny says:

    Thankyou for the idea of keeping a journal of previous books read. I love reading but whilst I can list all my childhood favourites, today’s ones get lost. I loved “The Jewelled Shawl” and Jo Jo Moyes “Me Before You” .
    I love Diana Gabaldons’ books, Sharon Penmans’ Plantagenet Series, and more.
    I really do need to write them down thanks!

  32. Susan says:

    A Gentleman in Moscow my Amor Towles is my FAVORITE book of the year. A masterpiece. I also loved One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King, Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave, The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, LaRose by Louis Erdrich, and Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.

  33. LadyWoman says:

    I absolutely adore Home Cooking! Her writing is so descriptive and yet so shot and simple with just a tinge of sass.

    I didn’t read many books published in 2016 but I did enjoy Mongols by Stephen Graham Jones. I’d describe it as a low key werewolf story about family relationships and growing up.

    The best I read this year were probably Ghettoside (un-put-downable, read in one day) and Christy (my 3rd reading. It makes me want to be a better, more loving person).

  34. My by-far favorite for the year was “Dark Matter.” It’s the one I’m pushing into everyone’s hands and the one I’ll be giving my sister for her birthday. (I’m starting a tradition this year to give her my favorite “new” read from the year.) I can’t remember where I *first* heard about it, but it might have been “Books on the Nightstand,” which I only learned about on their third-from-last episode!
    I also loved “One in a Million Boy.” I heard about it on WSIRN, and included it in my beach reads this year.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2pK4vQh9F8JeTgyN1lzZDJBSEk

  35. Love this list! Definitely need.to check some of them out. Do you know of anywhereI can download.free ebooks aside from.Kindle. Want to do the 2017 reading challenge but on a super tight budget. Thanks!!!!

    • Michelle says:

      I realize this is a late reply, but I want to echo Kathy’s suggestion to try your local library system(s). Many neighboring counties offer reciprocity to residents of nearby counties at their library systems at little or no cost. It expands your options/availability considerably. Also, openlibrary.org is free and has many classics.

  36. Paula says:

    Thanks for the recommendations.
    My favourites this year:
    These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine.
    The Glass Castle
    Me Before You

  37. Donna says:

    Thanks for sharing, Anne!
    It’s difficult to choose my favourites of 2016 as I read way more than I’ve ever read in my life!
    But here we go…

    My favourite fiction published in 2016:

    Faithful by Alice Hoffman (I will be re-reading this at some point.)
    I See You by Clare Mackintosh (I am still thinking about it.)
    You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
    All Is Not Forgotten (I read this last week and I can’t stop thinking about it.)

    Favourite fiction published prior to 2016:

    I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (Read it twice!)
    I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
    The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (This has been on my reading list forever and it felt good to finally read it.)
    Left Neglected by Lisa Genova (I can’t stop recommending it.)
    These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
    Stay Up With Me: stories by Tom Barbash (I fell in love with short stories after last year’s reading challenge.)
    2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino
    Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

    My favourite nonfiction published in 2016:
    Food and the City by Ina Yalof (I keep recommending this to everyone!)
    Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders

    Favourite nonfiction published prior to 2016:
    The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
    Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan (I read this as my pick for ‘a book I previously abandoned’ for the reading challenge!)
    Through the Glass by Shannon Moroney (SO happy I finally read this one!)
    Michelle Obama: A Life by Peter Slevin (I can’t recommend this one enough!)

  38. Libby says:

    The Atomic Weight of Love was HANDS DOWN the best, most beautiful book that I read this year. I haven’t heard much buzz about it but I was completely in love with it from the very first page. An epic life story of a woman who kept waiting for her turn… I felt like she was every woman I’ve ever known.

  39. Barbara H. says:

    The One in a Million Boy and Everyone Brave sound really intriguing. I posted my top 16 today. Near if not at the top would be Not In the Heart by Chris Fabry. It has been a very good reading year indeed.

  40. Rachel says:

    Clay girl by Heather Tucker took my breath away. I’m also loving And Again by Jessica Chiarella. Both were staff favorites selected at the Book Den pop up book store at TedMed. Happy New Year!! I also adored your top 3 which I read as part of the summer reading challenge! Love your lists!!

  41. It’s funny, I heard such good things about Home Cooking and tried it at a time that was a personally challenging time for me. I was NOT getting into it at all. I stopped about 1/4 of the way through and put it aside. Picked it up again about a month ago…LOVED it 🙂 Have you tried any of the recipes?

  42. Michelle says:

    I’m excited to see The Trespasser on the almost list – I’m about halfway through the audio version now. One of my favorites this year was The Girls by Emma Cline. There were flaws, but her capture of female adolescence was remarkable.

    I tend to read fiction, listen to non-fiction and The Boys in the Boat, Lab Girl and The Year of Yes! were all fantastic listens.

  43. Cris says:

    I’m not a big fan of fiction, so my favorites were Coming Clean: A Story of Faith by Seth Haines and The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by Mark Buchanan. So much to think about! I found out about both of these on this blog in the Kindle deals.

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