Friday, December 30, 2016

My Favorite Books of 2016


It's finally time to say good-bye to 2016... and I am more than ready to move on! As for reading, it's been a fairly average year in both quantity and quality. There were no stand-out reading experiences like last year's "Trolloping with friends" through the Chronicles of Barsetshire, though there were plenty of great books and a few memorable readalongs.

Here are my favorite books read in 2016. Of course, they were not all published this year. An asterisk denotes a read/listen combination. You know how much I love alternating between print and audio, especially with nonfiction.



FICTION


The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
my favorite novel read in 2016



Shelter by Jung Yun
my favorite 2016 debut novel



*Germinal by Emile Zola
my favorite classic and most memorable readalong of 2016



Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
most beautifully written novel and top author discovery of 2016



Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen
my favorite Quindlen novel in twenty years



The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar
another top author discovery



Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett keeps getting better and better!





NONFICTION

my favorite nonfiction read in 2016



I went on a "Supreme Women" reading spree this year...



by Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik
RBG is my hero.



*When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
the saddest book I read this year



Infuriating, but important..




AUDIOBOOKS

Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo
narrated by Ron McLarty



Belgravia by Julian Fellowes
narrated by Juliet Stevenson




Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
narrated by Tavia Gilbert

38 comments:

  1. I've read 4 of those and want to read most of the rest. Great list!

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  2. Great list! Favorite book lists are where I get my reading for the coming months! :--)

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    1. Jill - I add so many books to my TBR during this 'best of' list season!

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  3. Yep. Commonwealth is on my list too.

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    1. Ti - Patchett just keeps getting better and better!

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  4. Wonderful best of reading list. I haven't read any of these but some are on my TBR list. Oh there is just not enough time!

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    1. Iliana - A complaint of every reader I know... ;-)

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  5. Once again, I love that we have three books in common (Mothering Sunday, When Breath Becomes Air -- which I couldn't find the words to write about -- and Belgravia, which I haven't actually read but the audiobook is on my nightstand:) ) and the rest of your list are all suddenly books that I really want to read. Happy New Year, JoAnn! I'm looking forward to much more reading with you (actually or vicariously) in 2017.

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    1. Audrey - If I'd added one more book (and I almost did) it would have been They May Not Mean to But They Do. I still find myself thinking about that one, too. I'm happy to be reading more Trollope with you next year... should be ready to begin Can You Forgive Her? by mid month. Happy New Year!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your list. I listened to Miller's Valley and have Commonwealth on my 'ToRead' list. Have a great New year JoAnn!

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    1. Pat - I'll be Miller's Valley was great on audio. Hope you enjoy Commonwealth, too!

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  7. I just finished Just Mercy and it gutted me in the best way. Missoula will be coming up soon, and I'm sure it'll have a similar effect. I must check out The Emperor's Children! I loved Messud this year.

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    1. Andi - It's been a long time since a book effected me like Just Mercy! I just know Missoula is going to make you angry, too. Messud is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.

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  8. I've only read two and a half books on your list, but there are several good ideas here for future months.

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    1. Margot - I think that's the best part of seeing all these lists... we'll never run out of reading ideas!

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  9. You read some great books in 2017. May 2017 be just as fruitful in terms of reading.

    Have aHappy New Years JoAnn!

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    1. Thank you, Brian... Happy New Year to you, too!

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  10. So I finally read Quindlen for the first time this year (Miller's Valley) and am now in love! Just finished Every Last One and thought it was even better. Where should I go next?

    And yay for Shelter! Always glad to see that one pop up as I don't feel like it's gotten the attention it deserves.

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    1. Sarah - I've enjoyed all of Quindlen's novels (with the possible exception of Blessings), but have a special fondness for the ones I read nearly 20 years ago... One True Thing and Object Lessons.

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  11. Have I already said to you how much I liked Just Mercy? (I did on someone's blog just recently.) It's great. I'm glad it was one of your favorites.

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    1. Rachel- I don't think you mentioned it here, but Just Mercy sure was one amazing book!

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  12. I bought Mothering Sunday after your review here and it's still waiting, on my Kindle. It's on the top three to read this new year before more time gets by.
    Happy new year!

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    1. Tina - It's such a quiet, beautifully written book... save it for a time when you're in the mood for that kind of thing. Happy New Year!

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  13. I am pleased to hear you had an enjoyable year of reading. Here's to more in 2017!

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    1. Jessica - Thank you, and happy reading to you in 2017!

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  14. Lovely list...my fave is still Be Frank With Me...I loved that book!

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    1. Patty - Be Frank With Me was just fabulous on audio, too. Had to keep reminding myself there was just one narrator. Tavia Gilbert voiced Frank perfectly!!

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  15. Of the ones I've read, I would absolutely agree with you about all of them! I have seen Shelter show up on several lists - seems to be a sleeper great book. I definitely need to read ALL of your nonfiction faves!

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    1. Lisa - Shelter didn't get as much notice as I thought it deserved. Hope you get a chance to read it... a little darker than my usual reading though.

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  16. So many of these are on my to-read list!

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    1. Stacy - These end-of-the-year lists always make my tbr pile grow!

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  17. Great list of favorites! I followed your reviews of these closely. A wonderful journey.

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  18. I read Missoula last year and I'm right there with you on "infuriating but important."

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    1. Christy - Missoula was very tough to read at times, but I'm still recommending it.

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  19. Fantastic list. I have read a few of these, and others are on my TBR. When Breath Becomes Air is a 2016 favorite of mine as well, and I would not have read it if it weren't for Nonfiction November. What a great pile of recommendations I got from that event.

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    1. Toady - Nonfiction November was such a great blogging event! It's given me suggestions to last an entire year. I just started reading The Unwinding yesterday (Rachel at Hibernator's Library is hosting a readalong), and like it already.

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