2016 is almost over (thank goodness!) which means it’s time for my yearly favorites! And before you think “wait, what about all the books you’re going to read in the next three days?”, I’ll remind you that my grad school thesis is due January 1 (hence the lack of posts this week), so I think it’s safe to say I’m not going to be getting much reading done in the next few days. I am hoping to finish Little Women, but – while I am enjoying it – I’m fairly confident it’s not going to make this list.
If you’re looking for my favorite 2016 releases, you can head on over to the post all about my favorite new releases. This post is all about the best books I read this year (regardless of when they were released), and there were a lot of good ones. These are in no particular order:
- The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. This is actually the very first book I finished this year, and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s a brilliantly crafted historical fiction novel with elements of magical realism, and it is completely enthralling. Definitely a book I will read again!
- Morning Star by Pierce Brown. I’m one of those people who is almost always disappointed by series finales, but this one pulled it off! It was truly epic, and the ending was hopeful and heartbreaking, but entirely satisfying.
- A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. I loved the first book in this series – A Darker Shade of Magic – but this one might have been even better. Plus, it gets points for ending on an epic cliffhanger without making me angry (which is my usual reaction to huge cliffhanger endings).
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This was an unexpected favorite – I honestly didn’t think I was even really going to like it – but it is definitely one of the books I cherish most. It was a wonderful story and it made me rethink a lot of my beliefs, which is always the sign of a good book.
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë. This is another book I wasn’t expecting much from, but it blew me away. I absolutely loved everything about it, and it’s neck-in-neck with Pride and Prejudice for the position of my favorite classic.
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. This book was devastating, but beautiful. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It’s easily one of the best and most impactful books I’ve ever read.
- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. So many people told me I needed to read this book, but I kept putting it off. That was stupid. Because this book is amazing and you were all right. I’ve been saving the second book – The Wise Man’s Fear – as a reward for finishing my thesis, and I can’t wait!
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. This is another book people kept recommending to me. And I let it sit on my shelf for like a year. But it was amazing, and I loved it. Such a perfect blend of a character-driven story with historical and mythological elements.
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. This book was incredible. I think it was even more impactful because I read it after going through several family members having cancer. It is a brilliant and touching memoir.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I thought this was a perfectly crafted historical fiction novel, and I love that it examined the effects of WWII from a perspective I’m not used to seeing.
What was your favorite book this year?