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.

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?

25 thoughts

  1. I had a similar thing happen with Song of Achilles. I heard how great it was, bought it, and it sat on my bookshelf for almost a year and then I completely fell in love with it when I read it this month. This made my favorites list as well 😍😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like Song of Achilles will be at the top of my 2017 list! Thanks for the great recommendations, and for detailing your thoughts in the post. All the Light We Cannot See is one of my all-time favorites. Since you liked that, I think you would like The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer — exquisitely written! Good luck with your thesis and happy reading in the coming year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a wonderful list – it sounds like you had a great reading year. 🙂

    I think A Gathering of Shadows will make my own list and you’re so right about the cliffhanger – I can’t wait for the third book!

    I loved When Breath Becomes Air too, it really was touching and it has stayed with me since I read it back in June. Likewise, I just finished All The Light We Cannot See recently and that was so beautifully written that I’ve had to rethink the list I had already decided on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was definitely hard to narrow down this list, but these are definitely the books that stuck with me this year. I am so excited for A Conjuring of Light, too! I preordered a signed copy, but she’s doing a signing about an hour away and I might try and make it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The only one of these that I’ve read is AGOS which I also really enjoyed. Loved that cliffhanger – it has me so desperate for the next book!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Pretty much the same here, haha! I read it back in July I think and I still keep thinking about the ending! I need to know what happens next!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ooh yes, I love this. I’ve only read one on this list, so I’m definitely going to keep this around as a way to see what I should read next, should I hit a reading roadblock and need a book that’s likely to be good. Fantastic post!

    Liked by 1 person

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