So, it’s the 26th of December and the year is almost done, it’s about that time I reflect on my reading and life in general. Most of the people out there dreaded 2016, it became such a cursed year and it felt like the world was coming to an end(
literally). Like most people, I wasn’t particularly a big fan but I chose to magnify the positive aspects in my life. Yes, I may not have been the most successful person this year but I started this blog and it became a platform in which I could collect my feelings about books and meet new people and that was just delightful. I got so many recommendations even the occasional Hello! made my day. This year I won a book ( and I never win anything), I wrote a review for one of my favourite reads and the author of that book read it and gave me a positive feedback…
So, Regardless of everything this year had some pretty amazing moments that I will always cherish…Now on to more positive talks here are my favourites read of 2016 and boy have they made a huge impact on my reading and life view. I hope you get some recommendations and if you’ve read or had your own favourite list tell me and I will check it out…
I have posted links to the synopsis and book reviews to all of them.
I am just going to share my experience during my time amazing with them.
P.S. Also, not all of them were published in 2016
Also, I have done an HONOURABLE MENTION LIST (HERE)
9. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Genre: Sci-Fi, Time Travel, Fantasy
“There is no loss if you cannot remember what you have lost.”
The story follows Harry August who was born in 1895 and his mother passes away as soon as she gives birth to him. We follow his life as he goes on through the ups and downs that are life until his death…He is ‘reincarnated’ or time starts all over again for him but weirdly he has all the memories and remembers everything, literally every detail from his previous life.
Anyone who knows me in real life knows I love the concept of Time Travel, Paradoxes, Parallel Realities etc. I knew that I would love this, The story is a complex one and the philosophical questions that come with the actions that the character take were compelling and got my gears grinding. I have a whole review of this book and If you enjoy time travel go get this!
8. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Gothic, About Books
“People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in the ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.”
We follow Margaret Lea the biographer/bookstore manager as she encounters a letter one day from a very prolific and very private author Vida Winter. The letter asks Margaret whether she would like to compose Ms Vida’ biography but the problem is Ms Vida has been known to evade the truth and she is very sceptical about the whole idea but the need to find the truth will take her into one disturbing past, one disturbing family saga with dark secrets and complex family tree.
I am sure those who have been reading the past two posts have seen this title and I just don’t want to shut up about it. It was a book that celebrates the value of fiction and the writing! My God! The writing was so delicious. I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did. If you enjoy a good gothic mystery with family drama this one is definitely for you.
7. The Salesman by Joseph O’Connor
Genre: Ireland Lit, Cultural, Contemporary, Thriller
Set in Dublin Ireland 1994, the town is infested with drug addicts and crime is at its peak… We follow Billy, a salesman whose only daughter ends up in a coma after a dastardly robbery. The culprits are apprehended and set to be a charged in court but on the day of the sentence the gang leader escapes. Billy decides to take justice into his own hand by tracing the young culprit’s every move as he plans his revenge. But soon things spiral out of control in a very disastrous way. One small decision can ruin everything or make it better? You have to read to find out.
I picked this one from a used bookstore and I usually check for reviews online before purchase but I was like “ Bill, just give this a chance…” and I was pleasantly surprised by what it had to offer. The story was a bleak one and it had a sombre mood around the characters and the overall story. It is one of the most underrated book ever. The reviews don’t do this justice, this was just beautiful, heartbreaking and the topic of alcoholism, death, forgiveness were the pinnacles of the themes that drove the story. Please! Please! Go check this one out.
6. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Literary Fiction.
“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
The book follows Daniel, after the loss of her mother and haunted by sorrow, his father decides to share with him a magical place called “Cemetery of Forgotten Books” where lost or forgotten books end up. Inside he stumbles upon a book called The Shadow of the Wind, he devours it in one night and it resonates with him and sets him on a path to discover the history behind the author. He soon discovers that someone has been acquiring the books & burning them, also some aspects of his life mirror the author’s life. :0 Filled with dark, haunting secrets and colourful characters the book opens the past and much more. (I would advise going in blind and just experience it)
Another book that celebrates the love of books and reading, It was an epic tale with vivid descriptions. I was staying up just to see how the story developed and it is an instant classic. This book is honestly for everyone because of the cosy element that comes with it. The atmosphere will make you want to sit by a fire and just fall into the pages.
5. Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon
Genre: Fantasy, Magical realism, Coming of Age, Thriller
“See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.”
I remember when I added this book on my Goodreads (Here) TBR all of my friends just started nudging me to make it a priority and I can tell you once I opened to page one of the book
I can’t put into words how this book is almost nostalgic, I was yearning for my childhood again and I have a new appreciation for the power of imagination and Robert McCammon read my review!!!!!
I was so star struck and left speechless, it made this book even more of a treasure.
4. Under The Dome by Stephen King
Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Horror
“She can’t help it,’ he said. ‘She’s got the soul of a poet and the emotional makeup of a junkyard dog.”
The Story essentially follows the lives of people in Chester’s Mill, from out of nowhere a transparent and impenetrable Dome appears, with that we see how being literally caught in a rock and a hard place might change some people and the story kicks off from there…
This one is probably the longest book on this list and one of the most entertaining 1000 pages of my life. I was thrown into the small town of Chester’s Mill and I was stuck with the characters under the dome. The writing, the characters, the pace and I have always loved King so this was no brainer the book had to be on the list. If you have read some of King’s work and loved it and you feel like getting stuck in a great book Pick this one up!!
3. Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides
Genre: LGBTQ+, Historical Fiction, Family Saga, Contemporary
“Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.”
This is a story of a 3rd generation Greek-American family (Stephanides family) told from the perspective of a 40-year-old man who used to be a Girl. Yes, wrap your thoughts on that.
This Epic Pulitzer-winning family saga with an LGBTQ+ character as the main voice of the book was nothing short of brilliant. I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did but I wanted to start it again once I finished it. I was introduced to the topic of gender and sexuality in a subtle yet impactful way. I raved about all of the beauty that this book had to offer in my review. Plus I have 2 more of his books and for the life of me, I can’t wait to return to Mr Jeffrey’s writing.
2. And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Cultural
“I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us.”
It follows a sibling relationship between brother (Abdullah) and little sister (Paris), all their trials, sacrifice, hardship, family dynamics, coming of age story etc. We view their life through the eyes of interesting and flawed characters, that are just memorable.
Yes, I discovered this Author and I am a loyal follower of his and I want to commission him to write me a book every year. Seriously though if you haven’t experienced Mr Hosseini’s work you are missing out on some outstanding storytelling. I feel like everyone would get something out of this book in particular. Yes, his other works are more famous than this one but I resonated so magically with this particular one. The overarching storyline told from multiple perspectives brought laughter, tear, warmth and every emotion possible. Plus, the authors stand in the humanitarian aid is pretty admirable.
***Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell***
Genre: Almost all of them 🙂
“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”
The plot of this book is totally bonkers, the author (
bless him) managed to squeeze almost every genre into this one book and also slays each and every one of them. From The beginning of civilisation in New Zealand to Artificial intelligence in a futuristic Asia and everything in between. I was left amazed at the wonder of each narrative. The stories intertwine and unfold like a Matryoshka doll…
Listen to me and Listen! Good fellow reader, this, in my opinion, is one of the literature’s pinnacle and it should be a must read. The way one man can have so many different voices, genres, worlds in one book is pretty mind-blowing. The fact that I had this natural fear of this book is what makes it so special. I was screaming at some scenes, I was crying & laughing at the experiences, I felt like this book shaped my reading and for that it is not only the best book of 2016 but an all-time favourite.
If you have made it to the bottom of the list thank you so much for reading and hope I did convince you to pick up these spectacular titles 🙂 If you have made a list of your top 2016 books please link them down below so I can read them. Thank you again and Happy New Year 🙂