I was hoping to put together a list of my favorite reads from 2016, but sadly I didn’t do a great job of keeping track of all of these – and I get them in all different formats – through Amazon, Audible, library, Overdrive (electronic library), borrowing from friends and now Kindle, and so with my brain being mush, these are the favorites of the ones I can remember from 2016. So take it with a grain of salt.
Note: Each title is a link to the book’s Amazon listing, but I promise I’m not making money off of this (cause I’m too lazy to figure out how to do that right now).
(by Paul Kalanithi)
I actually wrote about this extensively a couple months ago. I remember reading it in April when I still hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer, and although it was sad, it was incredibly eye opening. To sum it up here, it’s basically a memoir told by a guy who is a doctor that deals with cancer patients every day, and then he himself finds out he has cancer and he talks through his differing perspectives and how actually living through the process has opened his eyes. The spoiler is in the previous blog post if you really want to know, but it’s an amazing book and definitely worth the read. For me, it was really interesting hearing the perspective from the doctor’s point of view.
(by Marissa Meyer)
This was the last book I read in 2016 and definitely one of my favorites. I was first alerted to Marissa’s Meyers works with her Lunar Chronicles. If I had read the Lunar Chronicles in 2016, I would have put them on this list, but those were at the end of 2015. But to give some background, the Lunar Chronicle books detailed the lives of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White in a futuristic, dystopian retelling of these classic tales. I LOVE classic fairytales (I’m also one of those people that watches “Once Upon a Time” so stop judging) and any retelling of those stories. Heartless continues in this way by taking a classic villain – the Queen of Hearts from the Alice and Wonderland tales – and details how she came to be the way she is. It’s a great origin story and I really hope Marissa does more like this.
(by Jeff Vandermeer)
Hmmm. How to explain this one. You know that feeling you get when you’re about to pass out – you’re seeing stars, you’re getting tunnel vision, your mouth starts over producing saliva and you feel like you might puke? That’s kind of how I would explain this series. You’re in this perpetual state of WHAT IS HAPPENING? If you’re looking for books grounded in reality and tangible concepts…this is not for you. It was this trippiness that appealed to me, though. It was one of those book series where I thought, “I didn’t even know books like this existed.” It gave me this feeling like I could write anything, no matter how weird or crazy and it could become an actual book. That was refreshing. Reading this book? Not so refreshing, but super interesting and it might induce some paranoia. I’m really selling this, right? Well, check it out if you’re into weird things.
(by Anthony Doerr)
This is one of those books that falls out of my typical list of genres, but I’d been seeing it on a lot of book lists and decided to give it a try. It’s historical fiction and takes place in the time of Nazi Germany, but is actually based in varying parts of France. The two main characters have very different stories and very different lives. One is a blind girl that lives with her father and they flee Paris to go live with her father’s reclusive uncle as Nazis invade their city. The other is an orphan boy that has special technical skills and is enlisted by the Hitler Youth to employ his skills to seek out the resistance. Eventually the stories collide in a heart-wrenching fashion, but all along the way the author builds this imagery of life in this time and how it’s experienced completely differently by these two protagonists. I read…or really, had this read to me…through audio books and it was so enjoyable that I completely got lost in time on my way to and from work. It’s a long book, but it’s entrancing. I highly suggest reading…or listening to it when you can.
These were solid books that I read in 2016. Maybe they didn’t make the list as “favorite” but they are definitely still worth checking out.
The Road (by Cormac McCarthy)
Chilling tale of a father and son wondering down a road in post apocalyptic setting where there are cannibals and it’s every man for himself. This is right in my wheelhouse.
Heart and Brain (by Nick Seluk)
Irreverent comic series about Heart and Brain…and later the other organs that I follow on a daily basis and finally got this series of comics in book form for Christmas.
People Who Knew Me (by Kim Hooper)
A tale of a woman that lives one life before 9/11 and a completely different life after 9/11. You’ll hate/love her. Or just hate her. Or just mildly tolerate her. But everything feels too real, like this could happen to any of us. As Kim’s first book, I think it’s a wonderful story.
The City of Mirrors (by Justin Cronin)
This is actually book 3 of The Passage trilogy so I don’t suggest reading this first, but I do suggest reading this trilogy, in general. Usually the third book is okay, but this one is exceptional. It’s not as great as the first book (I heart the first book of this series), but it was good enough to get a special shoutout because it wrapped up the series beautifully.
What are some books you’ve read that you think I should read in 2017? I’m taking recommendations, so let me know!
Oh and happy 2017!