Here is a very, very late post on the five best books I read in 2016. This is a post I’ve sat on for the past couple of weeks. The reason being I wanted to make a top ten post (which is what I usually do). But 2016 was mainly a year of a lot of escapist reading, and while I enjoyed a few of them (Cassandra Clare, Robert Galbraith, a ton of Indian fiction), I didn’t really feel that they were that great enough to be on a top ten list.
And so, here’s a top five. But the books mentioned here, I loved, as in I really, really loved, and would read again in a heartbeat.
So here goes, in no particular order:
- My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell – This book was a reread, but read so far back in the distant past, and my memories of it were so dim, that I think it’s perfectly ok to mention this book on my top five list. It was a wonderful experience to sink into a more idyllic time, and just enjoy following Gerald and his family’s adventures with animals and the local citizenry in Corfu.
- Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel – This book takes off from where Wolf Hall ended, continuing Cromwell’s growth trajectory in King Henry VIII’s court, while at the same time documenting Anne Boleyn’s fall at his hands. Anne Boleyn’s story is forever fascinating, and I don’t think any book I’ve read on her can ever be boring (although The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory comes close). That said, Bring up the Bodies is superb. Told throughout from Cromwell’s point of view, it gives a view of the Queen via Cromwell’s critical eyes.
- A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James – This was extremely difficult to read, and extremely thrilling and fulfilling at the same time. It took me a couple of months to finish, but oh boy! I loved every bit of it. In her comment on my review, Jenny mentioned that Marlon James has plans to do an African Game of Thrones. After reading this book, I’d say he’s the man for the job.
- All the Light we Cannot see by Anthony Doerr – I liked the simplicity of this book, while at the same time appreciated the complexity of some of the characters. The historical setting was also note-perfect. I am not the hugest fan of World War – 2 books, but this one and of course The Book Thief has me changing my mind about reading war stories.
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – OK, I might have complained a bit about the romance in the book. But I loved the uniqueness of the story, and the overall magical aura it has. I think I might like it even more on a reread.
So, these were my top books read last year. What books did you read last year? Which ones were your favorites? What’s on your reading list this year?