In 2016 I managed to read 80 books which is the most I have ever read in one year. (Last year’s total was 67 and my best ever year (2013) I read 72. So, although I’m very pleased with myself it has proved to be much harder to come up with just 10 for my annual review of my year in books. Anything that doesn’t make the top 10 gets culled from the bookshelves or off the Kindle so I’ve had to put much deliberation into this and come up with a list of ten books with only one author having made my top 10 on a previous occasion. Unusually for me all of the chosen books are fiction. 7 of the 10 were authors whose work I have never read before and there’s some debut novels in there as well. I haven’t restricted myself to those authors whose works were published in 2016. If I read it this year then it’s in the mix. Last year 6 out of my 10 were published in 2015 and this year 50% of them were published in 2016, showing how exciting publishing still is and that there’s still great books coming out every month. 44 out of the 80 books I read this year were 2016 publications- a considerably higher percentage than ever before. The only thing I have read less of is re-reads. I’ve only revisited four books this year. I’ve selected the very best of these which I will announce in two posts time. There’s a satisfactory 50/50 split gender-wise on my list and all of the 10 have been reviewed on this site- click on the titles to link to the full review.
10. Jonathan Dark Or The Evidence Of Ghosts – A K Benedict (Orion 2016) (Read and reviewed in February)
An audacious, brave blend of modern crime, ghost story and fantasy which really works. I thought/think that this has the potential to become a big seller but perhaps it has been difficult to market its genre-busting appeal. I love this book for both its strengths and flaws.
9. The Lost Europeans – Emanuel Litvinoff (Apollo 2016 )(Read in May and reviewed in June)
In 2016 Apollo republished 8 of “the best books you’ve never heard of” and this debut originally from 1958 by a London born writer was the pick of the bunch. Post war Berlin is brought alive through paranoia and guilt.
8. Miss Jane – Brad Watson (Picador 2016) (Read in September. Reviewed in November)
Set in early twentieth century Mississippi this tale of rural survival sparkles because of the title character. Miss Jane, because of an anatomical defect is an outsider yet shines through. Probably the character I was most willing on to better things this year. Beautifully understated.
7. The High Mountains Of Portugal – Yann Martel (Canongate 2016) (Read and reviewed in January)
Martel’s “The Life Of Pi” was my 7th favourite book of 2003 and was even better on a re-read. Thirteen years on and he’s here at number 7 again and I expect that this will also re-read very well. Three stories, all of which are quite bonkers, two exceptionally charming (still not too sure to make of the middle section). Martel has me believing the unbelievable- the mark of a great storyteller.
6. The Vanishing Act Of Esme Lennox- Maggie O’Farrell (Headline 2006) (Read in January. Reviewed in April)
Many thanks to newbooks who decided to have a Maggie O’Farrell retrospective prompting me to seek out this author via this extraordinary novel I had missed out on. I sat on this review for quite a while because I didn’t know quite how to put my feelings about this book into words. I made it one of my 100 Essential reads. It’s beautifully written and I am so looking forward to catching up with this author’s back catalogue.
Next post – The Top 5, includes a twentieth century classic, a translation, a debut, a Booker Shortlister and a literary award winner.
10 thoughts on “Top 10 Books Of The Year – 2016- Part 1 (10-6)”
I adored The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox – congratulations on your stats – I do love these posts!
Me too. I’ve just spent a chunk of this afternoon visiting all the book blogs I follow to see how everyone has been doing and reading the year round-ups, which I love, but can’t read until I’ve chosen my Top 10 books- in case they influence my decision!! I’ve discovered that I have not read one of your Top 10- although there are a number I would like to read. It’s just overwhelming how many good books are out there waiting to be discovered. Quite a few of your choices are being added to my to be read list. Now, I only have to find a way to live until I’m 825!………
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Haha yes I was the same re the posts as I had so many to chose from!! Now having trawled so many it’s become apparent that there are many more I need to read. When you figure it out, let me know 😏
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80 books. I read 29 and 5 rereads. I promised myself to follow your lead and pick just 10 that I would read again. I did finish all of them, bar one, can’t even remember what it was called, it was an English detective who had as much personality as a brick wall and I really didn’t care if he solved the crime or not. Half way through I gave up and sent the book to the charity shop. While searching for a particular Xmas bauble that I bought in June, I came across no less than 7 books I had bought and not yet read, I also bought 4 from a charity shop and 3 for £5 from the Works. I have good intentions of keeping track of what I read and also writing a synopsis. I just remembered I have several on the kindle too. My excuse is that I no longer take the train to work (if they were running) and I’m not able to read while driving. So starting tomorrow ……. I love reading your blogs, they have given me a long list of books to purchase. But let’s not tell Wayne.xx
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Happy New Year to you Kay. I hope you manage to fit a lot of reading in!!! I can’t begin to count the books I have on my shelves waiting to be read. This is after I got rid of loads before we moved. I have fallen victim of 3 books for £x too often. A couple of our local charity shops do three for £1 and now there’s the temptations of the libraries I am working in. My Kindle is groaning (but I am about to do quite a cull there). Still, we wouldn’t be without our books would we!!
No chance of me reading so many books as you did. Just cannot read fast enough. Got as a xmas present- one of your books listed as no. 9 in your best book list. The Lost Europeans…looking forward to reading it despite it is fiction…Love reading your posts on what you were watching. Keep them coming.
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Happy New Year to you Monika. Now I’m back in the twenty-first century I have every intention to keep the reviews coming!! You’ll have to let me know what you think of “The Lost Europeans” – I haven’t come across anyone else who has read it up to now!!
Happy New Year! I am only on the page 7, already looks rather complex with the character of Martin reminiscing when he was 9…Hugo looks very brave going back and live in Berlin. We have a Slovak saying, that doesn’t translate well into English. Basically it is along the lines – under the biggest lampshade there is a largest shadow, underneath one hides the best… I’ll keep you posted.
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I hope it really draws you in. For a little while I didn’t think it would for me, but then i realised I was totally involved.