Tag Archives: 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Favorite Books Read in 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week is a freebie, so I will post my favorite reads from last year.  They are in no particular order. Have you read any of these?  Were any of these favorites of yours?  What were your favorites from last year?  If you did your own TTT post today, feel free to link up to mine in the comments section, especially as there isn’t a link up at the Broke and the Bookish.

  1.  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – This is  a historical fiction novel about slavery in America and attempted escape via a virtual underground railroad.  My review
  2. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout – This is a work of contemporary fiction that begins with a young woman recovering from complications of appendicitis in the hospital.  Her mother visits her and through their conversations, you learn more about the nature of the woman’s dysfunctional childhood.  However, more is learned by what is not said than what is said.  My review
  3. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – This is a historical fiction novel about two sisters in France during World War 2 and how they participate in the resistance movement there.   My review
  4. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – This is a memoir by a neurosurgical fellow who at the age of 36 has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.  My review
  5. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – This is a novel about a marriage and the secrets that sustain it.  The first half is written from the husband’s perspective and the second half from the wife’s.  My review
  6. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson – This is a dream-like novel about a woman who is traveling back to Brooklyn to visit her ill father.  She catches a glimpse of one of her close childhood friends who she has not spoken to since childhood and the memories come flooding back to her.  It is a story about growing up black in Brooklyn in the 1970s, about close friendships and how they make you stronger, about not understanding or accepting death as a child…  My review
  7. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood – This is Margaret Atwood’s modern day adaption of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest.’   My review
  8. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – This is a historical fiction novel spanning some 400+ years following many generations of a family, some of which were sold into slavery and brought to America, while others remained in Ghana.  My review
  9. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – This is collection of autobiographical essays by Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show.  Trevor Noah grew up in South Africa under apartheid, son of a black woman and white man.  My review
  10. Forty Rooms by Olga Grushin – This novel by Russian born author Olga Grushin, takes place in 40 rooms of homes/dorms/apartments within which the protagonist of this novel has lived.   It is a dreamy look into the hopes and aspirations that a woman has in childhood and what they become in the future.  It is about the choices a woman makes in life.  My review

15 of the Most Popular Books Published in 2016 – updated 3/12/2017

  1.  When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – added by 274, 910 people on Goodreads.   This book is a memoir of a neurosurgeon who is faced with a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer at the age of 39.   He has grappled with the meaning of life since high school and his search for life’s essence led him to a career in neurosurgery.  Having spent so much time reflecting on life’s meaning, makes his memoir especially poignant.  That combined with his medical background and longtime interest in writing creates the right conditions for a well versed and thoughtful memoir on death and dying.25614898
  2. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – added by 209,169 people on Goodreads. This is a novel about slavery and the underground railroad, which in this novel, becomes a virtual railroad.
  3. The Girls by Emma Cline – added by 205,164  people on Goodreads.  This novel is Emma Cline’s re-imagining of Charles Manson’s ranch.  It is much less focused on Charles Manson and more so on “the girls” who are drawn to it.   It imagines the allure of the ranch to these girls, their connections to each other and to the outside world.  It is told from the viewpoint of a woman who had been a young girl at the ranch, at a point in time when this grown adult encounters another “girl” who could have just as easily been pulled into the ranch’s enticements.26893819
  4. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – added by 178,572  people on Goodreads.    Behind Closed Doors is a domestic abuse thriller.  Jack and Grace are the perfect couple to all outside appearances, however what lurks behind closed doors is exactly the opposite.  Grace must carefully calculate her moves if she wants to escape and save her sister from her husband’s brutality.29437949
  5. All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood – added by 148,653 people.  This novel is about a young girl growing up neglected and surrounded by debauchery.  It is about an unlikely ally and friend in a dismal situation.  It is about a romance that develops despite a large age gap.
  6. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett – added by 143,706 people on Goodreads.  This novel shows how a seemingly enchanted moment in time completely disrupts two families resulting in divorce and remarriage, leading to neglect, anger, and distance.  It is beautifully written, each chapter effectively it’s own short story.
  7. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout – added by 120,219 people on Goodreads.  This novel is a gorgeous rendering of a dysfunctional family told through conversations between a mother and daughter while the daughter is hospitalized for appendicitis.  What goes unsaid is just as important as what is said. It is also a study on writing and what makes good writing.25893709
  8. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – added by 112,647 people on Goodreads. This is an epic novel spanning hundreds of years, beginning in Africa and following two sides of a family as one side is sold into slavery and brought to America and the other side remains in Africa. It is a story of race, roots, and remembrance.
  9. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld -added by 105,576 people on Goodreads.  This novel is a modern day retelling of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” set in Cincinnati.  It is just as delicious and addictive as the original.25852870
  10. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – added by 63,720 people on Goodreads. An amazing collection of autobiographical essays about Trevor Noah, a boy born to a black mother and a Swiss/German father under apartheid in South Africa. The essays are incredible, shedding much light on life in South Africa during and after apartheid. There is so much heart, courage, strength, humor and tremendous good fortune contained within these essays.
  11. The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson– added by 57,902 people.  This novel, set in the idyllic countryside of Sussex, is a comedy of manners.  It occurs in the summer before World War 1, exploring politics, manners, and gender roles of this era.
  12. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – added by 56,019 people people on Goodreads.   Sweetbitter is a fictional novel based on Stephanie Danler’s many years of experience waiting tables in New York City following graduation from Kenyon College.  It is meant to provide insight into the secret lives of those who work in restaurants, their hours, habits, and addictions.  26192646
  13. Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave – added by 49,953 people.  This World War II historical fiction novel takes place primarily in London.  It follows the lives of 4 main characters, their love interests, and their roles in the war.  Everyone is affected by the war, their courage and bravery tested.25814512
  14. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson – added by 46,940 people on Goodreads.  August is returning home to visit her ailing father, when she spots an old friend through the window.  Memories of her childhood growing up in Brooklyn come flooding back.  The memories have a dreamlike quality to them.  There is the remembrance of not realizing her mother had died for years afterwards, always expecting her to return.  There are descriptions of a tight group of girlfriends who had once felt powerful together that are now no longer in touch.  
  15. Miller’s Valley by Anna Quidlen – added by 36,961 people.  Miller’s Valley is the story of a small town which is threatened by impending flooding.  More importantly, it is about the importance of home, which is more than a location.  It’s about memories, secrets, family and identity.26131641

These rankings were updated on 3/12/2017 and are based upon how many people have added these books to their goodreads collection of books.  They will change as time goes on and I will update accordingly.