The Best Books I Read in 2016
From the 25 books I read in 2016, here's a list of the nine best ones. There are four works of non-fiction, one psychological thriller, two modern classics and an entertaining riff on the beloved classic Jane Eyre. Surprisingly, quite a diverse bunch of choices from a total of just 25.
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
This was the best thriller I read this year. Engrossing and intelligent, I had no idea where this story was heading. A teacher becomes obsessed with her student's family leading to tragic consequences.
Justine by Lawrence Durrell
So after it languished on my shelves for years, I finally tackled the first book in the daunting Alexandria Quartet. It's not easy to latch onto at all but I love it for its atmosphere plus it has passages of just gorgeous writing. I hope to tackle book two, Balthazar in 2017.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
I don't know a thing about rowing but I was completely immersed in the lives of these young men and their quest for gold. My book club loved it too.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Beautifully written and completely heartbreaking.
Reunion by Fred Uhlman
This is a gem of a novella about the friendship of two boys from distinct backgrounds in 1930s Germany.
The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson
This was my first time reading Maggie Nelson and I was blown away by her writing talent. The Red Parts is Nelson's account of how her aunt's murder in 1969, before she was even born, has affected her family for decades. Emotions come to a head when the case is suddenly reopened in 2007 with new DNA evidence.
So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell
A beautiful novella about a murder in 1920s Illinois and the friendship between two lonely boys.
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
Of all the books on this list, this one is the lightest one and probably the most fun. A great holiday or beach read especially if you love Jane Eyre and Victorian sensation novels.
Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis
I wouldn't exactly say I'm a big fan of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers although I always loved their unique style and of course that song, Under the Bridge. I sampled this on a whim and I just could not put it down. This true tale of stardom, addiction and redemption was a riveting read from beginning to end.