For some reason I have decided that the best time to write out this blog post is immediately after a nine hour shift at work. My feet hurt, my brain feels fried, but hey! what else is going to perk me up more than talking about my absolute favourite books I read in 2016.
This past year has been simultaneously the best and worst reading year of my life. Best, because a large percentage of books I read I loved. But also worst, because unlike some years where I’ve read over 100 books, I only managed to read 34. But looking back I have no complaints! I’ve mostly stuck to my goals and I am really looking forward to the year coming.
But today’s not about that, it’s all about looking back at the last 366 days and trying to decide which books make the cut for this list.
Running Like China by Sophie Hardcastle
I read this memoir earlier in the year and immediately fell in love with Sophie’s writing, story and every she has to offer the world. Running Like China is an honest account of her years spent suffering with Bipolar Disorder and mental illness. Personally, I found this memoir (in a strange way) therapeutic and it’s definitely one I will re-read in the coming years. I wrote an entire gush review back in August, and if you’d like, you can read that here.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
It took a lot for a novel to grab my attention this year but Everything I Never Told You did just that. This one is the story of a Chinese-American family living in small-town Ohio in the 1970’s who are dealing with the death of their middle child, Lydia. It isn’t so much a murder mystery, but instead a beautifully written novel that covers issues from broken families to depression, and prejudice to belonging. Slipping in bits about race-identity and gender-identity, there was no way that this book wasn’t going to make my favourites. Read my review here.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
I truly have trouble trying to give a synopsis to this book, but ultimately it may just be one of my favourite books of all time. Station Eleven is an apocalyptic novel that jumps back and forward in time over decades and follows the story of a cast of characters. Mandel’s writing is as beautiful as it is powerful and truly makes you feel a part of the story. I have yet to be able to review this novel, however it is one that has stayed on my mind since the moment I closed the final page.
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
This novel is all the more upsetting to talk about in light of recent news (lay easy, Carrie) but the fact remains that it was definitely one of my favourite 2016 reads. I picked this up at the most perfect time (read more in my review) and flew through it in barely two sittings. Based off her one woman show of the same name, Wishful Drinking chronicles Carrie’s time with drug abuse, hypersexuality, and manic depression – and unexpectedly it was hilarious. Carrie brings much needed light to situations that are often seen as nothing but darkness, and I truly needed that when I picked this up. It is definitely a book I will revisit in the future, but for now I’m hoping that her other works can live up to my expectations after this gem of a book.
The Girls by Emma Cline
The Girls by Emma Cline is a beautifully written novel about young girl Evie Boyd as she remembers her adolescent summer adventures getting caught up in a Manson-like cult. This novel was definitely a hit or miss amongst most, however what others seemed to dislike I came to love. The writing was crafted beautifully and I became engrossed in Evie and her adventures at The Ranch. This was definitely one of the “it” books of the year, and I definitely understand why. I reviewed it in depth here.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
To round off my favourites, I had to mention this personal and wonderfully written essay by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that discusses what feminism in modern day means to different people. Modified from her Tedx talk of the same name, Chimamanda explores what it means to be a woman today and draws stories from her own experience living in the U.S and in her native Nigeria. It is a short, 49 page essay (though it doesn’t even feel that long) that is truly phenomenal – definitely something everyone should read.
I’m very interested to hear what everyone else’s favourite books of the year were! Novels, memoirs, essays or poems – please leave them down in the comments so I can check them out 🙂