Goodbye 2016, and thanks for all the amazing books! Between all of us at LQ, we read quite a few wonderful books this year. We’ve somehow narrowed them down and picked out our favorites. Without further ado, here they are!
What were your favorite reads of 2016?
Note: These didn’t necessarily come out in 2016 – we just read them and loved them 💕
Choosing a favorite book from this year was tough! However, I think I’m going to have to go with Jennifer Worth’s Call the Midwife. Originally published in 2002, this is the true story of Worth’s time as a district nurse and midwife in London’s East End during the 1950s. You may have heard of the show by the same name (if not, definitely check it out), and I promise the book is just as good. It’s a moving, interesting look into this era and I recommend it wholeheartedly. I’ve also rarely come across more lovable, colorful characters. They really come to life in the audiobook, which I also recommend.
Additionally, I want to mention my favorites of what I’ve read so far of the books published in 2016. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett is a well-written, relatable family drama, while Swing Time by Zadie Smith is unlike anything I’ve ever read — in a really good way.
My favorite read of 2016 was hands down Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback. I’ll let you read my review for more details, but this cold, dark mystery held my attention like no book I’ve read in years. I admittedly don’t read many titles published and created outside the United States, but this opened my eyes and I have enjoyed finding more international books to broaden my horizons!
When Joli asked me to pick a favorite book from 2016, it was a hard choice! I was pulled between nonfiction: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown (reviewed here by Kathleen), and fiction: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. So I just chose both! Brown’s writing is incredible. He manages to take personal stories, diaries, news clippings, race reports, and more to develop a fully fleshed nonfiction narrative. I’ve never read any nonfiction like it, which is probably why I loved it. I’ve been recommending this to anyone and everyone. After reading so many WWII books over the years, I wasn’t expecting to be as enthralled with The Nightingale as I was. It’s a beautiful story with beautiful writing. This one totally lived up to the hype.
I read some really amazing books this year, so this is a difficult choice. However, when I was scrolling down the list of books I read, there were two that really stood out, so that’s what I went with! First is All the Light We Cannot See by Anothny Doerr. I raved about it in my review here. The way he spun that story is pure magic…his writing is like poetry, it just flows! I lost myself in that book. The other book I absolutely loved this year is Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. I also raved about this one in a review here. The quirk…it got to me! I love a good, quirky read, and this one had me chuckling out loud. I thought her writing was fantastic, and the story was so entertaining, I flew through it while I was on the Amtrak train home from Montana.
This isn’t hard for me: It’s Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (find my review here). The story begins at Franny Keating’s christening party. In a weird and inevitable moment, a guest at that party, Bert Cousins, kisses Franny’s mother when the two are alone in the baby’s room. So begins the entanglement of four parents and two sets of siblings that lasts more than 50 years. These relationships invite an interrogation of the meaning of family and power. Who has “full citizenship,” as Franny puts it? Who decides? Fantastic.