Best Books of 2016

Welcome one, welcome all, to the inevitable and downright obligatory Best Books of 2016 post that isn’t at all subjective or biased in any way. (Disclaimer: that sentence was entirely a lie.)

(If you’re looking for my more stats-based wrap up of 2016 then please do pop over to my 2016: A Bookish Year In Review post!)

I’m sure you’ve seen enough of these lists floating around in the past week or so but, basically, I’ve decided to draw a line under (let’s face it a pretty crappy) 2016 in the most positive way possible – by celebrating some absolutely brilliant books that I’ve read this past year. They may not necessarily have been published in 2016, but all of them were read by yours truly in these past twelve months and, it’s safe to say, if they made this list and have stuck around despite my patchy memory, then they must have been something special. Each of these books has well and truly earned their place on this list and I’ve detailed the not-at-all-incoherent reasoning behind each choice below so that, hopefully, my flailing might persuade you to read them yourself if you haven’t already.

Right, without further ado, let’s do this like the music charts, in reverse order, shall we?

burialritescoverHonourable Mention: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Why?: When people say a story is “haunting”, I finally know what they mean thanks to Hannah Kent’s novel. Set in Iceland, it follows the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, the last person to be sentenced to death in the country. From the outset we are told what Agnes has allegedly done and this characterisation of her as a “murderess” haunts her every word and interaction from this opening page. Add onto that Kent’s chilling writing style which masterfully evokes the harsh, bleak, but beautiful, Icelandic landscape, and you have an absolutely astounding book that has stayed with me for many months.

“To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things.”

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Friday Reads | 23rd December

As you might have seen from the last time I did a Currently Reading sort of post back on 10th/11th December, I was reading J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and I’m happy to report that I have finally finished both those books! I’m especially pleased that I’ve finally completed All the Light We Cannot See as it’s a book that I’d spent way longer reading than I ordinarily would. However, given the content of the narrative and how beautiful the storytelling is, I am quite glad I took my time with it, especially since I went into the book with such high expectations and being told by practically everyone that it’s amazing. I’m glad that I can now say that I agree – All the Light We Cannot See is indeed beautiful and it has made me rethink my Best of 2016 list which I’d already compiled before I had finished it.

Now, enough of the past, let’s move on to the present and the future, namely what I’ll be reading today/this weekend. I’m sure it’s impossible to escape the knowledge that this weekend happens to contain Christmas Eve/Day. So, reading might be a little intermittent because Christmas and because Christmas films. Likewise, I’m at home visiting my parents so I don’t have any of my books with me (believe me, realising I should probably not pick out a book to bring home was torture) but I do have an Overdrive account, my phone, and my Kindle. So, really, I’m not at all bookless. With that in mind, I have a couple of books lined up…

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