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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October Favourites

October was a rather lovely month; it usually is. It’s my birthday, so that’s always very nice, mainly because it gives me an excuse to spend money on books and/or food. October brings a proper sense of moving into Winter at last, with all the suitably aesthetically pleasing golden leaves falling off trees, and with Christmas decorations beginning to creep into supermarkets and shops. I adore Christmas, and winter is my favourite season, so I’m very much looking forward to the months ahead. However, this post is not about what is to come but what has been – specifically, these are a few of the things I enjoyed in October. If you want to see September’s favourites post, you can find it here, otherwise read on to find what I obsessed over in October.

Favourite Books

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

crookedkingdomAnd in a completely predictable turn of events, just as Six of Crows had pride of place on my September Favourites post, so does Crooked Kingdom on this October Favourites post. I inhaled this greedily over the course of the 24-hour readathon a couple of weekends ago, and I was so incredibly sad once it was over. That is the sign of a truly brilliant book. It’s a complete change of pace from the first, though, so if you’re expecting another heist then you’ll be sorely disappointed; rather, it deals with the fall-out of the conclusion of Six of Crows and its action is more focused in on that den of thieves and dubious morals that is the city of Ketterdam itself. I loved it, it’s one of my favourite books of the year, and as a duology these novels have quickly but firmly become some of my all-time favourite YA fantasies.

Favourite Films

Doctor Strange

The latest offering in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Dr Strange was a film I always knew, from the very first teaser, that I’ve have to see in the cinema, in the best way possible. Having now seen the film I’m fully convinced that if you see it in anything less than IMAX, it won’t be the same film. It’s a film that bends reality, time and space, and matter itself, so obviously depth of frame created with 3D is downright necessary. I hate 3D, it makes my eyes and head hurt, but I’d watch Dr Strange over and over again in 3D. Although I’m always a Benedict Cumberbatch fan (I even ignore the weirdness of hearing an American accent come out of that mouth), I have to say he wasn’t my favourite character at all in the film. Tilda Swinton is epic, as Tilda Swinton often is but, for my money, the cape was easily one of the best characters, second only to Wong.

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Top Ten Tuesday | Books On My Fall TBR

toptentuesday

Another Tuesday, another Top Ten Tuesday. For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and each week they post a topic for bloggers to respond to. This week’s theme is: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR. As those who have seen my latest TBR efforts might recall, I’ve ditched monthly TBRs in favour of seasonal TBRs – i.e. see my Summer TBR Review and Autumn TBR post. So this week’s topic is fairly easy for me to choose – it’s less easy to actually follow through with but shhh…

Without further ado, let’s see this list…

10. Cogheart – Peter Bunzl (x)

I fell head over heels for this book when I saw it displayed in Waterstones as their Childrens’ Book of the Month – I’m such a sucker for a good display. This book looks beautiful and includes “Murder, mayhem and mystery meet in this gripping Victorian adventure” – I mean why wouldn’t I want to read it?

9. The Girl of Ink & Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave (x)

Once again, I’m pretty sure Waterstones showcased this book at some point and it arrived on my radar because of that. This book is, visually, stunning. Seriously, illustrated borders, french-flaps, beautiful chapter headings, every inch of this book has been designed with care and detail… so I can only assume the words which accompany it are equally beautiful (and I’m pretty sure they must be!). As the blurb teases: “When [Isabella’s] closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart.” Cartography and adventures and stars – yes, please!

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