With December and 2016 nearly drawing to a close, it’s that time of the year again for reflection. It hasn’t exactly been the greatest year ever for me, but I did manage to finish 43 books. Considering I had been busy with my master degree and my thesis the first half of 2016, I’m still surprised by the amount of books I’ve managed to finish. I don’t think I’ll finish more books in the next few days, so I thought it’d be fun to make a list of my favourite reads of the year. This list doesn’t include any books I’ve reread. Also, these books are in no particular order and they have not been necessarily released this year.
The Redbreast (Harry Hole #3) by Jo Nesbø
Genre: crime (Scandinavian)
I’ve read this book for an elective about crime fiction. It was the very first Scandinavian crime novel I’ve ever read, and man, did it leave a good impression. It requires some suspension of disbelief when it comes to the culprit, but the characters are interesting, there are multiple POV even across various time spans, and the narrative includes a historical angle that exposes the role of Norway in WWII. I would definitely like to read more by this author.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Genre: science fiction (post-apocalyptic)
As I’ve already mentioned in my review, this was easily among my favourite novels of the year. The lovely prose, the interesting setting, the wonderful characters, and the way the narrative unfolds with POVs across different points in time made this an amazing read. I also loved the way the book argues that mere survival in a dangerous and fallen world is not enough, and how a comic and the plays by Shakespeare still survived.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Genre: young adult (contemporary, lgbt)
I’m not a fan of romance fiction, but this was packaged in such a remarkable way that I still decided to read it. Okay, and the recommendation by a coworker might have done the trick. Though Albertalli does not shy away from issues like homophobia, in the end this is an adorable and heartwarming story about friendship and family, and includes a very sweet romance. It was nice to read a happy book dealing with this subject material!
The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard #3) by Scott Lynch
I love this series because of the interesting characters and their interactions and the amazing worldbuilding. This third installment of Lynch’s series involving con artist Locke Lamora definitely doesn’t disappoint. There’s plenty of action, scheming, (political) intrigue, witty remarks, and heartwarming moments that made me love the previous two books. Also, this book finally included the amazing Sabetha. Can’t wait for The Thorn of Emberlain!
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Though this book was admittedly a little style over substance, the beautiful prose more than makes up for this (for lack of a better term) “flaw”. There isn’t much character development in this novel, and the plot is a little thin. However, this book is not about the characters or telling a story. It’s about a thing, the titular Night Circus, the atmosphere the prose and its subject matter manages to convey, and the effect it has on its (fictional and actual) audience. The magical duel of its characters and its thin plot are merely a device to paint a very intriguing circus.
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) by Ann Leckie
Genre: science fiction (space opera)
As mentioned in my review, this was a book that made me think. Though this is a wonderful space opera with action and political intrigue with an AI of a ship as its main character, Ancillary Justice also questions gender and identity. Though initially confusing, partly due to its gender ambiguity, and definitely not an easy read, this is definitely a novel that will stay with me over the years. I can’t wait to read the other two parts of this trilogy.
So, this includes my list of my favourite books of 2016. There were plenty of other books I also enjoyed, but that would make this list way too long, so I ended up limiting myself to the ones I felt were the most interesting. What were your favourite books this year? Anything that was particularly interesting? Let me know in a comment below.