2016 kind of happened in two parts: the first half I was reading so much I could hardly believe it, and the second half I barely read anything at all. But I still had a lot of favourites, so I thought I would share my best reads of the year! (These are not necessarily books that were released in 2016, just ones I happen to have read during the year.)
The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
I hadn’t read anything truly epic in a while, so these books shocked me with how amazing they were. The story follows Kvothe, a lonely and mysterious innkeeper in a small town who gets a visit from a historian by the name of Chronicler. Chronicler knows that Kvothe is famous, a legend, and that he is hiding for some reason, pretending to never have existed. He wants to write down the man’s story, and while Kvothe tells it we get to hear it in all its epic glory. If you love Skyrim and want a book series with that same feel and atmosphere, these are must-reads! (Full review of The Wise Man’s Fear can be found here.)
Room by Emma Donoghue
This book is emotional, beautiful, clever, and just all-around perfect. It’s about a woman who was kidnapped by an older guy and now lives in this small room with her son. The best thing is the narrator: the story is told from the son’s point of view, and he is a child who has never seen anything outside the room they are trapped in. It was gripping and incredibly fascinating, and while a lot of people get bored with the second half, I liked it even better than the first one.
Graffiti (and other poems) by Savannah Brown
This is the first book I reviewed on my blog, and that fact makes me very happy because it is still my favourite poetry collection. Savannah Brown is a famous (ish) Youtuber who talks about all kinds of interesting things, from writing to philosophy to just surviving your daily life. I started watching her videos when she had just started making them and had long, blonde hair – now her hair is short and black and she’s unapologetically herself. She sometimes reads her poetry on her channel, so I recommend checking out her videos. You can also read my full review of the collection here.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
This is, hands down, my favourite read of the year. This book broke me. It’s a retelling of the Iliad, and in this version Patroclus is the narrator, and he and Achilles are explicitly lovers (whoooop gay retellings!). The writing is incredible, the story is beautiful and epic, the characters are wonderful and just. Read it. Seriously. Just read it. (You can check out my full review here for more feels.)
Hold your Own by Kate Tempest
Another poetry collection, because I freaking love poetry. Kate Tempest is an amazing writer with a lot of opinions, and she also does rap music apparently? All I can say for sure is that this is a wonderful collection with a beautiful cover, and that everyone should read it. (Full review here.)
A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen
I think this deserves especially high praise considering it’s the only non-fiction book on this list. It’s the memoir of a recovering drug addict who finds a cat sitting in front of his apartment, and it develops into the cutest friendship you will ever read about. James Bowen is an incredibly intelligent and caring guy, the way he talks about his life (and the cat) is heartwarming and sweet, and the book offers some surprisingly intense moments. If you’re looking for a light read that’s not too light, I would definitely recommend this. (My full review and more pictures of Bob can be found here.)
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This is not my favourite book by Adichie, but it still definitely deserves a place on this list. She’s an amazing writer, her characters come to live through her stories and her descriptions of Nigeria make you feel like you’re actually there. This book in particular follows Kambili, a teenager with an extremely religious family. (You can check out my full review here.)
Life as we knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer
This novel is a different take on the dystopian genre. Instead of the oppressive government and conspiracies, we get a natural disaster that leaves one family trying to survive by sticking together. It’s both heartbreaking and -warming and feels incredibly real, and it’s the last truly amazing book I read in 2016. (My full review can be found here.)
And those are my favourite reads of the year! On a completely unrelated note, you guys might have noticed that I completely redesigned my blog; it’s now truly Ravenclaw themed and I’m super excited about it! If you’re curious about any of the pictures and/or fonts I used, I put all the info on my about page, so feel free to have a look. I hope you guys like the new spacey aesthetic!
‘Till next time and happy reading!