Best Books of 2016 Compilation

Maybe 2016 was an all-out Dumpster Fire for you. Maybe it wasn’t. Either way, you probably missed some great books as the months sped by. I have compiled a resource list to help you choose your next book (a best book) before 2017 takes over and you have to keep up with those.

I have broken them into some categories to make it easier to peruse. Perhaps you like Award winners. Committees form, discuss, celebrate a winner. Man Booker Award winners are usually great books for me because they are often quirky. However, they do not allow Americans to enter, so if you want an American experience, go instead with the PEN or the National Book Award winners. Of course, if you want to give someone new a chance, the Hemingway award is only for debut novelists.

But maybe prizes are meaningless. There are deadlines and politics involved. No problem! I have also compiled a list of “Best of…” from a number of different resources. The typical news outlets that have book reviews like the New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, but also a little less literary, like Harper’s Bazaar. But, if you want to get insider knowledge, there is also Publisher’s Weekly.

imgresOf course, there are a few books that are on every list or almost every list. One is Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad. If you haven’t read it,  put it on the list. In non-fiction, Evicted by Matthew Desmond. imgres-1

But read on, friends. It is the best way to understand the miles of someone else’s shoes.

Award winners:


Not into the whole content thing?

*Best Book Covers of 2016 according to Paste Magazine

Best of 2016 lists:


Best of luck with your To-Read-Next Pile.



Thoughts on E-Readers vs. Books

Thoughts on E-reading versus paper-and-glue books: the short version.

Pros of the e-Reader phenomenon:

  • I have a ton of books with me, and it is only a pound.  Great for traveling, if you read as much as me.  Lots of free and discounted books, including the service called Oyster, which bills itself as the “Netflix for books.”  (I do subscribe, and I admit that I read things on there that I would never, ever buy, so it is definitely a beneficial service for those of us who might need to expand our horizons.
  • Also, with the online self-publishing, there are so many more writers who are writing, and can develop a following, bypassing the traditional publishing structure.

Cons of the e-Reader phenomenon:

  • My biggest pet peeve of my free books: lack of copyediting.  When the names change half-way through the book.  Or a sentence has been sloppily edited so it reads something like, “Carol said and it said…”  Those books bum me out.  Pay an English Major $100 to edit your work if you can’t afford to bring it to a professional editor.  I do feel that in the adrenaline rush after one writes “The End,” the author wants to get it out there as soon as possible.  But wait!  Editing is important.  A clean copy does wonders for the reader, and helps build the reputation of the author.  Plus it make the author look smart.
  • I love browsing in a brick-and-mortar bookstore.  I love funky used bookstores more than chains, and I love taking my books to the cashier and a skinny college-aged boy giving me his book reviews about the books I am buying, and how the author has another coming out in a month, or if I liked that book, try this other guy out.  It is the actual conversation, not the bottom of the Amazon page saying, “Other customers also bought this…”

Conclusion: I do like both.  I like the ease of the E-reader.  I love the people of the paperback.  Why does it have to be exclusionary?  Yes, when I am on a plane, I have my kindle.  But at home, I usually have a trade paperback.