Overall it was a great reading year for me. I didn’t get as many read as I would have hoped. Nor did I tackle the ever growing TBR pile as wanted. (Stats and 2016 goals to come in a few weeks)
These ten novels are the ones I pushed the most this year and they’ve stayed with me for many different reasons. Why did these books make the cut? I have a few sentences stating so and maybe you’ll consider giving one a try. Click on each title for full gushing and they are listed in order of when I read them. I also think any of these would make decent book group picks.
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara. This book wrecked me in March and I knew pretty much anything I read would pale in comparison. The topics are very tough, I won’t lie, but sometimes the darkest stories bring in the most light.
Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller. It got me out of my A Little Life slump and back into a world filled with survival, suspense and much to talk about.
Hausfrau – Jill Alexander Essbaum. I love books about women, marriage and mental illness. This one has it all and leaves much to discuss. March turned out to be my best month of reading!
The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah. We parted ways many years ago, Hannah and myself. I wasn’t looking to read another “Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit” book and felt like the war novels were everywhere lately. But I gave this a chance and so glad I did. This historical fiction novel focuses on the women of war, specifically two sisters and the different paths they take.
The Kind Worth Killing – Peter Swanson. I don’t read enough thriller/mystery/suspense novels. Maybe because I’m difficult to shock, but this one actually made me yell out loud. Several times. I’m also wary of reimaginations/recreations of classics and Swanson’s take of Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train was excellent.
Our Souls at Night – Kent Haruf. This short book with simple and honest prose was beautiful. I’ve been reading more books lately with themes of elders in their final years and this one did me in. Maybe it was because it was his last novel before he died. I don’t know but I want to read his backlist more than ever.
The Beautiful Bureaucrat – Helen Phillips. Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dystopia isn’t a genre I read much of and this weird, confusing and creepy novel had me captivated from page one. I’m still scratching my head but Phillips’ writing and play on words was brilliant.
The Animals – Christian Kiefer. This wasn’t on my radar at all until I saw some tweets from fellow readers exclaiming love for this book. Second chances, dark pasts and the connection to animals was beautifully intertwined.
Black River – S.M. Hulse. I haven’t seen this book on any favorite lists and it hasn’t had the buzz it totally deserves. Aside from A Little Life this book was one of my top favorite novels all year. Dark with a western feel.
Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff. Again, I enjoy reading books about marriages and this one is more dysfunctional than the characters want you to believe.
How can you pick only 10, you ask? Well, next week I’m going to recap my favorite short stories/short story collections that I read this year because next to novels, they are my fave.