My best books of 2016

In 2016, I read 31 books but there were very few that rocked my world!! Lots were okay, three I gave up on (Zola…yawn) but a few were truly wonderful! These were my best books of 2016 and ones I would really recommend you check out from the library.

When breath becomes air – Paul Kalanithi

I read this book on our cruise in April. It was much hyped in the media and I knew the outcome before I read it, but this book lived up to the hype. The  memoir of a young oncologist who is diagnosed with terminal cancer, it’s a very thoughtful, beautifully written reflection on death. It’s not a light read (I sobbed and sobbed) but it’s genuinely beautiful and his final paragraph is one of the most heart-breaking, poignant, breathtaking paragraphs I’ve ever read. Definitely recommended.


The Little House on the Prairie series

I started reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books with the Dude this year. He loves them and we’re working our way throughout the 9 books in the series. They are great books, bringing to life the hardships, challenges and ingenuity of the pioneers who populated the west. The early books are very much ‘kids’ books, but the latter books are much more sophisticated. ‘The Long Winter‘ for example is almost stressful as the family come close on several occasions to starvation.

There are some very uncomfortable passages about attitudes towards Native Americans but they’re a good spring board for conversations with small people. It’s been great reading these books over the year. We have a few more in the series to read and I am genuinely looking forward to reading them.

I read a number of other kids’ books this year including Roald Dahl’s ‘The BFG’ for the first time and although it terrified the Dude and I had to stop reading it to him, I thought it was fantastic!

Home – Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson is one of my very favourite writers. I did NOT like Homecoming, but Gilead was wonderful and this year I read Home. It’s a slow read, I took about a month to read it because I wanted to wallow in it, I wanted to cherish every sentence. It is incredibly beautiful and moving, it’s a real treasure. Definitely my favourite book of 2016.

I also read Robinson’s Lila this year and I also enjoyed it very much but it didn’t measure up to Home.

book reading cabin

Harry Potter and the Philospher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone – JK Rowling

I think I am the very last Brit in the world to read Harry Potter but last month, I gave it a shot. Clearly I loved it. LOVED it. Cannot wait to read the next one. But most of you knew that already!

I’d genuinely love to know your best few books of 2017. I need inspiration. Comments below, please!

10 Comments Add yours

  1. I LOVE to read and am always looking for recommendations. Up until the end of this year I was in a book club so there was plenty of reading.

    A few of my favorites:
    The Nightingale (probably my favorite of the past few years)
    Still Alice (not new, and also a movie, but so interesting)
    The Kindness of Strangers (not a very pleasant topic but a good read)
    The Language of Flowers

    Hope this helped! 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      This DOES help, thank you!! I’ve read the Nightingale but the others are new to me!

      1. Did you like the Nightingale? (just curious if our tastes are similar)

      2. Cathryn says:

        I have mixed views. It was very readable and I flew through it, but I thought it wasn’t particularly well written and was quite melodramatic. I didn’t root for any of the characters, which for me is a sign of good writing, that I care about the characters. I do think it will make an excellent movie though.

  2. Jen says:

    If you’re looking for something light and easy, but still well-written, I recommend Liane Moriarty. Think “Desperate Housewives” but less over-the-top and set in Australia.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Oooh, thanks!! On it.

  3. Suzanne says:

    I had a rough year with books in that there weren’t any memorable and there were a lot in the “dnf” pile. My faves for the last several years are”

    The Kitchen House
    The House Girl
    The Help
    The Fault in Our Stars
    Born To Run
    the first three Game of Thrones books
    Lady Midnight – I have loved everything Cassandra Clare (clockwork series, city of bones series)
    An Ember in the Ashes
    The Fifth Wave

    I also love all the Harry Potter books and was just considering a re-read!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thanks for the recommendations – I appreciate them lots!

  4. Emma Fawcett says:

    There’s probably others but found Elena Ferrante last year – My Brilliant Friend – set in Naples – apparently not her best but unlike anything I’ve ever read really
    Cover art makes it out like cheap romance unfortunately but far from it…
    Anyway – just throwing it in the mix!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I’ve read all those books – I enjoyed the first one the most. But if you think of anything else like that, let me know!! BTW…googling houses in the Cotswolds this week 🙂

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