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Old 12-06-2016, 04:49 PM   #1
Dazrin
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What were your favorite books of 2016?

It's that time of year again and we only have one (very busy) month left in 2016, so while we are thinking about our 2017 challenges and reflecting on 2016...

What books did you enjoy the most in 2016?

Did anyone read a book so thought provoking that you lost sleep over it? In a good way that is.

Or maybe you read a horror book so terrifying that you now need a night-light?

Which books did you play hookie for?

What books did you read that will go back into your to-be-read list?

Also, which books published in 2016 stood out to you? What are your early favorites for the __________ Award?

My TBR list has dwindled to only a few hundred titles (and I hear pdurrant could use some more to read too ), so help us find something wonderful to start 2017 with!

Here are the last few years posts for reference:
2015 | 2014 | 2013
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Old 12-06-2016, 04:58 PM   #2
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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things


Anyway, these are a few of my favorite things from this year...

The Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy by Cixin Liu is an excellent and multiple award winning series. The first in the series, The Three Body Problem, was the first novel by an Asian author to win the Hugo Award (in 2015) and was also nominated for several other major science fiction awards. The language is poetic and the translation is excellent. This is a book that really highlights some of the wonderful differences in culture between the East and West. The second book was released last year and the final book was released earlier this year so this is a complete series for those who don't like to start unfinished ones.

The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein is another interesting work of speculative fiction that we enjoyed for the book club in May. The author even joined us for the discussion thread (spoilers).
Quote:
Steerswomen, and a very few Steersmen, are members of an order dedicated to discovering and disseminating knowledge. Although they are foremost navigators of the high seas, Steerswomen are also explorers and cartographers upon land as well as sea. With one exception, they are pledged to always answer any question put to them with as truthful a response as is possible within their own limitations. However, they also require anyone of whom they ask questions to respond in the same manner, upon penalty of the Steerswomen's ban; those under the ban do not receive answers from the steerswomen.
The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch starring Police Constable Peter Grant. This is a mashup between urban fantasy and police procedural and is very enjoyable. It starts with Midnight Riot (or Rivers of London depending on where you are) and so far there are 5 others in the series. This series is not complete but at least the first book does not have a major arc that is continued into the others so you can read the first book and not be left at a cliffhanger. There are also some (optional) graphic novels in this series if you like those.

An honorable mention is the Commonwealth Saga by Peter F. Hamilton, Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained. I started these in 2015 but didn't finish until early 2016. There are some very memorable characters and it is an epic scale story that was completed in only 2 books so we weren't left waiting forever for a conclusion. I need to check out the later books (same world, different series) soon.

I have several books in the works that may also get on this list but these are my favorites from so far this year.

Also, I apologize if the tune is stuck in your head. I can find some Christmas lyrics to post if you prefer something seasonal.
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Old 12-06-2016, 05:18 PM   #3
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These few were the best of my first-time reads this year:

Science fiction:
* Adam Roberts, Salt.
* Gene Wolfe, The Book of the Short Sun.

Fantasy:
* Michael Moorcock, The Revenge of the Rose.

Crime fiction:
* Leif G. W. Persson, The Dying Detective.

(Adam Roberts is my author discovery of the year, he goes on my must-read-everything-ever-written-by list.)

Last edited by GeoffR; 12-06-2016 at 05:41 PM. Reason: Adam Roberts
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Old 12-06-2016, 06:10 PM   #4
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I apparently gave only three books a five-star rating on Goodreads this year:

Wes Chu's Time Siege (Time Salvager #2)
Becky Chambers' A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2)
Rosemary Kerstein's The Language of Power (The Steerswoman #4)

My honorable-mention four-star book is Dexter Palmer's Version Control.

I have high hopes that The Liberation (The Alchemy Wars #3) by Ian Tregillis will make it in under the wire as a favorite. The previous installment was a 5-star last year.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 12-07-2016 at 08:15 PM. Reason: Fixed egregious book-title mispelling
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:06 PM   #5
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Since I mentioned it and since it was specifically requested last year, here are my best reads that were published in 2016 (and read in 2016.)

The first two are by Brandon Sanderson; Bands of Mourning, book 2 in the Wax & Wayne Mistborn series, and Calamity, the final book in the Reckoners Trilogy. Both were very good but you really need to read the prior books to get much out of them. Brandon Sanderson is one of the authors where I don't mind starting a series* even if it isn't finished. He has been publishing 2-3 novels a year for the last few years, including some 1000+ page tomes, and has no signs of slowing down.

I also really enjoyed Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz. This is the first book in a new series similar to the "Equalizer" television series or the "A-Team" or even "Taken" with Liam Neeson. A highly trained operative is trying to help someone and bring some justice to the world while trying not to get caught himself. I look forward to more in the series but since this was just published many might want to wait until there is some backlog to read. There is a short story released in October (Buy a Bullet) and the next book, The Nowhere Man, is scheduled for January 17, 2017.

*I also don't mind reading episodic series if they are ongoing (like Orphan X) because they generally have a decent stopping point. Many Epic Fantasies (Game of Thrones, Wheel of Time, Stormlight Archives, etc.) are really one long story told in several books rather than several related stories and I don't like to start them if I know there will be a cliffhanger.
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:29 PM   #6
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2016's not done yet, but reccing:

FSF:

The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate, NK Jemisin: Fantasy. Far and away my best pick
All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
Defying Doomsday (postapocalyptic short stories: disabled and sick people surviving the end of the world), ed Tsana Dolichva
The Natural Way of Things, Charlotte Wood: Australian near-alternate-future. Won the Stella Prize
Company Town, Madeline Ashby
Every Heart a Doorway and Rise, Seanan McGuire and Mira Grant (who are the same person)
The Expanse series, James SA Corey: space opera
The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater: finale of a great YA fantasy series
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor
Vorkosigan books, Mirror Dance through Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (obviously I rec the whole series)

Romance and romance-adjacent:

Trade Me and Hold Me, Courtney Milan: contemporary US romance
The Year we Fell Down, Sarina Bowen: US college romance
Bronwyn Parry's Goodabri trilogy: Dead Heat, Storm Clouds, Sunset Shadows: Australian crime/romantic suspense
Level Up, Cathy Yardley: cute gamer romance
Heart of the Country and Dust on the Horizon, Tricia Stringer: historical saga around early farming in the Flinders Ranges region of South Australia

Other:

Skin Painting, Elizabeth Hodgson: Aboriginal memoir in verse
The Story of my Tits: graphic memoir
Giant Days: graphic novel, realistic YA
Home Cheese Making, Ricki Carroll: does what it says on the tin
My Sister Rosa: YA, maybe thriller? (not sure how to classify.) Realistic fiction
Sidekicks, Will Kostakis: realistic contemporary YA

Last edited by meeera; 12-16-2016 at 01:32 AM.
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Old 12-14-2016, 08:50 AM   #7
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I only read one book published in 2016, The Romanovs 1613-1918, by Simon Sebag Montefiore, and it made my ten best list.

I've only got one five-star read, Going to the Dogs: The Story of a Moralist, by Erich Kästner. Set in Germany just before Hitler, it seems all too relevant today.

My other eight choices:

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal, by Ben Macintyre
The Great Hunger: Ireland 1845-1849, by Cecil Woodham-Smith
Caesar: Life of a Colossus, by Adrian Goldsworthy

Thérèse Desqueyroux, by François Mauriac
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, by Michael Chabon
Appointment in Samarra, by John O'Hara
Flashman, by George MacDonald Fraser
The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga

I keep a running "Best" list each year and just go with it year-end. These are not necessarily the best books I read, but they stood out for me. Overall, my quality of reading and my mix were off this year, but I'm pleased that half my fiction choices were not US/UK.

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Old 12-14-2016, 09:44 AM   #8
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According to my spreadsheet, my top 10 of the year are (in ascending order)

1. Strange Weather in Tokyo - Kawakami, Hiromi
2. Young Avengers Omnibus - Gillen, Kieron
3. H is for Hawk - MacDonald, Helen
4. The Shepherd's Life - Rebanks, James
5. East of West Omnibus Vol 1 - Hickman, Jonathan
6. Dear Mr. You - Parker, Mary-Louise
7. Doomsday Book - Willis, Connie
8. Dark Night: A True Batman Story - Dini, Paul
9. Betrayal: Crisis in the Catholic Church - Boston Globe Spotlight Team
10. Love and Friendship - Austen, Jane

All of these books got 5 stars from me. My goal this year was to read more nonfiction, and 4 nonfiction titles made my top ten (3 memoirs and 1 investigative).

Also, much like last year, my #1 book of the year was read in Q1 (first week of February).
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astrangerhere View Post

Also, much like last year, my #1 book of the year was read in Q1 (first week of February).
I can beat that; my top book was read the second week of January.
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Old 12-14-2016, 12:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by issybird View Post
I can beat that; my top book was read the second week of January.
Show off
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Old 12-14-2016, 06:21 PM   #11
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No 5-stars for me this year.

Only three books earned 4-stars:
The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost
The Ruins of Gorlan by Flanagan, John
Tom Swan and the Head of St George by Christian Cameron
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:35 PM   #12
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Fun thread!

I track on an Excel spreadsheet all the books I read or listen to and rate them on a half-point scale from 0 to 5. Although, to be honest, I rarely rate a book less than 2.5 because if I dislike it that much I usually give up reading it. Life is too short and the number of books I can read in this world is finite so I have no desire to waste time on anything subpar. 4.5 stars is the highest I'll give a book I'm reading for the first time. I only give 5 to books I love and have read more than once.

I listened to a number of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels this year and gave most of them a 4.5. I have no doubt I will listen and/or read them again, so I fully expect them to attain a 5-star status on the next go-round.

One of my 5-star books I reread this year (I like to read it around Christmas) is Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. Here's my capsule description from my reading log:

Set about 50 years into the future and over 650 years in the past, this is one of my all-time favorite novels. An Oxford historian travels back in time to 1320 but inadvertently ends up in 1348, the year the Black Death hit England. I love everything about this flawed yet still so irresistible book, both futuristic Oxford (despite the perplexing lack of mobiles or other communication devices) and the medieval setting.

Here are some of my 4.5 star books from this year:
  • Everybody's Fool by Richard Russo, a follow-up to his classic Nobody's Fool (one of my 5 star novels): I had a bit of trouble with the first half of this book because it was not enough Sully and too much of other characters I didn't at first care about. However, by the second half I was riveted and could not stop reading because I was dying to know what would happen. Russo's depiction of small town life in the Northeast is bang on.
  • The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North. A memorable novel about a forgettable woman. At the age of 16, Hope begins to disappear from people's memories. Once she is out of someone's sight, she is completely forgotten. Even her own family (with the exception of her brain-damaged younger sister) forget all about her. How can she hold down a job, procure housing, lead any kind of normal life if no one can remember her? She can't, so she turns to crime: shoplifting food at first but gradually working her way up to becoming a master thief pulling off elaborate heists. Along the way she encounters "Perfection," an app that takes self-improvement to the nth degree as well as Byron14, a woman almost as elusive as herself who is determined to bring down Perfection and its creators. One of the rare novels that is both a riveting character study and a page-turning thriller.
  • Christodora by Tim Murphy. One of the top five new novels I read this year. The title refers to the name of an early 20th-century building in the East Village gentrified in the 80s. Residents of the building include Milly and Jared, an artist couple, their troubled adopted son Matteo (a boy whose mother died of AIDS when he was a baby), as well as Hector, a meth addict and former AIDS activist. Set between the late 80s and 2021, the stories of these Christodora residents and their friends, lovers, and families weave together to form a poignant narrative of love, loss, and redemption. I like the way Murphy's vignettes jumped around in time, circling ever closer to some surprising revelations, and I really came to love the characters. Beautifully written. I know I'll read this one again.
  • Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. A generous look inside the life of one of America's best musicians. I was impressed by both his honesty about himself and his own failings and his generosity and tact in depicting others in his life. Reading this autobiography, especially so soon after that phenomenal concert in September, has given me a renewed appreciation for his music. I think I'm going to have to obtain the albums of his I don't already have.
  • The Last One by Alexandra Oliva. Survivor meets The Stand. A woman competing in an extreme reality tv competition is unaware that much of the rest of the U.S. has been hit by a virulent pandemic. The chapters alternate between her point of view in her current situation and flashbacks to the beginning of the competition from the point of view of the director and editor of the tv footage. Although at times I wanted to shake her for her persistence in believing that every experience was part of the show, still I was fascinated by the situation and found this one very hard to put down.

I look forward to seeing everyone else's most enjoyable reads of 2016!
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Old 01-04-2017, 03:48 PM   #13
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My favorite from last year was:
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, very inspirational self-help kinda book that didn't take itself too seriously.

Other notable books were:
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, 2016 Pulitzer prize winner that was a surprisingly readable spy story with a unique the point of view.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows, lovely read about surviving WWII on the tiny island off the English coast.
Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty, bonus 4th book of the excellent Sean Duffy trilogy set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley, sequel to The Rook which is one of my all time favourites, not as good but still worthy of a read.
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Old 01-04-2017, 03:59 PM   #14
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I have 38 or so 5/5 reads in 2016. But obviously, some were better than others. Here are my favourite dozen books/series that I read in 2016:

Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch
Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwall
Rabbi Small series by Harry Kemelman
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois MvMaster Bujold
Thraxas and the Oracle by Martin Scott
Last First Snow by Max Gladstone
Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone
1636: The Chronicles of Dr Gribbleflotz
Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold
Alliance of Equals by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwall
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:34 PM   #15
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I just queried my Calibre DB
202 titles finished in 2016
(titles abandoned permanently get a Y2000 date which was way before Calibre and my first device and are NOT in the count)
Titles include (some free) short stories. The count does not make use of split out anthologies/omnibus) Includes re-reads

Anyway (Authors will hate me) I do not give 5 stars. that implies god like PERFECTION

My favs usually include the inability to put the volume down (There are benefits of being retired )

The 3 Penric series by L M Bujold
the 4 Dragon Precinct series by Keith DeDecandido
the 9 books in the Solar Clipper universe by Nathan Lowell

'Look inside' does work (to the disadvantage of my budget )
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