I talked about most of my top books of the year on Episode 075 of the Reading Envy Podcast. But at a glance, it's not easy to figure out which are my picks, and I have a few more I want to mention. Bear with, bear with. I read 337 books in 2016 and so many were fantastic. These are not the only good reads but the cream of the crop.
Many of my favorite reads were books translated into English.
The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy by Paulina Chiziane
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Forty Rooms by Olga Grushin
The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
Five of my favorite titles were poetry anthologies, three that came from my Africa 2016 reading. The last three were given to me as review copies but I wish I had them on my shelf with their beautiful artwork, especially the chapbook collections. Those are going on my shopping list for 2017.
Ark by Ed Madden
Physical by Andrew McMillan
New-Generation African Poets (tatu) ed. By Kwame Dawes
New-Generation African Poets (nne) ed. By Kwame Dawes
The January Children by January Elhillo
Two titles were from award lists - one won the Pulitzer and the other was shortlisted for the Man Booker (while winning other awards.) Both took place partially in Asia, both were excellent reads.
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
Three titles, all very different from one another, all had one thing in common - a very strong female voice, and cold weather islands. Different genres, different islands, but unforgettable.
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett
Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand
The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
One book lingers without a grouping, but I have to include it. An Instagram friend tells me I will find his other books just as memorable and I can't wait. This is a great read about marriage and identity, as true now as it was in 1975.