2016 Best Fiction Books of the Year

Every year, books are my go-to holiday gift for moms and dads and in-laws. Over the years, I’ve come up with a method involving reading as many  “best of” lists as I can and keeping and noting the books showing up over and over. It’s not scientific, but the books at the top either were mentioned more often, or would be more interesting to the people I’m buying books for. I leave off authors who seem to show up every other year just by putting out a book. They might have created lovely novels, but they’re not getting on here. There are also a few books which only showed up on one list, but had especially interesting descriptions. Finally, there are obviously books which I missed.

(Also, maybe this is a book blog now? The last thing I posted was a list of all the books I read last year. And if I can find the time, I’ll post all the books I read this year, though it wasn’t many because a tiny baby lived in my bedroom for most of the year, and still does. Maybe I’ll post every day next year. Who knows.)

What follows is a list of fiction distilled from at least 20 different best of lists. The order is roughly alphabetical, with the books I’m really excited about getting for people and reading myself at the top. Let me know what I missed, what you’ve read, want to read, or hate.

All That Man Is by David Szalay
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter (This came out last year, but I couldn’t find it in the US)
Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett
Mischling by Affinity Konar
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Pond by Claire Louise-Bennett
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
The American War Omar by El Akkad
The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan
The Boat Rocker by Ha Jin
The Girls by Emma Cline
The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith
The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride The Mothers by Brit Bennett
The Nix by Nathan Hill
The North Water by Ian McGuire
The Regional Office Is Under Attack by Manuel Gonzalez
The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan
The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam
The Trespasser by Tana French
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
The Wangs vs The World by Jade Chang The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
Version Control by Dexter Palmer What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell
What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

The Sellout by Paul Beatty This is an honorable mention because it was on a lot of lists last year AND this year.

Special Non-Fiction Bonus Section:
The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time by Maria Konnikova
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond


2016 Best Fiction Books of the Year

One thought on “2016 Best Fiction Books of the Year

  1. Wondered when you’d post again. Annually is better than not at all! Your lists make my reading list longer. Thanks. Currently, I’m finding “The Art of Richard Thompson,” “Yosemite and the High Sierra” (photos by Ansel Adams), “Team of Rivals,” “Breakaway,” memoir by maverick northwest Iowa doctor Dan Murphy and “An Instance of the Fingerpost” good reading. Nobody said I was trendy.

    Liked by 1 person

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