Best Books of 2016

I’ve given up trying to challenge myself to choose one favorite book every year. Like last year, I’m treating this list like an Olympic swimming final (if 10 swimmers advanced to the finals, rather than 8). And being an Olympic year, this is fitting. The top 3 books are my medalists and the remaining 7 round out my “finalists.” And, I’ve brought back the high school yearbook-style “Superlatives” from previous years (2015, 2014).

2016 was the year of the debut for me, with 6 debuts making my overall list and taking 2 of my 3 medals! For more on debuts, check out my Best Debuts of 2016 list. And, 70% of my Best of 2016 authors are female!

The Medalists

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (review)
Best Dysfunctional Family

Latest Addition to My Favorite Authors List
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Shelter by Jung Yun (review)
Most Nail-Biting First Chapter

Most Brutal
Best Balance Between Writing and Plot
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Mothers by Brit Bennett (review)
Most Gorgeous Writing
Best First Page
Caused My Most Recent Book Hangover
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Remaining Finalists

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (review)
Best Nonfiction of 2016

Most Relevant to Current Events
Best Female Heroine (Mamaw)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (review)

Best Life Lessons
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington (review)
Best Southern Coming of Age Novel

Most Recommended Book of the Year
Best Narrator’s Voice (Rocky)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (review)
Best Gritty Coming of Age

Best Food Writing
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Tender by Belinda McKeon (review)
Most Cringe-Worthy

Most Emotionally Intense
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin (review)
Most Thinly Veiled Nonfiction

Most Scandalous
Best Example of Wealthy People Behaving Badly
Biggest Surprise of the Year
Best Recovery Book
Biggest Rating Regret (I rated it 4 instead of 5 stars when I read it)
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Most Likely to Emotionally Wreck You

Most Deserving of All the Hype
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

What were your favorite books of 2016?

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