After my new book marathon in 2015, I decided to take the pressure off myself in 2016 and not set myself a goal. I also allowed myself to re-read anything I fancied too, so my new book number is sort of pitiful, but I had a lovely old time going down memory lane with my favourite stories.
So here we have it: my top 5 books of 2016
I’ll Give You The Sun — Jandy Nelson
Jandy Nelson is one of my instant-buy writers. Her style is so poetic and stunning. I love her voice and I love her characters. I was also lucky enough to meet her at a book signing in Liverpool Waterstones, so my signed copy is now totally dog-eared and loved. As it should be, in my humble opinion. This book is one of those keep reading until it’s done no matter the time sort of books, and I did just that. At a work conference. When I had bloody corporate yoga to tackle at six the next morning. But it was totally worth it.
Another “rule” I relinquished this year was my category. In 201, I read maybe 85% YA novels only. I love YA — obviously! — but this year everything was an option. I found that I read things I never would have considered the year prior. So yay for mixing it up. Which brings me on to my number 2….
Ready Player One — Ernset Cline
This has been a book that I’ve heard of in passing for ages, but I didn’t think it would be for me. I was so wrong. It’s a great near-future adventure story, weaving in heaps of nostalgia, while at the same time giving us a glimpse of our own dystopic future. I loved Wade, the protagonist, and I loved the rag-tag group of kids who have to bring down the Big Bad. It’s a brilliantly plotted story that’s full of heart. I read this during Nanowrimo and actually found myself skipping writing time to spend time in this world. So that is really saying something.
The Trespasser — Tana French
My favourite writer, I think. I love Tana French! I got this book as an ARC — my first ever one! — and I was so ecstatic I was counting down the days until it arrived. And of course, Tana did not disappoint. I spent January re-reading the previous five books in this amazing series, in preparation for number six. It was another of those addictive books where you cancel all plans and just curl up with it the moment you get home at night. I love her characters, and her writing is so stunning. Out of this world. I can’t wait for the next instalment in the series.
N0S4A2 — Joe Hill
I grew up obsessing/reading Stephen King, and I’ve no idea how it took me so long to discover his son, but I’m so glad I did. Nosferatu (because I can’t type that title properly again) is an incredibly disturbing, dark, back-tingling horror. Which means of course that I adored every minute of it. I can’t help but draw comparisons to Mr King, But Joe’s voice is all his own. I also read FIREMAN by Joe Hill this year, and I’m currently reading HEART-SHAPED BOX. I loves him.
The Art Of Being Normal — Lisa Williamson
I also got this signed. EEK! This is a fantastic YA book. You can tell on every page that the writer has researched her characters’ stories inside and out, and she always treats the matter of gender identity with honesty and respect. And on top of that, the characters themselves are wonderful! I loved this book. It was a breath of fresh air in some ways. I can’t wait for Lisa’s next book, which is out soon. I shall most certainly be buying.
Someday, Someday, Maybe — Lauren Graham
I love Lauren Graham. I love her in Gilmore Girls and I love her in Parenthood, and I think she’s incredibly intelligent and funny outside of her roles, too. I found her book and thought I’d give it a go. I was really glad I did. Her voice is wonderful and authentic, and the story, which is about a young actress trying to get an agent and make it in New York, is written with so much authority her characters felt real. After reading it, I kept brain-farting, hoping to see Franny Banks on the next billboard ad I walked by. I was really rooting for her to succeed. Plus, even if you’re not interested in acting, it’s a universal story that’s accessible to anyone with a dream. The struggles, the self-doubt, the elation at success are the same, no matter what we’re striving for. So yeah. I enjoyed it. Read it.
The Grownup — Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn is another of my instant-buy writers. This is an iddie-biddie little story that packs all the best parts of a Gillian Flynn book into a small package. I read it on Audible, and it’s less than two hours long, but I found it gripping, and twisty, and it’s stayed with me much longer than any short story has a right to do. So it definitely earns an honourable mention.
So there we have it: my concise 2016 favourites wrap-up. I’ve honestly no clue what my plans are for 2017 reading-wise, I just know I want to continue reading widely, and spontaneously, and I’m interested to see where that takes me.