My Top 5 Books Read in 2016

Happy New Year

Wow! 2016 has gone by in a flash. It’s been a turbulent year politically and there are many reasons to want it over and done with. However, I’ve personally made some happy memories and will be thinking about the positive bits of 2016 as we welcome in the new year.

Some of my good memories include my two month trip to Asia, where I read a lot and visited some great bookshops, moving to Prague in July and getting engaged last month. It was all very exciting stuff! I haven’t read and blogged as much as I would have liked though, so hopefully I’ll pick up the habit again in 2017.

But for now I’ll end 2016 you with my five favourite books (in no particular order) that I read this year…

story-of-the-lost-child-coverThe Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

I was sad to be reading the last of the Neapolitan novels but it was the perfect book to pack for my summer holiday in Italy. It’s a wonderful series to get immersed in especially if, like me, you count Naples as one of your favourite cities.

Reasons to Stay Alive book coverReasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

I picked this fantastic book up at the beginning of my Asia trip. It’s very readable and non-patronising – a must read for anyone who knows someone who suffers (or who suffers themselves) with anxiety or depression. In fact, I think everyone should read Reasons to Stay Alive.

the-golden-notebookThe Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

I took me ages to get through this tome. It wasn’t easy and I didn’t enjoy every moment. There is so much to take in and I feel I need to tackle it again at some point, preferably as part of a read-along so that I can discuss the various strands with other people. The ending was particularly intense and distressing, making it one of my most memorable reads this year.

necessary-errorsNecessary Errors by Caleb Crain

As this was set in Prague, it was the perfect book to read while I settled in to my new city. I loved reading about places that I know so well and learning about what life was like for expats living here in the early nineties. A brilliant debut novel by Crain.

 

eats-shoots-and-leaves-by-lynne-trussEats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss

I’ve done a fair bit of proofreading this year and Lynne Truss has really helped me out. This witty guide to punctuation should be on the bookshelf of every writer, blogger or student!

Favourite Bookshop

I discovered so many fantastic bookshops this year in Indonesia and Thailand and I had to include my favourite in this post. Backstreet Books in Chaing Mai wins without a doubt. I spent hours discovering all the nooks and crannies and wish it wasn’t quite so far away! Who knows if I will ever get a chance to visit it again!

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What were the best books you read in 2016?

And what books are you looking forward to in 2017?

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8 thoughts on “My Top 5 Books Read in 2016

  1. Reasons To Stay Alive is such an honest read. I thought the lists, particularly Things people say to depressives that they don’t say in other life-threatening situations, were so poignant. Definitely opened my eyes to the stigma around mental illness. I confess I started The Golden Notebook last year and gave up fifty pages in. I can still clearly remember the opening chapter though so I might have to give it another go sometime! I think The Bell Jar was the most memorable book for me. I didn’t think I would love it half as much as I did but it just got under my skin!

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    • I gave my copy of Reasons to Stay Alive away when I was travelling and am planning to buy it again! I think it’s the sort of thing to pick up whenever you are in the mood. It’s so easy to read. I’m happy a gave it to someone else though, I helped to spread the word a little bit!

      I haven’t read The Bell Jar for a long time. I’ve heard there might be a film soon, so I’ll definitely have to read it again before watching!

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  2. My top five books of the 2016 were as follows:
    As I Walked Out One Summer Morning by Laurie Lee
    I Giorni dell Abbandono by Elena Ferrante
    Lila by Marilynn Robinson
    Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi
    The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding

    As I reflect on this list I see that I have chosen books written with exquisite style, creating atmospheres in whichI could be completely immersed. The Elena Ferrante book was hard going,especially as I read it in Italian. It was worth the effort. The House by the Lake which was really a history book taught me so much about the past hundred years in Berlin. It has inspired me to revisit the city sometime soonI hope.
    As for the other three books , apart from their fascinating content their beauty was in achieving an almost poetic prose.
    A choice of five books isn’t really enough and I could go on, but I will mention my rereading of Jan Morris’s Trieste, The Meaning of Nowhere. I could read this a third time without any trouble.

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    • Happy New Year!
      I’m looking forward to reading more by Elena Ferrante, although probably in English! And I remember you telling me about The House by the Lake. After going there last Christmas, I’d quite like to visit Berlin again soon. I’ll make sure I take the book along with me – it takes a few hours by train, so I’ll need a book!

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  3. My best books in 2016:
    The Story of the Lost Child – Elena Ferrante
    Pereira Maintains – Antonio Tabucchi
    The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan
    Trieste – Jan Morris
    Loop of Jade – Sarah Howe

    Looking forward to reading:
    Hag-seed – Margaret Attwood
    Nutshell -Ian McEwan
    Olive Kitteridge – Elisabeth Strout

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    • Happy New Year!
      I’m definitely seeing a pattern here with Antonio Tabucchi and Jan Morris! I’ve never read anything by either of them and hopefully I’ll change that this year.
      I’d also like to read all of the recent modern re-tellings of Shakespeare, especially Hag-Seed and Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl. As always, there are too many books and too little time!

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