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Top 10 | Best Books of 2016

Top 10 | Best Books of 2016

2016 has been a doozy.

It seems like the year that just won’t stop. I mean, we’re trying to hold out the last week of the freaking year, and we get news that the world has lost Carrie Fisher. Seriously.

In a year of such loss and fear, the world of literature becomes even more important.

Books offer understanding, clarity, escapism, and a perspective on the world other than your own. It’s nice to know that no matter how weird the world gets, there are amazing authors out there doing amazing work, and letting you be a little part of that.

Fortunately 2016 did not disappoint in literature.

There were a lot of contenders for the best new releases in 2016, but these are ultimately the ones that did the exceptional – offer escape, while challenging your perspective.

1. Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien

This is drama at it’s best. It’s a story of two generations of a Chinese family, including their history, their pain, and their pursuit of survival. Get to know a bit more behind the Maoist Cultural Revolution and Tiananmen Square while fully embracing a familial drama.

2. Truly Madly Guilty, by Liane Moriarty

We may have fallen in love with Liane Moriarty this year through our read of Big Little Lies for book club, but her latest definitely nails escapism.  Moriarty’s signature suspense keeps you guessing, even with a proven formula that always relies on similar tactics. With a smaller cast and a shorter Timeline, Truly Madly Guilty will still keep you guessing to the very end!

3. Paper Girls, by Brian K Vaughan

The first issue of Paper Girls kicked of what is sure to be an abiding love affair. 2016 really rocked the 80s nostalgia, and this is no exception. There is a lot going on in Paper Girls – from plucky girl power, to time traveling dinosaurs. Expect to feel left with more questions than answers.

4. The Girls, by Emma Cline

When true events inspire a novel, things can go really well or really poorly. Emma Cline’s imagining of the life of a teenager who becomes captivated by the Manson Family cult in the late 1960s is an exercise in exploring history in the best way. It’s a portrait of youth and idealism and what happens when all of that is corrupted by horrible evil. 

5. Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance

This is the book to read if you want to figure out what happened in the 2016 election cycle. This is an investigation of the culture and families left behind – the poor white workers. Perhaps something that could simply feel frustrating, Vance’s exploration of his own family’s history is what maintains Hillbilly Elegy‘s relatability and bite.

About The Author


Whitney is the founder and one of the speediest readers behind Imaginary Book Club; delivering weekly book reviews, monthly favorites, and frequent recommended book lists with a side order of overwrought musings. After forming and joining book clubs in every city she lived in, Whitney finally decided to take the fun online to connect with fellow introverts who are also longing for a way to connect.


  1. Nicole

    I just got The Girls as a Christmas present and I’m so excited to read it. This is such a great, diverse mix of books! The Vegetarian sounds so intriguing- I’ll definitely be adding some of these to the ever-growing TBR list!

      • austyn

        I wanted to but thought someone else had already called it. If not I will happily review it! Such a great book!

  2. Jill K.

    I am waiting not so patiently for most of these to come up on my library holds list. Do Not Say We Have Nothing is new to me though, so I’m thrilled to add something to my to be read list.

    • Whitney

      Love that you found some new inspiration! And I hope that the library lets you get your hands on the others! I always feel like that’s the curse of living in an areas with a lot of readers. All those popular reads are in such high demand!

  3. Kate

    I have to throw in a few YA novels (but with HUGE Adult appeal. Like, seriously) and say that two of my top picks for 2016 are Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys and The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. Even if you don’t read YA on the regular, you MUST check these books out.

    • Whitney

      Ooh, excellent point! I tend to skip over YA, unless it’s super super super talked about. I’ll have to check these out!

  4. Ivan Jordon

    Thanks cause these are my favorite books also!


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