Top Reads of 2016

The One that Pulled Me into the Abyss.

My Review

A Little Life is perhaps, the darkest book I’ve read in a long time. It features a character who wouldn’t know happiness even if it was staring at him in the face. Because even if he was surrounded by the people who genuinely loved him, he was always waiting for the other shoe to drop so accepting that love was tremulous task. This was a hard read, but I truly feel that I was a better person after the crying jag.

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The One that Gave Me Perspective.

My Review

There is nothing easy about this novel ( though, easier than A Little Life, admittedly). This is about the racial climate in contemporary America, and Jodi Picoult did her best, albeit reluctantly, to tackle this issue most of Americans wish should remain buried in their painful past. This book gave me pause as I ruminated on how difficult it is to be successful, to be educated, and still be disrespected and discriminated because of the colour of your skin.

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The One that Pulled Me Out of the Abyss.

My Review

After the trauma of watching a demagogue be elected as the president of the United States, I was not in a good place. I was angry and shocked. And since books have always been the panacea I tend to reach for when I’m feeling down, The Hating Game pulled me out of that dark place. I just knew that rereading it would be the perfect thing that would help me forget the misery of the day.

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The One that Made Me Like Science Fiction.

My Review

Science Fiction, much like Fantasy, is a genre that I could never quite figure out. But this page-turner made me believe that I could truly love Sci-fi in its simplest form. Simple, because this book isn’t inundated by jargon and long sterile narratives that tend to steer me away from the genre. I’ve always believed that discoveries have the tendency to bring out the best and worst in humans. Mr. Neuvel certainly didn’t shy away from showing all the immoral things we’ll subject ourselves to in the name of Science. With a combination of dry humour and ingenious story-telling, Sleeping Giants was the perfect example of Sci-fi for the masses.

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The One that Whisked Me Away to Another Place and Time.

My Review

This book always makes me want to ramble on about how beautiful it is. The writing, the scenery, the characters…everything about it perfectly captures the small town charm, the grandeur of the old world Hollywood setting, and the stories of the people that tie these worlds together. Β Beautiful Ruins was cozy, warm and funny it all its subtleties. It’s a book full of passionate people, visceral settings, and rich in history spanning decades. The perfect beach read…couch read…bed read.

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Β The One that Made Me Feel Inadequate.

I have re-read this twice already. Each re-read more powerful than the last. Still, the impact is greater for someone like me to comprehend. It could be because I’m not African American, nor do I live in the States. But the power of Mr. Coates’ words – his desperation, his hopes, his warnings – leap off the pages with intense clarity. And yet, I get it. I get the hopelessness. That feeling that in some ways, his body, his son’s body were never their own. As easily as freedom may come to some, to African Americans, freedom is a fleeting fancy. Despite the progress that America has had over the years with the racial injustices of times gone by, African Americans are still shackled by the colour of their skin. Β And to deny the existence of such discrimination is naive and dangerous.

  • I love format you chose for this
    post, Joy. Thanks for sharing.

  • Due to your and Kimberly’s reviews, I read The Hating Game and absolutely loved the whole thing. The one that I am interested in is Beautiful Ruins. I must have missed your review, it looks wonderful. I remember your review for A Little Life and I know I couldn’t read it. However, I am glad you loved it. The older I get, the less I read dark reads unless it’s a dark suspense read.Interesting list!

  • Ohh, gorgeous post Joy. <3 Thank you for sharing about these books that were the best for you last year πŸ™‚ So glad you loved them all so much. That's awesome πŸ˜€ I'm unsure if they really are for me, lol, but I am curious about them. I hope you will read lots of amazing books this year too. <3

  • Interesting books here to take a look at! Between The World And Me appeals to me very much

  • I worked 2 jobs last year,so I had none time for reading, but I plan to remedy that this year and these books seem as a great way to start. My top reads were probably Cam Girl By Leah Raeder and Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews.

  • I’ve seen The Hating Game on so many lists. I really need that book.

  • So many thought provoking books here! Yay for Sleeping Giants. I like the sound of Small Great Things

  • I need to read A Little Life. I bought that one last year, but I have not been able to bring myself to read it yet. I have heard how much of a punch it makes and I am just not ready yet.

  • Happy new year, Joy! <3

    I read some amazing sci-fi novels last year which made me feel less apprehensive of the genre, so I'll definitely be checking out Sleeping Giants!

    • Definitely check out Sleeping Giants. It’s a great read for non-readers of the genre. It was so easy and smooth.

  • I held off Sleeping Giants but I’m hoping to restart it soon since I’ve read nothing but great things about it. Also, I’ve been meaning to grab a copy of A Little Life ever since I read your review!

    • Ohh I feel like it’s totally your book, czai. It’s a great read! And fair warning about A Little Life, it’ll make you feel uncomfortable at times and it’s very depressing. But I don’t know, i feel like, if you were able to get through 2016 relatively scathe-free, you’ll fly through it just fine. Lol.

  • ChristinaBookAddict

    I just got The Hating Game from the library! I am so excited to start that one next. I have heard such awesome things about it, especially from you. Beautiful Ruins is also one of my favorite reads ever. I am glad you love it as well!

    • Yassss! Oh, I hope you’ll love it. It’s such a great book when you’re feeling down. Honestly, I love the romance. πŸ™‚

  • I’m most interested in Sleeping Giants and Between the World and Me. The way you’ve described Between the World and Me makes it sound like such a powerful read and I want to see if I’m as affected by it as you.

    • Sleeping Giants was so good. If you’re not a big Sci-fi reader for whatever reason, trust me you’ll probably won’t even notice you’re reading a Sci-fi. Lol. Between the World and Me is a short read, but powerful, nonetheless.

  • I will have to add a few of these to my lists I think, particularly Between The World And Me.

    I have a love/hate relationship with sci fi. I tried to read The Martian recently, and it’s fine, but it’s so jargony at the beginning that I just couldn’t get into it (and thanks to chemistry classes I could follow it a bit better than I would have been able to otherwise) ugh πŸ™

    Happy New Year πŸ™‚

    • Egad. The Martians annoyed me. Honestly, try Sleeping Giants!

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    I love your words re: Between the World and Me. It’s such a powerful book and is absolutely a must-read for everyone, I think. The language is so hard-hitting and I loved all the small anecdotes and stories. I read the novel on the train from Paris to Aix-en-Provence and his chapter about Paris broke my heart.

    Anyhow, love this list, Joy! It’s such a diverse blend of books and I love that you read so many powerful stories about relevant issues. Jodi Picoult’s book is one I need to get to this year, along with so many other non-fiction books that I’m determined to read in this post-Trump world we’re living in. Fantastic post, dear, and a very Happy New Year to you!

    • Thanks! Did you ever write a review for this books? I feel like you might’ve wrote one but I missed it.

  • Love the way you broke this down!

  • I enjoyed Small Great Things and Sleeping Giants. I have been seeing The Hating Game mentioned on a lot of year end posts so I think I will need to grab that one at some point. I am pretty sure Beautiful Ruins is sitting on my shelf just begging to be read. Great post!

    • Thanks, Carole. Yeah, Beautiful Ruins is an oldie. It sat on my shelf forever until an Audible sale had me unearthing my copy. Lol.

  • Sara Walker

    I am intrigued about A Little Life, but I don’t think I could ever read it. It sounds to heartbreaking. To much for me. I am curious about a good number of your favourites. I have a desire to delve into sci-fi. Sleeping Giants has been curious and it has for some time. I loved The Hating Game, it was such a delight to read.

    Thanks for sharing, Joy.

    • A Little Life is daaaarrrk. Perfect book for 2016. Gah. Lol.

  • shootingstarsmag

    I love your titles for these. It’s nice to see what books people loved throughout the year, but I also like knowing a bit more -how did you come to read it? how did it make you feel?, etc. and you do that here!

    -lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

    • Thanks, Lauren. Books come into our lives with purpose sometimes, so yeah. I feel like I was more attuned to what I was feeling during and after reading a book.

  • Great choices. I also enjoyed Between the World and Me. His writing is effortlessly brilliant. I bookmarked so many phrases.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
    Follow me on Bloglovin’

    • I should go back and do something like that as well. It’s a short one so I’m sure it won’t take me long.

  • I downloaded the Sleeping Giants audiobook the other day and can’t wait to listen to it. It’s a good sign that there are so many people like you who like it but haven’t read much sci-fi before cos I’m one of those people too! Oh, and Happy New Year πŸ™‚

  • I’m not really familiar with any of these, other than The Hating Game, which everyone seems to love. Glad you found so many books you loved. I hope you find even more in 2017. Happy New Year!!

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

  • I really enjoyed The Hating Games as well! It was such a pleasant surprise πŸ™‚

    • The Hating Game seems to be the darling of 2016. Lol.

  • I’m intrigued by your list – several of these books I wouldn’t normally pick up. I need to read more outside my comfort zone. YES to The Hating Game!

    • Good luck! I know it’s tough, but I always say, you’ll never know until you try.

  • Nice 2016 reads πŸ™‚

  • I’ve heard so many good things about sleeping Giants – although I’m not usually a sci-fi fan myself, still think I will give this one a go πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Sarah! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have. πŸ™‚