Note: To make things deliciously complicated, the books on this were not all released in 2016 but are those that I read this year. There are 21 books in this list. I will discuss the first 11 in this post and the rest in part 2.
Finnikin of the Rock – Melina Marchetta
I have read most of Melina Marchetta’s books to date(two in the Finnikin trilogy left) but for a long time, I resisted Finnikin because for some reason I thought it wouldn’t be good. Why I thought that, I don’t know. After Twitter friends gushed about its greatness, I finally took the plunge and boy, I kicked myself for waiting the time I did to read it because as with everything Marchetta writes, it is gold. Her characters are real flawed people and her stories are always grand in scope. This book made me feel all the feels which is the reason why it has a space on this list.
The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami
My love affair with Murakami is ongoing. I attempt to read two of his books/year but I only managed two in 2016. The Elephant Vanishes is such a perfect collection that even someone like me who doesn’t really like short stories fell for it. All stories are glimpses of worlds and lives and they don’t tell the entire story, they don’t even pretend to. They leave you wondering, thinking, wishing. I loved that.
Migritude is perhaps my favourite book of the year. It made me cry and made me feel in the deepest of ways.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
I own many of Valente books and had not read any when I first read this one. I don’t know how I will fare with her adult offerings but this book was so amazing in so many ways. I know friends who dislike it intensely but for me, it captured the perfect blend of whimsy and tragedy.
Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington
Another book that surprised me in a very good way. I didn’t expect Sure Signs of Crazy to be as good as it turned out to be, as I am glad it turned out to be.
The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho
This novella was just so perfect in the way it told a story, the voice of the heroine, the characters and the plot. I adore it.
The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King
The Inconvenient Indian should be mandatory reading for kids in high school. There are so many things King talks about that I didn’t know or hadn’t even considered. What it means to be a member of one of the First Nations, what it means to live among people who murdered your ancestors and who continue murdering you. A sobering read.
Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales
The art in this one, you guys.
Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
Lai’s love for Vietnam is so obvious in this journey she takes us on. I was entranced and right there with her characters. A beautiful book.
Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan
One of those short books that unsettle you and make you think deeper about this world you live in.