Top 10 Books of 2016

I know most people have already done their top books of 2016, and I was planning on doing mine within the first week of January, but I didn’t get around to it because of my uni work. But I still really wanted to share the top 10 books that I read in 2016. I read 60 books in 2016, and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of them, these are the ten that I enjoyed the most. I didn’t give all of these books 5 stars, but all of these books have stuck with me. I’ve listed the 4* books first, and then the 5*, but otherwise they aren’t in any particular order.

Room by Emma Donoghue

My Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This book tells the story of five-year-old Jack and his mother. Jack has spent all of his life in one single room with his mother, and so he thinks that ‘Room’ is the world. The book is told through his perspective, and it’s such a beautiful story. I flew through this book, and it definitely made me appreciate the freedom that I have to travel, and made me eager to see as much of the world as I can.

 

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

My Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Grapes of Wrath is probably Steinbeck’s best known novel. Like in his other novels, it is set during the Great Depression and follows a family as they travel to find work and a better life for themselves. This did feel like a bit a slog at times, but this novel is brilliant. It’s honest and gritty, and it made me want to read more of Steinbeck’s work.

 

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Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

My Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*TRIGGER WARNING*: Eating disorders/body dysmorphia

I’d wanted to read this book for a while, and I was not disappointed. Only Ever Yours is a dystopian, and is quite similar The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. In the novel, young girls are brought up in school-like academies where they train to be companions i.e. wives. Even though this was a dystopian, parts of this read like real life. It was actually quite horrifying to read at times, but it was such an interesting comment on the modern beauty industry.

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Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

My Goodreads rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I’d seen the film adaptation, seen the musical adaptation, and even been in the musical when I was younger, and I’d always wanted to read the book. It was longer than I expected, and there were a few sections that dragged on a bit, but overall I loved in. Cruikshank’s illustrations are haunting, and Dickens’ offers such a brilliant critique of the New Poor Laws.

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The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

My Goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Whilst this is probably the most famous historical fiction novel, I didn’t know that much about it before I read it. It was the first book I read in 2016, and I adored it. It tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl living with a foster family in Nazi-occupied Germany. This is so many people’s favourite book, and it is definitely now one of mine. I’m planning on re-reading it towards the end of the year.

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

My Goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I read this book within two days, and I loved it. It tells the story of Lou Clarke, who takes a job as a carer for Will Trainer, a man who has been paralysed by a motorbike accident. I related to Lou so much, and this book almost gave me a push of confidence. I feel like I read it at exactly the right time of my life.

 

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My Goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In 2016 I really got into reading feminist writing, and this was the first that I read. The novel is a dystopian set in a future where women are used as ‘Handmaid’s’; their purpose is to reproduce. I can see why this novel is considered a modern classic – it’s so shocking and thought provoking.

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Girl Up by Laura Bates

My Goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 stars
My review in full

I was so excited when I heard that Laura Bates was coming out with another book, as I first read Everyday Sexism by her a few years back and thought it was incredible. Girl Up is quite different from Everday Sexism, as it’s more of a guide to being a girl/woman in the modern day, but it was equally as brilliant. It was my favourite non-fiction book of the year, and I’d honestly recommend this to anyone and everyone, but especially to young women between around 15-22.

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Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

My Goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 stars

To be honest there isn’t that much I can say about this book, other than it’s incredible. It’s around 1200-1400 pages (depending on the edition), but I think this is a book that everyone needs to read in their lifetime. I can confidently say that this was my favourite book of the year, and now one of my favourite (if not my favourite) books of all time.

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I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

My Goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Another brilliant non-fiction. I’ve admired Malala ever since I’d heard her story, and this book blew me away. I admire Malala’s bravery so much, and she has made me appreciate my right to education.

So those are my top books of the year! I wasn’t able to rank them from one to ten, but as I said, my number one book of the year was Les Misérables, closely followed by The Book Thief and Me Before You.

I hope you all had a brilliant 2016! Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, and what your favourite reads of 2016 were 🙂

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