Here it is! All 45 of the books I read in 2016. (For past years, see Books Read: 2015 and Books Read: 2014.) The only reread this year is Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. When I first read this book, in 2010, it was right when I had fallen in love with running myself, and I loved it SO MUCH. It resonated deeply. On this read, I still enjoyed it, but it didn’t make the same impact. Maybe that is a lesson to me to keep focusing on new books, rather than revisiting old ones.
As for the new books, below are my top ten, in the order in which I read them. Links are to places where those books/authors have been previously mentioned on this website:
In a Lonely Place, Dorothy B. Hughes. 1947.
The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson. 1959.
Laura, Vera Caspary. 1942.
The Price of Salt, Patricia Highsmith. 1952.
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Carrie Brownstein. 2015.
Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay. 2014.
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, Lindy West. 2016.
You Will Know Me, Megan Abbott. 2016.
White Teeth, Zadie Smith. 1999.
Grotesque, Natsuo Kirino. 2003.
What do these books have in common? A few things. All ten are written by women. To my mind, all ten are feminist. Only three are by women of color (something I’d like to improve upon next year). All were published within the last 75 years, with the oldest being Vera Caspary’s Laura, and the most recent, Lindy West’s Shrill. I think at least three qualify as noir (In a Lonely Place, Laura, and Grotesque), and a couple others feel noir-adjacent (The Price of Salt, You Will Know Me). But the most important thing they have in common is that they are all excellent. If you haven’t already, you should read them. Immediately.
Here’s to a bunch more good books in 2017!