Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter

Best Books of 2016 (So Far)

Now that we’re about halfway through the year (can you believe that??), it’s time to take a quick look back at 2016. I’m not sure if it’s lack of focus, the books I’m picking or what, but I haven’t had the best relationship with reading this year and it shows. When I did this mid-year list last year and the year before, I was overwhelmed by the number of books I was swooning over in mid-June. This time around it was a little trickier. There have definitely been books that blew me away and all of these were stellar, but the rest of my reading has been somewhat lackluster. Let’s hope for a bit more as we move through the rest of 2016!

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa

Tender by Belinda McKeon

Pushout by Monique Morris

Shelter by Jung Yun

The Girls by Emma Cline

Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpoe

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Shrill by Lindy West

The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood


Which books have you loved most so far this year?

  • Elena

    Totally agree with The Girls, it’s going to be in everyone’s list of Best Books of 2016 without a doubt.

  • I just put together my list last night – and we have some overlap. It’ll go up on Tuesday. My intro paragraph was also somewhat similar – there were some books that made it onto my list that I’m pretty sure won’t be there come December…unless my reading tanks through the rest of the year.

    I’d like to give The Natural Way of Things a try!

    • The Natural Way of Things is one that will DEFINITELY be on my list at the end of the year. One of my very favorites.

  • I just started working on a mid-year look too! Great minds and all. :)

    I’m so looking forward to reading Shrill and Homegoing!

  • If you haven’t read Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley, I highly highly recommend. I just turned the last page late last night and can’t say enough good things about it.

  • Well, it looks like I have a good second half of 2016 coming, because despite having all of these on my wish list, five of them are already on my shelves. Win/win, if I get to them. <–That was supposed to be a little rhyme. But I suppose it fails if I have to point it out.

    • Loved the rhyme ;)
      Can’t wait to hear what you thought about them!! (I think maybe Shelter and Natural Way should be toward the top for you)

  • Ti Reed

    I really liked Tuesday Nights in 1980. it was a surprise to me.

    • I wanted to love that book so bad! I had some weird issues with the way synesthesia was presented in the book and just couldn’t get over them to enjoy it :/

  • I just finished Homegoing last night, and it’s definitely one of the best this year for me, too!
    I’ve been having a good reading year so far. I wonder if it has anything to do with the number of new books to older ones. You read a lot more new ones than I do, and I think they’re more of a risk.
    A couple other good ones lately have been Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Heave by Christy Ann Conlin, and We’re All In This Together by Amy Jones. (That’s just in the last few weeks, but I’ll leave it at that.)

  • What a great list, Shannon! I’m so glad you’ve had some definite winners this year, so far; I still have Tender and Dear Fang on my list and have thoroughly enjoyed Homegoing and Shrill (I may have to listen to Shrill again…just start it over from the beginning). Sweetbitter has definitely been one of my faves this year, along with Homegoing. Thank you so much for the wonderful recommendations!

    • I’m so looking forward to reading Sweetbitter soon! And I can’t wait for you to read Tender – that’s one I want to push on everyone!

  • Amanda

    Tender will definitely be on my list too! I’m going to have to think about this. I’m glad that some of your favorites are books high on my list to get to!

  • Agree with you on Grief and Forty Rooms was amazing. It’s no surprise that my list has three shorts that I’m absolutely pushing to everyone: Dog Run Moon, You Should Pity Us Instead and just finished and adored Beasts & Children. Linked stories and dark like The Shore. I need to talk to someone about it! Ahhhh!

  • I did not love Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist! But I did really like The Girls and I started Homegoing this morning and can already tell that it’s going to be great. Shrill is on my list! so many books I still want to read. I feel like, even when I’m reading a book I’ve been looking forward to, I’m always looking to what I will read next. Time for a world timeout. I think we could all use it to be honest.

    • I was actually thinking a ton about the world timeout/focus thing earlier today. I know it’s VERY needed on my end and really want to take (at least!) the weekend to try to disconnect a bit.

  • It really does seem like such an odd year for so many people…maybe it’s the books after all? (I’ll keep telling myself that)

  • I am (STILL) so excited for Wood’s book, though I don’t have it yet, but I do have The Girls ready to start, and I am excited about that.

  • Kailana

    I have to think about what would be on my list… There have been lots of great reads so far this year! I am looking forward to some of the books on your list, too, so glad you enjoyed them!

  • So many of these I need to read yet! I’ve also had a bit of a ho hum year myself… I think I’ve only given out one 5-star rating to Fates and Furies. (Rereads of Harry Potter don’t count!). Right now I’m reading Marrow Island and so far it’s hitting that 4-5 stars for me… so if it keeps up the good work maybe it will give F&F a little company!

  • Sigh. I knew I shouldn’t have clicked through after reading the title of this post. ;) teehee
    And I haven’t read ANY of these so far. I have a copy of Your Heart Is a Muscle on my shelf, though!

  • Oh, my gosh! I must be making up for your so-so reading year thus far! As I scroll back through the list on Goodreads there are like 10 or 12 I have adored! Circling the Sun, Enchanted Islands, On the Far Side of the Mountain, My Side of the Mountain, Just Mercy, Room, The Color Purple, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, The Cay, Salt to the Sea, My Life on the Road, Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, Our Souls at Night, H is for Hawk, Two Boys Kissing, Among the Mad, The Disobedient Wife. So many good ones!!! :) Dear Fang, Grief, and Homegoing from your list are definitely on my TBR listing! Am loving The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts, and if I would just get off the computer, might be able to finish it tonight! LOL

  • I see several on my list to read this year. I loved Your Heart is a Muscle and really should write a full review for that one. I agree that this year hasn’t had the greatness that the books of 2015 had. It’s strange considering 2015 was pretty much a year of debuts. I’ve only three really solid 5-star books so far this year. I’ve really loved several, but hardly any sent me over that edge I crave.

  • I hope all the truly marvelous reading is hiding in July-December. ;)

    The Fifth Season wins the best of the year so far for me, though. No contest!

  • I haven’t read anything this year that I’ve love-love-loved, although I’ve read a lot of really good books. The closest was probably Leah Bobet’s An Inheritance of Ashes, which was just the kind of fantasy YA I love the very best (the kind with lots of feelings and an understated climax). But that just leaves the rest of the year for books to really wow me! :D

    • I think three of these would go in the love love love category, but I feel like it’s usually more. I reallllly hope it ends up being more than that!!

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  • Heather

    So I’m working through a gigantic backlog of blog posts and I haven’t seen a post from you re: The Natural Way of Things (if there is one) but I’m d y i n g to know what you thought of the ending. And the whole thing in general I guess.

    • Hoping to post later this week! It’s not out here untik next week, so I wanted to wait a bit :)

      • Heather

        Ohhhhhh I see. Well I’ll keep a look out – I’m excited to see all of your thoughts :-)

  • Oh, I forgot how much I loved Tender. And a lot of these are on my list. I love the title of Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist so much I want to read it, and Dear Fang, With Love is in my audiobook queue because it’s available on Hoopla. And I really want to read Shrill and I think I’m going to have to buy it because I’m moving and thus switching libraries which is really throwing my whole reading routine out the window.