12 Brilliant Books To Read in 2016
Forget what’s new and forget what everyone else is reading. This year I’m only reading books that I think I’ll enjoy.
Sorry whatever this year’s Fifty Shades of Grey is – you’re not making it to my shelves.
As well as tackling my To Be Read pile, this year I’m brushing up on the classics and asking you lot to recommend books that you can’t be without. I don’t care about what’s the best written or the most original, I just want brilliant books. As simple as that.
So in the interests of sharing – you’ll find 12 of my favourite books below. They’re not my top 12, they’re just books I want to share with the word. And they’re handily ordered by month. Happy reading!
In January read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
The best way to combat the January blues? A high school love story between a wizard and a vampire. I devoured this book in a few days and not at all ashamed to say that my 26-year-old self LOVED IT. The story of Simon Snow and his arch nemesis Baz was first told in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, but don’t worry if you haven’t read that first, this stands on its own.
In February read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It’s an obvious choice to pick one of the most famous love stories for February – but I love clichés. I’m sure I don’t need to give you the synopsis of this but if you haven’t read it, DO IT IMMEDIATELY. And if you’re not feeling all the Valentine’s stuff this year you can enjoy all the eye rolling and extremely well written put downs from the 19th century’s own feminist icon, Lizzy Bennett.
In March read The Wicked and the Divine by Kieron Gillen
If you’ve never read a graphic novel, this is a brilliant place to start. It follows a group of demi-Gods who come back as pop stars and artists every so many years to be worshipped. It’s strange, visually stunning, and guaranteed to be unlike anything else you read this year.
In April read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
You don’t have love video games and nerdy 80s references to love this book – but it helps. This is one of the books that I enjoyed so much I was genuinely astonished to find mixed reviews afterwards. If you like the idea of a dystopian future where everyone lives through avatars and are focused on finding the eccentric inventor’s fortune – give this a go.
In May read Stories We Could Tell by Tony Parsons
It’s 1977 and Elvis has just died. Three music writers at The Paper (or NME as you might know it) are all trying to follow their dreams. One wants to be the punk scene’s next big thing, one wants to meet his hero John Lennon, and the last of the trio just wants to get through the night without being attacked by the local gang. It’s your typical coming of age story, just with better music and clothes. I absolutely adore this book and can’t recommend enough if you want something that’s a genuine pleasure to read.
In June read How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran
A word of warning: I read this on holiday and definitely laughed out loud and got funny pool-side looks. A lot. It’s funny and filthy and the first thing I’ve read by Caitlin Moran, so how was I not to love it? Apparently fiction, this is another music-inspired coming-of-age novel. This time about Johanna, a poor, overweight teenager living on a council estate in Wolverhampton who dreams of making to London for witty banter and lots of sex.
In July read The Princess Bride by William Goldman
I fangirled over this book so much I wrote an entire blog post just so I could fangirl some more. This book was one I knew about, but never really thought I’d like. Happy to admit I was completely wrong and immediately fell in love with this. There’s sword fights, bad guys, kidnapping and true love!
In August read Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
Easily my favourite book of 2015 (I’m not counting Carry On as I technically finished it this year), Station Eleven pretty much has all of my favourite components: dystopian worlds, comic books, Rowling-esque details that end up having massive significance as the story unfolds. It’s imaginative and manages to put a fresh spin on the dystopian tale we’ve read countless times. It really makes me look forward to whatever else St John Mandel has up her sleeve.
In September read Us by David Nicholls
I was going to put One Day on here, but since that already has all the hype, I’ve put David Nicholls’ latest book on the list instead. It starts with loyal, but hapless Douglas being told that his wife wants to leave him once their son goes off for university. Utterly shocked, but determined to make it work, Douglas’ only chance to save his marriage rests on one last family holiday around Europe. What could go wrong, eh? In lesser hands this would just feel stale and unoriginal, but Nicholls does modern relationships so well I couldn’t put this down. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, etc.
In October read The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
It’s Halloween month so you need Batman and you need a Halloween-themed story. No excuses. This was the first graphic novel I ever read and helped to spark my love of all things Batman. Even if you’re not a huge fan of The Dark Knight or of comic books, this is a really fun detective story – just with super villains and pictures.
In November read Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosch
If you haven’t seen any of Allie’s work, I’ll leave you with this link and ask you to kindly come back in about a month when you’re finished reading everything’s she’s ever done.
Back? I know, right? This book has some of Allie’s most well loved stories, along with new ones and new details. It’s probably too funny to read near other people, and is the perfect remedy when you need something ridiculous this time of year.
In December read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I told you I like clichés, remember? Everyone knows this story and even if you haven’t read it, you’ve probably seen it in singing Muppet or animated form at least. I reread A Christmas Carol this year and although this is the most obvious statement in the world (because obviously Dickens is a literary genius), I was still shocked at just how incredible the writing was. There were times when I had to put the book down just so I could find someone to repeat the last paragraph to. It’s that good. And reading it when the whole world has gone Christmas mad is the perfect end to the year.
And there you have it. 12 random books I like that I hope you’ll like too. Please let me know any recommendations for me to add to my lists this year!