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Lists: Ten Favourite Books in the Second Half of 2016

31st January, 2017

Favourite Reads of 2016

Choosing a few favourites is a Herculean task. After many lists, I narrowed down my favourites in the latter half of the year to ten. I absolutely loved these books. Some of them are entertaining reads while in some it is the writing style that stands out. Please note, these are favourites among the books I have read in 2016. The books might not necessarily be published in 2016.

I was very surprised to note that I did not read any books of my favourite genre, magical realism, in the latter half of the year. The list includes books of genres of literary fiction and fantasy. The first half of 2016 had a more spread out list across different genres. Check my Ten Best Reads in the First Half of 2016 for more recommendations. If you are looking specifically for new Indian books, check my list of Indian Books Published in 2016 to add to your TBR.

The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

1. The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

No surprise that The Tidal Zone is the first one on the list. The novel revolves around a stay-at-home father who receives a call from the school authorities saying that his fifteen year old daughter collapsed on the playground without breathing. The power of the novel rests in its depiction of the ordinary  while being firmly grounded in the present world.

I adored this novel. I cried and laughed with the Goldschmidt household. Sarah Moss is an under rated writer and this book made me yearn for her earlier works.  The Tidal Zone is the latest addition to my list of heart breaking reads. Check some of my other favourites – Ten Books that Crashed on me like a Tidal Wave – Its Personal .

Check Review | Goodreads

Judas by Amos Oz

2. Judas by Amos Oz

This was not an easy read. Nevertheless, it was a very enjoyable one. There are three main characters who drink tea and talk and again drink tea. Yes, that sums up most of the plot! The writing style is slow and it gives insightful opinions on Judaism, Christianity, the Israeli-Palestine issue and is compelling in its argument that Judas is not a traitor but a true Christian.

Read Review (Judas by Amos Oz – Story of a Traitor and the History of a Country) | Goodreads

A Lady and her Husband by Amber Reeves

3. A Lady and her Husband by Amber Reeves

This is a cosy read, that makes you question the position of women, both in the household and in the society in mid-20th century. When Mary Heyham, a middle aged wife and mother of three, decides to step out of the four walls of her comfortable home, she is fascinated and appalled by the man’s world that she sees before her. With tinges of feminism as well as focus on family bonds, Reeves spins out a wonderful story.

Read Review (A Lady and her Husband by Amber Reeves- Finding your Place in a Man’s World) | Goodreads

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild

4. The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild

The Improbability of Love  is a pure entertainer. If lavish banquets, elite class lifestyle, unscrupulous art world and history of paintings catch your fancy, this is the best book for you. This was an amazing and informative, not to forget lip-smacking, read for me. Food lovers will go weak in the knees for descriptions in the book.

Check out my thoughts on the book here – Five Reasons Why You Should Pick up The Improbability of Love | Goodreads

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

5. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Fantasy lovers, take note – Seraphina is a perfect mix of music, excellent world building and fast paced plot. The story is set in a pseudo-Rennaissance world where dragons and humans co-exist. This was a book I could not put down when I started reading it. The message of acceptance of those who are different that Seraphina puts forth seems to relevant in today’s world.

Check out why Seraphina is essential reading for dragon fans – Why Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is a Must-Read for Dragon Lovers | Goodreads

The secret Life of Roger Ackerley by Diana Petre

6. The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley by Diana Petre

This is Diana Petre’s recollection of growing up with her sisters in South London as the illegitimate children of a wealthy business man. She tries to reconstruct her mother’s hazy past through her letters and broken conversations. This is a delightful read for those who love honest memoirs sprinkled with anecdotes.

Read Review | Goodreads  . Picture Courtesy : Foxed Quarterly

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

7. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I would call Dark Matter a sci-fiction read with a heart. There is very little scientific or technical matter in the book, but the writing zooms through the plot and there are frequent emotional scenes. In my review I defined Dark Matter as “the baby Inception and The Matrix would have together with some genes from The Prestige”.

Read my thoughts on the book here – Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – A Nail Biting Race Through Parallel Realities | Goodreads

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerny

8. The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerny

The Glorious Heresies won the Bailey’s Women’s Prize 2016. This is an atmospheric read that brings alive the Irish underworld. The novel tells the story of a few characters whose lives are intertwined with each other after a murder. Do not pick this for a happy ending, but if you would like to indulge in a  novel that is visceral, crass with a vibrant cast, this is the perfect pick.

Check Goodreads

An ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

9. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes is my top YA read of 2016. There are a few cliché plot turns, but the whole read is very entertaining and enjoyable. The story follows a cruel regime that rules its citizens with an iron foot. Laia, a slave and Elias, a soldier, both seem to be unhappy with the regime for their own reasons. When their paths collide, they are faced with decisions that can affect the safety of many.

Check Goodreads

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

10. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

A story of a marriage told in two parts, in the POV of the husband (Fates) and the wife (Furies). To tell the truth, this book did not fascinate me in the first half aka Fates. That adds up to some 250+ pages. But Furies, true to its name, takes the plot by storm. The whole flavour of the book changes in the second half.

Check Review (Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff – Unsettling and Surprising) | Goodreads

Let's discuss

Have you read any of these or are they on your TBR? What were your favourite reads of last year?

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This Post Has 38 Comments
  1. Tidal Zone is now on the TBR! Sounds very Updike “mundane is meaningful” and I could use a domestic novel after the heavy, dense and manic Gravity’s Rainbow

    1. You must read Tidal Zone. It is a heart wrenching read. The characters are fleshed out so wonderfully and the whole book takes place through the thought process of the husband. I adored the read. Do let me know if you like it when you read it.

  2. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed Seraphina! I read it years ago but I still find myself thinking about what a well-crafted story it is. So many of these books are on my TBR list: Fates and Furies, An Ember in the Ashes, and definitely The Improbability of Love. Hopefully I can get around to reading them in 2017!

  3. Haven’t read any, I’m afraid. I really do need to find an english bookstore nearby now that I have moved to the south of the city.
    Currently (a bit) stuck with Christine Weston (née Goutière) Indigo. Have you heard of that one?

  4. I hope I’m not commenting twice – my fisrt comment disappeared.
    I’m glad you liked Sarah Moss so much. I haven’t read this one yet but I loved two of her other novels.
    And I’ve got three of the ones on the list – Seraphina, An Ember in the AShes and Fate&Furies. So I’m glad to hear you liked them.

    1. I loved Moss’ Tidal Zone. Which ones have you read? I am currently reading Night Waking by her. I can see shadows of the characters in The Tidal Zone in Night Waking. I hope you will enjoy the other three reads when you pick them up.

  5. That’s a very diverse list of books. The Amber Reeves is the one that interests me the most – I really must take some time to investigate the Persephone catalogue in more detail.

    1. Thanks Jacqui. I hope you will pick up Amber Reeves soon. I loved the read. There are tinges of feminism and awakening, but the book is not a cliche read. The protagonist thinks about herself, her stand in society and also her family while making decisions.

  6. I read Fates/Furies…..I just don’t…I can’t really…I’m not sure I……Yeah.
    I added Lady and Her Husband to my TBR and want to read fiction by Sarah Moss–all I could find at the library was her (interesting, readable) book on her year in Iceland.
    #6 is now going on my list!

    You pick good stuff!

    1. Thank you so much. I understand why you felt that way about Fates and Furies. I kept thinking why is the book so over hyped till the middle. I wish the Fates part was not so long. I enjoy Moss’s writing. I have heard about the book o Iceland. But not read it. I hope you will enjoy the books you pick from the list.

    1. That is great. I hope you will enjoy Improbability of love. It is entertaining. But it also have a lot of jargon about paintings and their history. I found it very informative and loved it.

  7. For some reason, I am not very tempted to read The Tidal Zone. It may be because I don’t especially like its cover or because it was so hyped up on Youtube. Anyways, I’ll go check out your review, it might make me change my mind 😉

    Other than that, all the books of your list look awesome. The Improbability of Love has already been on my TBR for quite some time.

    My favourite book of 2016 was definitely The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks, a truly compelling non fiction book about the origin of the HeLa cells.

  8. I agree with you that the second half of Fates and Furies far exceeds the first half. It’s a great read so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. I’m really hoping to get to An Ember in the Ashes very soon since pretty much every blogger I know has loved that book.

  9. I’m not surprised at all that The Tidal Zone made it at the top of your list! I remember you gushing about it not that long ago 😀
    Looks like you had a great second half of 2016. Hope 2017 is a good reading year for you!

  10. You’re so right about Fates and Furies! Overall I thought it was a great book, but you have to be able to make it to the second half in order to find that out. The Secret Orchard is a memoir I keep wanting to get to. I guess I need to find the time!

  11. I have Dark Matter on the wishlist – it hasn’t made it to the TBR yet. Sadly I didn’t really enjoy Fates and Furies but despite that I could see why it would appeal to others. I hope you find as many interesting books in 2017.

  12. I agree that it is SO hard to pick your favorite books, ahah. I really like your list, you always make me discover new books, so grateful for that. The Improbability of Love sounds really, really interesting, and food descriptions? I am ALL for it. Great list 🙂

  13. A lot of these are on my TBR, and I trust your taste, so I can’t wait to read them! Also, I agree about your Ember assessment. It does get a bit cliche, but at least it’s not as bad as the more popular YAs #sorrynotsorry

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