Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten 2016 Releases I Didn't Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To (But TOTALLY plan to.) As you know since I dispensed with my To Read list, my only real reading plans are the challenges I set for myself. The first 3 books on this list are on my personal reading challenge for this year. The rest are books that came out in 2016 that interest me so I'm keeping them on my radar even if I'm not promising that I'll definitely read them.

1. To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
I've heard wonderful things about this book by the author of The Snow Child, which I loved. I've even checked it out of the library at one point with a whole slew of other books, and ended up returning it because it came due before I got a chance to read it. I'm really, really looking forward to finally getting to it.

2. The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
As much as I love Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and recommend it all the time, somehow I didn't pay much attention to Simonson's new book. But when I was putting together a post-election display about compassion, it was suggested as an appropriate book for the display by someone who really enjoyed it and now I do very much want to read it.

3. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This one I heard about over and over all year, but it was Lindsay's post that absolutely sold it to me. Many books get good reviews and it's hard to know which ones I'll actually like, but I take seriously recommendations from people I know. (Ok, I don't actually know Lindsay, but I kind of feel like I do. We definitely have similar tastes in books.)

4. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Here's another that has gotten rave reviews, won a National Book Award, and was at the top of almost every "Best of 2016" list I saw. I've been hesitant to read it because I once picked up his zombie book, Zone One, and couldn't get into his writing style (at that particular moment anyhow.) But I still think I'll give it a try at some point.

5. The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
I've had my eye on N.K. Jemisin since The Killing Moon was nominated for a whole bunch of awards in 2012. The Obelisk Gate is actually a sequel to The Fifth Season, which came out in 2015 and I still haven't read it. Lengthy science fiction novels scare me a little bit, and this is a trilogy. (Or am I just assuming there will be a total of 3 books in this series?) I'm anxious to get started with this author, but my plan is to wait until the series is complete, or nearly so, before starting so I don't forget what happened between books. (I learned my lesson the hard way with Justin Cronin's series.)

6. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
I actually started this and probably read close to 100 pages, but it was too soon after reading another nonfiction book (Dreamland) and I just really needed to read a novel. It pained me to put it down because I so rarely try again on books at which I fail, but I hope this will be an exception because what I read was actually quite good.

7. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
I've known how popular this book has been, but although I do like Trevor Noah I hadn't actually bothered to read anything about it. It was only when I was thinking about 2016 books for this list that I actually read about it, and I immediately requested it from the library. It sounds really interesting and it's also pretty short.

8. Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
The idea of an alternate version of the U.S. where the Civil War never took place and slavery still continues in four states is very intriguing.

9. The Fireman by Joe Hill
Oh god, I'm so behind on Joe Hill.

10. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
How did I not manage to read Ann Patchett's new book? I love her writing so much! I realize the plot summary doesn't sound very exciting, but I also realize that shouldn't matter. It's how she tells her stories that is so wonderful and amazing.

Well, I didn't actually feel like there were many new books that I'm behind on until I started making this list, and now I feel like I'll never catch up! How can I possibly be expected to read all the books I want to read that have been published since books were invented and still be able to read the new ones being published every day? It's maddening.

What 2016 releases are you still looking forward to reading?


Unknown said...

Most of these are on my to-read list too! I didn't get into Zone One either - hopefully you'll be able to let me know if Underground Railroad is any different soon. You do need to read A Little Life - it's my book of the decade - enjoy!

Lindsay said...

I love the top half of your list -- and thank you so much for mentioning me! I haven't read "The Summer Before the War" yet but I actually own it -- I won it in a Goodreads giveaway but it didn't get to me until the week of our move and it had to get packed up for several months. I actually almost didn't read "To The Bright Edge of the World" -- I had it in a big stack of library books too and almost passed it over. Something about it made me worry it was going to be long and dry, but I couldn't have been more wrong! "The Snow Child" is now on my must-read-in-2017 list. I feel like the stories are pretty different, but I'm fully expecting to love it!

I read both "Underground Railroad" and "Underground Airlines" last year, and both were decent, but not quite worthy of all the hype in my opinion. Honestly, I think they got so much attention more because 2016 was THE YEAR of diversity in books rather than because they were especially phenomenal. I'd say give priority to "Railroad" -- I found the actual-real-railroad aspect to be gimmicky and unnecessary, but the rest of the story was pretty good. As for "Airlines," I was fascinated by the the mechanics and history of having four U.S. states where slavery is still legal, but the writing wasn't as good and the story was depressing as hell (more because of internal conflicts with the main character than the horrible world he lives in -- though that factored in too).

Also: read "The Fireman"!

3goodrats said...

I'll definitely read both A Little Life and The Fireman! :)

Anonymous said...

I've got Underground Airlines AND The Underground Railroad on my Kindle just waiting to be read...so many good books last year, not nearly enough time!