Sunday, 11 December 2016

Highly Anticipated 2016 Books I Didn't Get Around to Reading

Earlier in the year, I posted a list of all the books I was really looking forward to reading on the website of the bookshop I was working at-- a bookshop which has since closed down, taking its website and my original post with it.  On the one hand, I am now saved from measuring how poorly I stuck to my guns on the books I wanted to read!  On the other, I'm now flying blind and so I am going to assume I knew about all of these books at the beginning of the year.

Reading can be a funny thing-- you're so keen on a book and it comes out, you buy it and then... huh, you're not in the mood to read it straight away and other things sneak up the TBR (to be read) pile.

Without any further to do, here is a list of GREAT 2016 Books that I'm still keen to read but haven't got to yet.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

It's sitting on my shelf and I will get to it soon.  This was definitely one which snuck up on me.  I'd seen the cover and I knew nothing about it, and then suddenly everyone on Youtube was talking about it and I HAD to track down a copy.

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

I was so keen to read this that I had my Mum bring me back one from London-- it's since come out in Australia and I WILL read it in the next few weeks.  I hope.  

Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners' agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart.

Today will be Different by Maria Semple

I loved Maria Semple's previous two novels, and I've also recently watched all of Arrested Development for the first time, which I believe she was involved in.  I am planning on saving this one for a time when I need a hilarious read.  

Eleanor knows she's a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won't swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action-life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother's company. It's also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office-but not Eleanor-that he's on vacation. Just when it seems like things can't go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret. 

Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall

This debut novel was one which came across my desk and I could not pass it up-- lighthouses, Australian history-- it ticks so many boxes for me and I think it's a book which will have to come on holidays with me.  

Kate and Harriet are best friends, growing up together on an isolated Australian cape in the 1880s. As daughters of the lighthouse keepers, the two girls share everything, until a fisherman, McPhail, arrives in their small community. When Kate witnesses the desire that flares between him and Harriet, she is torn by her feelings of envy and longing. But one moment in McPhail’s hut will change the course of their lives forever. 

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood - where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

There was a brief couple of weeks during 2016 when this book was all anyone could talk about and I was obsessed with getting a copy.  Yet once I had one, Uni got in the way and I forgot my keenness!  Another one I want to get to and SOON.  

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

The Girls by Emma Cline


Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong. 

The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis

Anne Jaccob is coming of age, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. When she is taken advantage of by her tutor — a great friend of her father’s — and is set up to marry a squeamish snob named Simeon Onions, she begins to realize just how powerless she is in Georgian society. Anne is watchful, cunning, and bored.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

This was the most recently published of the bunch and I am hearing exciting things, like Ferrante comparisons!  I'm looking forward to a few good weeks of bunking down with novels like this one in the very near future.  

Two brown girls dream of being dancers--but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.



That's all I'm willing to admit it for now, folks-- what didn't you manage to get to this year?  Share your books below in the comments.

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