The Best Books Of 2016

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The best books of 2016: “The Underground Railroad,” “Swing Time,” “Commonwealth.” We’ll crack the books.

A selection of the covers of some of the year's best books. (Courtesy the Publishers)
A selection of the covers of some of the year's best books. (Courtesy the Publishers)

The days grow short, the nights grow long, the snow begins in the north, and many minds turn to the joys of a great book. For companionship, for enlightenment, for enchantment. We’re looking today at the best books of 2016. For the reads you may want to devour, or share as gifts this year. Maybe “The Regional Office is Under Attack,” by Manuel Gonzales.  Maybe “Barksins,” by Annie Proulx. We’ve got great readers from across the country. And great books. This hour On Point: the best books of 2016. — Tom Ashbrook


Mary Ann Gwinn, book editor for the Seattle Times. (@gwinnma)

Jill Grunenwald, host of the Professional Book Nerds podcast and staff librarian at Overdrive, an e-book and audio book app for public libraries. (@jill_grun)

Ron Davis, co-owner of Wild Fig Books and Coffee in Lexington, KY and author of “Tangerine Tubman.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Seattle Times: The best books of 2016, from our critics -- "The first week of December is one of my favorite times of the year — not because of the holiday buzz, not because of the waning light (definitely not that), but because I get to compile The Seattle Times best-books list."

New York Times: 100 Notable Books of 2016 -- "The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. This list represents books reviewed since Dec. 6, 2015, when we published our previous Notables list."

Washington Post: The Ten Best Books Of 2016 -- "In our annual survey of the best books, you’ll find 10 that we think are exceptionally rewarding and 100 notable titles that you shouldn’t miss. Also, look for our special recommendations for lovers of mysteries, graphic novels, audiobooks, romance, poetry, memoirs, and science fiction and fantasy."

Mary Ann's Picks

The Throwback Special” by Chris Bachelder

Imagine Me Gone” by Adam Haslett

News of the World” by Paulette Jiles

Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings” by Stephen O’Connor

Commonwealth” by Ann Patchett

The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead

Barkskins” by Annie Proulx

Another Brooklyn” by Jacqueline Woodson

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life” by Ruth Franklin

The Gene: An Intimate History” by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Jill's Picks

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman” by Lindy West

Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch

The Darkness Knows” by Cheryl Honigford

End of Watch” by Stephen King

The Trespasser” by Tana French

The Invisible Library” by Genevieve Cogman

Harmony” by Carolyn Parkhurt

Hillbilly Elegy” by JD Vance

In a Different Key: The Story of Autism” by John Donvan and Caren Zucker

Run Fast. Eat Slow.” By Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky

Ron's Picks

"The Regional Office is Under Attack” by Manuel Gonzales

"Here Comes the Sun” by Nicole Dennis-Benn

"Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk” by Danielle Krysa

Know the Mother” by Desiree Cooper

Patience” by Daniel Clowes

Paper Girls” by Brian V. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

"Rad Women Worldwide” by Kate Schatz

Nearly Perfect Photograph” by Christopher McCurry

The Birds of Opulence” by Crystal Wilkinson

Your Picks

"Born A Crime" by Trevor Noah

"The Chicken (or three weird tales)" by Hildred Rex

"Rescuing Your Local Economy" by Francis P. Koster

"Clamor of Crows" by Ray Merritt

"Small Great Things" by Jodi Picoult

"The Winter Fortress" by Neal Bascomb

"Today Will Be Different" by Maria Semple

"Kill 'Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul" by James McBride

"My Name Is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout

"The Mothers" by Brit Bennett

"The Infinite" by Nicholas Mainieri

"The Hike" by Drew Magary

"You Can't Touch My Hair" by Phoebe Robinson

"The Nix" by Nathan Hill

"Modern Romance" by Aziz Ansari

"To the Bright Edge of the World" by Eowyn Ivey

Check Out Our Staff's Picks For Favorite Books Of 2016

This program aired on December 5, 2016.


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