Our Favorite Reads Of The Year

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Winter reading. (Thomas Szynkiewicz/Flickr)
Winter reading. (Thomas Szynkiewicz/Flickr)

We've rounded up our favorite books, essays, poems and prose of the year. We're joined in studio by two local authors to hear what stood out to them and the trends they saw in 2016.


Jabari Asim, editor-in-chief of The Crisis, the journal of the NAACP, and a professor of creative writing at Emerson College. His latest book is "Preaching To The Chickens." He tweets @jabariasim.

Laura van den Berg, Briggs-Copeland lecturer in fiction at Harvard University. Her latest book is "Find Me." She tweets @lvandenberg.

Jabari Asim's Booklist


Freedom in Congo Square, Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

How to Build a Museum: Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Tonya Bolden


Olio, Tyehimba Jess

Counting Descent, Clint Smith

Collected Poems 1974-2004, Rita Dove

Adult Nonfiction

The World In Flames, Jerald Walker

We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation, Jeff Chang

Hidden Figures: The American Dream And The Untold Story Of The Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win The Space Race, Margot Lee Shetterly

Adult Fiction

Insurrections: Stories, Rion Amilcar Scott

Graphic Novel

March: Book Three, John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell

Laura van den Berg's Booklist


What is Not Yours is Not Yours, Helen Oyeyemi

Heartbreaker: Stories, Maryse Meijer

Swing Time, Zadie Smith

The Vegetarian, Han King

Short Stories

What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, Lesley Nneka Arimah

The Next World and the Next, Alice Sola Kim


Who Gets to Write What?, Kaitlyn Greenidge

Joy Williams's Refractory Brilliance, James Wood

I Have No Choice But to Keep Looking, Jennifer Percy

Autocracy, Rules for Survival, Masha Gessen

How I Fell in Love with the Beautiful Art of Cruising, Garth Greenwell


A New National Anthem, Ada Limón

Social Skills Training, Solmaz Sharif

Radio Boston's Booklist

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance

  • "I was looking for insight, a window into a culture and community I didn’t know well, and I found it." — host Shira Springer

Playing Through the Whistle: Steel, Football, and an American Town, S.L. Price

  • "For me, sports is always a powerful lens for viewing society and history. And this biography of Aliquippa, its people, its football players provides exactly that." — host Shira Springer

Building Old Cambridge: Architecture and Development, Susan E. Maycock and Charles M. Sullivan

Invisible Man, Got The Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man's Education, Mychal Denzel Smith

  • "A beautifully written, personal account of what it's like now for young black men growing up in America in a post Michael-Brown era. A quick read. Mychal doesn't have all the answers to alleviating his struggles, but his willingness to be vulnerable and thoughtful is an inspiration." — producer Ashley Bailey

The High Mountains Of Portugal, Yann Martel

  • "Driven by three interlocking stories, the novel follows a museum curator's journey to find a lost object, a pathologist who is mystified by a strange request, and a Canadian senator who moves to the High Mountains to escape from it all. I couldn't put it down." — producer Alison Bruzek

This segment aired on December 29, 2016.


Headshot of Alison Bruzek

Alison Bruzek Associate Producer, Radio Boston
Alison Bruzek was a producer for Radio Boston.


Headshot of Shira Springer

Shira Springer Sports and Society Reporter
Shira Springer covers stories at the intersection of sports and society.



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