Best Books of 2016 – a list of lists


In what’s probably a new record, I spotted the first ‘Best Books of 2016’ list on October 28. Yes, a full two months left in the reading year but what the hey, if there are mince pies in the supermarket and tinsel hitting me in the face at my local shopping centre in September, why not do the yearly wrap in October?!

If you are yet to discover THE BEST BOOK OF 2016, then know that you still have oodles of reading time. Here are some ‘Best of…’ lists. It’s a list of lists – go forth and add to your TBR stack and/or get busy reading before the end of the year.

Publishers Weekly – short lists for various genres as well as an overall top ten best books for the year.

Readings – fiction plus 11 other ‘Best of 2016’ lists.

New York Times Notable Books 2016 – two of my faves made the list. There’s also their curated list of The 10 Best Books of 2016.

Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Books of 2016 – contemporary lit, bodice rippers, sci-fi – this list has it all (a generous one hundred).

Amazon Best Books of 2016 – there’s a bunch of genre lists but I’m interested in the 20 books that made the literature and fiction list.

Harper’s Bazaar Best Books of 2016 – twelve (safe) choices…

Washington Post’s Ten Best Books of 2016 – includes links to other lists such as ‘notable fiction in 2016‘, best audio books and so forth. They love a list at the Post.

Refinery29 Best Books of 2016 – the list was published in October. At least they had the decency to add a ‘So Far’ in the title.

The Week’s Best Books of 2016 – a mix of old and new names.

GQ These Are the Best Books of 2016 – a conservative five book list.

Elle Best Books of 2016 – a good mix (I admit it, I was expecting water-cooler-fiction).

Popsugar 50 of the Best Books of 2016 – I do like their “Why it’s on our list” inclusion for each title.

The Telegraph’s Top 50 Books of the Year – a mix of fiction, picture books and everything else in between.

Newsday’s Best Books of 2016 – a trim list of ten.

The Guardian Best Fiction of 2016 – not a list so much as a commentary. Nice.

Buzzfeed – The 24 Best Fiction Books of 2016 – some on this list haven’t appeared anywhere else… Interesting.

Seattle Times – The Best Books of 2016 – the critics choice.

Financial Times Best Books of 2016 – focuses on fiction (note that you have to do an annoying survey in order to access the list).


The following lists were added after the Best of 2016 list was compiled (doesn’t change the outcome – the top three books get even more votes) –

Paste Magazine – The Best Books of 2016 – did they just refer to my Top 36 to compile this list…?

The Spinoff Review of Books presents the 20 best fiction books of 2016 – okay… Jilly Cooper sits alongside Ann Patchett…

Chicago Public Library’s Best Books of 2016 – list of ten (with no real surprises).

Sydney Morning Herald Best Books of 2016 – lots of Aussie picks.

The Complete NP99: The Best books of 2016 – I like this list because selection criteria is stretched to include books that were most talked about.

Huffington Post: The 18 Best Fiction Books of 2016 – does what it says on the label.

Related and also worth a look is this list of the most over-rated books (as judged by critics) for 2016.

Lastly, as I’ve done in previous years, I’ll collate a list of the books that crop up on multiple lists – a Best of 2016 According to #ALLTHELISTS – stay tuned!


23 responses

  1. That’s ridiculous (that there are lists, not that you’ve listed them). What happens to all those books which are getting out just in time for xmas? Don’t tell me – they were published and reviewed in August/Sept to leave time for distribution.

    • Bill, from the publishers’ newsletters that I get, I don’t think any publishers release books that deserve attention in the lead up to Xmas. Go into any bookshop and it’s all so-called ‘gift books’. There will be travel books, and cook books and sporting/celebrity memoirs and that’s about it.

  2. Saw my first fully decked Christmas tree on October 1st and nearly wept. I can cope with ‘Books of the Year’ round about the third week of November – a very useful tool for buying stock in my old bookselling days – but October 28th is too early. Here in the UK there are many excellent titles published in November.

  3. I can’t think about end of year best of’s yet, I’m still not across the one month til Christmas thing either!

    All I know is that I could still read several amazing books between now and 31st Jan!!

    I have started to think about 2017 reading challenge possibilities though. I do love a readalong and will be looking for suitable candidates.
    Thank you (I think) for alerting me to this alarming trend. I will endeavour to avoid it now that I now what to look out for 🙂

  4. I’m currently reading my 86th novel for this calendar year, most of them have been of the literary fiction genre, published in 2016. There’s very little overlap between the universe of “best fiction of the year” offerings that I’ve perused on the lists above and the novels that I’ve personally (researched then) consumed…and, I’m an admitted fiction snob!

  5. Thanks for the compilation! It does seem early but I guess it is almost December? I always like the NYT list of Notable Books — which are your two faves? I’ve only read Lucy Barton and Everybody’s Fool, both very good. A lot of those are on the TBR list. I read some of LaRose but didn’t finish.

  6. Wow – there are a lot of lists out already!
    Is it just me, or do the more recent books seem to get more coverage than the ones form the beginning of the year?

  7. You know, one of these years I’ll focus on reading all the popular books just so I can see what all the fuss is about.

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  10. What a great idea and resource! I’m looking forward to seeing that compiled list. I wonder how many of my favorites will be on it?

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