Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2016 So Far

Hello my darling bookish friends,

This year has been such an eye-opened for me in terms of books. I’d never before sought out new releases, being content to catch up on classics and other previously fully vetted books. But, through a confluence of becoming more involved on Goodreads, starting this blog, figuring out that ARCs exist and that I too, can get them, I fell into the wonderful amazing world of anticipating Tuesdays (because that’s when all new books come out? Who knew Tuesdays could become my new favorite day of the week?!)

So this week’s Top Ten Tuesdays, hosted by The Broke and Bookish since 2010, is perfectly themed for me; the prompt: Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year. Now, I’ve already bought/received ARCs for far more books this year than I’ve actually read, so I’m dividing up this list in half:

  • Top Books of (first half of) 2016 I’ve actually read
  • Top Books of (first half of) 2016 I’ve bought/have and look forward to reading soon

Also, I can’t really stick to the number 10 – as snotty as I used to be about new releases (I was one of those awful people who mostly turned up their nose at “all that new stuff”) – I found, after giving them a chance, that I simply LOVE LOVE LOVE “all that new stuff” so much – so my favorites list for 2016 is overflowing. Here are my top top favorites, but I actually have many others 🙂

I am limiting my 2016 favorites to the first half of the year (end date: May 31, 2016); the list is in order of publication. 

Clicking on the image will take you to GoodReads!
Clicking on the title of the book will take you to my review on this blog (if applicable)

Top Books of (first half of) 2016 I’ve Actually Read

splitfootMr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt
Published January 5, 2016
Genres: Literary, Magical Realism, Gothic

I loved this book SO MUCH for opening up my world to part of the US I don’t ever get to experience in my cushy East-Coast perch. And, it’s so beautifully written.

gayyareadathon.jpgJuliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
Published January 18th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, LGBTQIA

I only read this book this past weekend although it came out in January – as part of my first read-along ever, #GayYAReadalong. It’s one mindblowing, eye-opening book even for someone my age that I will be reviewing shortly!


Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson
Published January 26, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary

The first book I ever pre-ordered, this is the perfect dance book – a beautifully-written historical coming-of-age in NYC, involving a former ballerina. Oh, and there’s mystery too, and two timelines. LOVE!

birdsAll the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Published January 26, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy

I simply loved the message of this book, and its execution for the most part – it’s an inventive, beautifully written story about the eternal human struggle to conquer nature through technology and all the moral implications of that.

losttimeThe Lost Time Accidents by John Wray
Published February 9, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Literary, Epic Head-Trip

Wow, well so I just noticed the ratings on this one are not good on GR at all at the moment; I guess it’s a very niche book- a clever, epic, quirkly different multi-faceted sci-fi exploration of time. But maybe a bit tedious if this isn’t your thing, based on other reviews.

lovecraft.jpgLovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
Published February 16, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy, Literary, Historical Fiction

Another brilliant sci-fi/fantasy, this one an inversion of Lovecraft’s often racist and sexist work, a visceral description of experienced racism, and a powerful allegory of institutional racism in the US, set in first half of the 20th century US.

evictedEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
Published March 1, 2016
Genres: Non-Fiction, Housing Policy, US-History, Oral-History

This is an eye-opening book about the effects of housing policy on poverty in the US, told through the stories of two communities, a mostly black inner-city neighborhood and a mostly white trailer park.

whatisnotWhat Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
Published March 8, 2016
Genres: Literary, Short-Stories

I’m not going to lie, this book went over my head a bit, but still is by far one of the most poetic books I’ve read this year. I also don’t read many short stories (the theme that ties these together is keys of all kinds, physical and metaphorical), so I was lucky to begin with such a beautiful collection.

Never-Open-Desert Diner3The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson
Published March 22, 2016
Genres: Literary, Noir, Western, Mystery

I LOVED this book to pieces, mostly because of its atmospheric rendering of a part of the US I’m fascinated by but where I’ve never been (the Utah desert). To someone from DC that’s as far “out there” as you can get in the US, and I was simply swept away into the world Anderson so masterfully creates.

secondhandSecondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich
Published May 16, 2016
Genres: Non-Fiction, Oral History, Eastern Europe, USSR-History

This is my soul-book for the year that I rated as “unlimited stars.” It’s brilliant because Alexievich is brilliant, but it’s also very close to my heart, telling as it does the history of the breakup of the Soviet Union. Ok, so I’m from Romania which was never part of the USSR, but this oral history is as close as I’ve ever gotten to a history of my past.

 Honorable Mentions of 2016 that I’ve Read & Liked a Lot

Clicking on the title of the book will take you to my review on this blog

midnight  cambodianoir  nyexposed  lovecanal

Top Books of (first half of) 2016 I Still Have to Read!!!

There’s actually a lot more books on this list, but these are the TOP books I still have to read 🙂 Clicking on the image will take you to GoodReads!

saltsea.jpg  suddendeath.jpg   whatlies.jpg  janesteele.jpg

lietree.jpg  mirrorthief.jpg  larose.jpg  dondelillo

Whew!! So many incredibly books in 2016 already! What have been some of your favorites, or which ones are you still looking forward to reading?


    1. Hi! Thank you for stopping by 🙂 Some of these were definitely ARCs for me (have you tried The Reading Room and Blogging for Books? – I’ve consistently received free books from them and Netgalley, even when I had barely started blogging). I know what you mean about the paycheck, I was exactly there in my 20s. I hope you get a chance to read some of these soon! xx


    1. YAY indeed, it is truly amazing! As for my numbers – I’m just making up for the past lifetime of never reading new releases ever. I’m like the kid in the candy shop for the first time… I’m sure the mania will die down eventually but for now I’ll indulge a bit longer 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Evie! The Never-Open Desert Diner was such a wonderful surprise! And cheers to catching up on tbr lists. I’ve only been reading so many new releases because it’s my first year doing so (I’d never read one before in my life prior to February or so). Ever since ‘discovering’ this world, it’s all I want to read, but eventually I do hope to go back to more balance – there’s still so much from past years I want to read 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I get overwhelmed by new releases! I’m still catching up on 2015, lol! But it’s fun to be reading the latest book that everyone’s talking when it’s hot. 🙂


  1. I love the sound of Lovecraft Country – must check that one out! And we have several in common for upcoming reads – LaRose, Jane Steele and Zero K – all ones I’m looking forward to. Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Naz – so I’m only so fanatic about new releases this year because before February, I had never read one in my life (mostly stuck to classics or at least pre 21-st century lit). When I read my first new-release this year, I fell in love, which quickly became an obsession as I found out how much AMAZING stuff is published hehe. Anyways I expect this mania to die down soon, hopefully, because there’s definitely so much pre-2016 stuff I still need to read!

      Juliet taught me so much and I’m not sure I want to be the first to write a review; I will definitely participate in discussions and will write a reflection eventually but first I want to listen – first application to the ‘real world’ of what Juliet taught me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sooooo looking forward to read The Lie Tree!
    There’s one (kind of) sad fact: I haven’t read any of those books you enjoyed the most.
    I feellike this year I manly read chick-lits, when two years ago I read almost only ya, and four years ago mostly literary fiction.
    It’s so funny how taste changes with time (even though I like to say that I read almost all the genres).
    The more blogs I read, and more TTT posts I see , the more and more I like it. I never participated in it but maybe I will join soon…


  3. Um so I checked again this morning and AGAIN it said I wasn’t following you!!! What the hell is going on?!?!

    I have never heard of Girl Through Glass! Looks right up my alley!

    Salt to the Sea, Jane Steele, and What Lies Between Us are all on my TBR! I can’t wait to finally free up some time for them!


  4. Aw, I’m glad you liked the Helen Oyeyemi even if you didn’t always get it. I never get everything that’s happening in her books, which would normally drive me bonkers — it did a little bit in Mr. Fox, I confess — but I just love her writing so much that I don’t care.

    Juliet Takes a Breath is on my Nook as we speak, awaiting my attention. I super can’t wait to read it; I’ve read a ton of awesome reviews of it, and it just sounds great.


  5. Haha I guess I’m snotty about new releases 😀 How dare they distract me from all these wonderful books on my tbr!? I read maaaybe 10% new releases I think, but I don’t have the money to splurge and want to read whatever I want. But it’s mostly academic nonfiction galleys that tempt me cause it’s so difficult to get them otherwise.But they take so long to read and review, sigh!

    But I love all these new books, now I want to read them immediately 😀 Especially love the sound of Evicted and the Ruff book. Also actually have the Jane Steele in my audible queue, woot! And I need to read more Erdrich and thanks to Jenny another by Hardinge. Good thing about reading them later is that I have all your recs and so know I’ll enjoy them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To make a too-long comment longer: Yayyy so happy you loved Juliet as much, isn’t it fantastic, I need to buy a physical copy to hug close! 🙂 Will review soon too, then we can compare notes!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I never read a new-release before in my life (unless it was some academic book assigned by a professor) so I’m going through a phase for sure because it’s all I’ve been reading lately. I do hope eventually the mania will die down because I have SO MUCH I want to read from before now!! And I have been super lucky – no way would I have been able to do this while I was still in school, or for many years after when I didn’t have this job. And also I’m so lucky because in the US, there are so many relatively easy ways to get free books – over half of what I’ve read this year I’ve won somehow. I wish I could send you all the books!!
      Are you still reading lots for school? Do you get a break at all soon?
      The Ruff book was *such* a surprise, it was really well done and so creative. And I am so excited about my first Erdrich! And everything else. Whatever we end up reading next, I look forward to reading all your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Enjoy all the new books!! 🙂 It’s awesome to have the option and so fun to explore all the new releases!
        Heh I usually get ebooks cause they don’t send physical ARCs across the ocean, very understandable, but galleys are nice and keep me occupied 🙂 I have about 7 weeks and then it’s freedom/unemployment but am looking forward to reading for fun. Though my current uni reads are great do there is that.
        Yay, Erdrich, loved her Round House. Aw thanks! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Juliet!


  6. I never used to read a lot of new releases either until I started blogging. Now I know better what is being released and what I’d like to read. And hey, all those older ones were new releases at some point too. 😉 Great list.


  7. This is such a wonderful list! I’m really interested in reading All the Birds in the Sky, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, Salt to the Sea and Jane Steele! I haven’t heard of quiet a few of these so I’ll definitely be checking them out on Goodreads!


  8. Great list of books and so glad The Never-Open Desert Diner is getting more buzz! Everyone should read it 😄


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