You may be counting down the days until the year that brought us political upheaval, devastation, and the deaths of too many of our favourite artists finally ends. But while 2016 has come (and will soon go) with its fair share of tragedy, it has also given us many new opportunities to curl up with a good book when the real world overwhelms us.
Every publication worth its salt has produced a best-of-the-year list featuring anywhere from ten to over a hundred titles; we've got just a few here for you, followed by a wholly unscientific overview of some of the books that are beloved by more than one end-of-year critic.
- The Guardian asked nearly 100 authors for their selections in a two-part instalment
- New York Times Book Review editors offered up their ten favourites
- Publishers Weekly selected a classic ten titles
- Harpers Bazaar picked 13 books
- New Yorker contributors had their say
- CBC Radio gave us a top 100
- NPR's staff picked nearly 150 titles
- The Washington Post had ten favourites
In all these lists, praises for a few titles were sung over and over again. Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad was a clear favourite; this winner of the National Book Award for Fiction was also on President Obama's summer reading list. Hisham Matar's account of going back to Libya to uncover the truth of his father's disappearance, The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between, came highly recommended as well. American sources in particular lauded Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond, and The Vegetarian by Han Kang (which won the Man Booker International Prize), The Girls by Emma Cline, Swing Time by Zadie Smith and All That Man Is by David Szalay all found their way onto several reviews of the year in books. So if you're looking for a gift or a way to escape the remaining vestiges of 2016, give one of these favourites a try. And let us know what you thought.