My Top 5 Reads for 2016

It has been another incredible year of reading with some truly outstanding books. Trying to put my favorite reads of the year in order has been a nightmare. My number one read has been a standout since I read the first sentence way back in January but the rest of my Top 5 has been very, very close but I think I have got them in their appropriate order. Some readers may notice my number one pick differs here from my Book of the Year at Pages & Pages. This is because there was a bit of horse trading involved at the shop picking just one title between five staff members which has resulted in a different number one.

So here goes my official and definitive Top 5 books of the 2016…

1. The Dry by Jane Harper

dryThe Dry is set in the small rural township of Kierwarra. A town on the brink after two years of drought which is rocked to its core after the murder/suicide of a farmer and his family. Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to the town to attend the funeral. Aaron and his family left twenty years ago vowing never to return. His return stirs up discontent that is already swirling through the town. When he begins to take a closer look at the circumstances surround this horrific crime his presence and his digging hits a raw nerve with many who thought they’d seen the last of Aaron Falk and will do anything to keep it that way. Read more…


2. Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

9781473618701 (1)This is a truly amazing novel that left me shattered at many different moments. I haven’t read such an original take on the Second World War like this since Life After Life and A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson, and those were both streets ahead of any other novel of the last ten to fifteen years. Cleave captures the spirit of a people so subtly and honestly and how that spirit is harnessed in order to survive. The sense of humour in the book is pitch perfect; dark, sardonic, self-deprecating, infused with camaraderie. At the same time Cleave also shows the darker side of human behaviour. Read more…

3. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

9781408880395Ann Patchett has written a novel of immense beauty, charm, sadness and tragedy. She will have you laughing out loud as you read one minute and wiping a tear away the next. This is a book I could have, and still want, to read forever. I did not want it to end so lost I became, not just in the story and the characters Ann Patchett so vividly brings to life, but also in the words and way she tells her story. This book is quite simply marvellous. This is an American Classic in the making. Read more…

4. The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke

9780733632280For anyone who thinks Australia isn’t a racist country, read this book. For anyone who thinks casual racism isn’t hurtful, read this book. For anyone who thinks Australia has changed a lot in the last 30 years, read this book. For anyone that has ignored a racist comment because they haven’t wanted to get involved, read this book. For anyone who wants to know what Australia is really like, read this book. Read more…

5. The Fireman by Joe Hill

firemanThe Fireman takes everything that was epic about The Passage, combines it with all the thought-provoking elements of The Girl With All The Gifts and then goes to a whole new level. Joe Hill has written an end of the world novel that is grand, heroic and mind-blowing but at the same time deeply personal. It is a story of survival in all its immediacy and in all its elements. It is a 600+ page page-turner that you will not want to put down (or end) and will have you enthralled the entire time you are reading it. Read more…

Honourable mentions go to The Girl in Green by Derek B. Miller, a political thriller with compassion, The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan which is a simply beautiful end of the world story,  The Good Lieutenant by Whitney Terrell which was up their with Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds, Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker which gives an incredible new perspective to war and lastly but not leastly A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers another incredible science fiction novel full of humanity and belonging.


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