reading · Top Fives (or Tens)

Top Five Books of 2016

I was surprised to learn (courtesy of my Goodreads account) that I read 76 books last year! That’s a lot of procrastinating (and explains why my own novel is still not finished).

It also made picking my Top 5 so hard I had to expand it to a Top 10. So here, in the order I read them (what – as if picking them wasn’t hard enough, now you want me to rank them?), is my Top Five Ten Books of 2016!


This is exactly the kind of book our educational system needs to ban so school children can read it too. It’s a hilarious and deadly accurate history of Australia’s convict past. It’s un-Australian not to laugh while reading this.



I found this almost impossible to put down – it flowed beautifully, is relevant and important to our past, and was an emotionally intense story to boot.


dirty job

Another comedy, this one absurdist. The plot was complex, the characters deep, and the pace fast; yet Moore never once lost me, confused me or made me double back. Moore’s capacity to escalate a sense of impending doom is truly outstanding.



I have never sobbed so hard reading a book as I did reading this one. Moyes took me on an emotional rollercoaster and by the time I finished I could have done with a week off work to recover.


Kingdom Strong

Cavanaugh works hard – never taking short cuts, always conscious of his reader’s journey. He understands people, portrays the mindset of emergency services personnel realistically, and manages to weave the odd history lesson seamlessly into his story. If you love Dennis Lehane, you’ll be crazy for Kingdom of the Strong.


everything bad

I don’t play video games, I don’t watch reality TV, and I’m a neo-luddite to the extreme – but Johnson demonstrates such a surprising and uplifting pattern of smarting up taking place in our modern world that I wonder if I’m not missing out!



How does Isa even survive? She has absolutely no idea about anything! And yet she’s so endearing; when I’m not laughing at her I’m crying for her. As soon as the poor girl learns a tough new life lesson, she’s out making the same ridiculous mistakes all over again. Spoke is the master of show-don’t-tell.



This story kept me second-guessing everyone. So many times I knew exactly what was going on, who was telling the truth, who was seeing whom; only to turn the page and discover I was completely wrong.



How did I not hear about this phenomenon sooner? This is an outstanding pentalogy that has justifiably gained a cult following. Howey expertly lulls his readers towards an expected outcome before upending everything with bombshell after bombshell. Combine that with tense running-out-of-air-underwater, running-for-safety, and running-against-the-clock scenes and this series does not disappoint.



Forget peak oil, forget global warming – we are out of water.  Rothfeder uses an easy-to-read style to show us the issue of clean drinking water is one the whole world needs to worry about now. This book should be mandatory reading for everyone who wants to live and drink water.


What do you think? Did you read any of these and love them? Hate them? Do you have a list of your own?

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