Top 5 Books of 2016 (Plus: Upcoming Readings in Houston)

It's not too late to read this year's buzziest tomes.

By Jeanne Lyons Davis December 27, 2016

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Released November 16, 2016; $27

St dfwqua

The bestselling author of White Teeth and NW delivered this year's most-anticipated novel, Swing Time, where Smith tackles weighty topics, like cultural divides and racial inequality, through the modern lens of two women. Hear the author read and discuss her new page turner this January when she stops by the Bayou City.

Reading on Jan 13 at 7:30. $27 admission, includes hardcover of book. Presented by Brazos Bookstore at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 5501 Main St. 713-523-0701.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Released January 12, 2016; $25

Wbba ehi9xi

One of the most powerful and poignant memoirs of the year—or, dare we say, decade—delivers the heart-wrenching story by Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon on the cusp of graduating until he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at just 36 years old. Kalanithi's profound reflections on living life and facing death are, as the Washington Post reports, "An emotional investment well worth making." Get your tissues ready.

Barkskins by Annie Proulx 

Released June 14, 2016; $32

Bs ow8x9y

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Shipping News and celebrated writer of the short story-turned-motion picture "Brokeback Mountain" comes to the Bayou City in January to read from her newest tome, Barkskins, a magnificent environmental epic that surveys three centuries of American forests and woodlands.

Reading on Jan 23 at 7:30. $5. Presented by Inprint at the Wortham Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-521-2026.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Released September 13, 2016; $27.99

Cw gixfin

We spoke with the revered author earlier this year, and she—as well as her latest bestseller Commonwealth—did not disappoint. Patchett reluctantly admitted that her seventh novel, featuring a tangled web of marriages, divorces and children, is her most personal book to date. “It’s a real temptation to deny, but yes—this book hits close to home,” she joked. “Throughout my career, I have been careful to never write autobiographical fiction, but then I wondered what would happen if I just wrote the book I was trying so hard to not write.” The result: Commonwealth.

The Girls by Emma Cline

Released June 14, 2016; $27

Dt.common.streams.streamserver bknq4r

Mirroring the grizzly murders by Charles Manson and his followers in 1969, Emma Cline's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding coming-of-age tale that follows a fictionalized group of young women and their psychological progression to do the unthinkable. Two words: must read.

Buy these bestsellers at one of Houston's independent bookstores


Show Comments