List

2016 Staff Picks: Fiction

Our expert readers advisory staff take a look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • The Underground Railroad : a novel

    2016 by Colson Whitehead

    "Whitehead's set up for this slave narrative is so interesting: what if the underground railroad was actually an underground railroad? It's a sobering, moving and thoughtful novel--perfect for book clubs."

    Recommended by Allyson

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  • Larose

    2016 by Louise Erdrich

    "This is a profound tale of friendship and forgiveness and, like most of Erdrich’s novels, focuses on Native American characters with their combination of traditional and modern ways, as well as bursts of bawdy and sweet humor. Erdrich herself narrates the audio and what a pleasure that was to listen to!"

    Recommended by Lukie

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  • The Singles Game

    2016 by Lauren Weisberger

    "I am a tennis fan who indulges in chick lit so this one was a must read. What I did not expect was that I would like it so much. Charlotte, a moderately good tennis player, dreams of winning Wimbledon, but does she have to sell her soul and her values to do it? Not a deep read by any stretch, but tons of fun."

    Recommended by Cecilia

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  • Everybody's Fool

    2016 by Richard Russo

    "The long-awaited sequel to 1993's Nobody's Fool, which is the first book I ever read by Russo and began my passion for his writing and folksy style. Though not as vivid and melodic as the 1993 novel, this one continues the tales of residents of North Bath, New York."

    Recommended by Cecilia

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  • Homegoing

    2016 by Yaa Gyasi

    "Normally I am not a huge fan of sprawling historical fiction and this definitely qualifies as it spans 300 years following the family lines of two half sisters from two different African tribal villages. But Gyasi's writing was so inviting that I felt like I had a sense of every character, of which there are many. It also does an excellent job of illustrating how far removed history still impacts our society today."

    Recommended by Kathy

    "Homegoing is a family story about the impact of the slave trade throughout generations. It begins in Ghana and then continues along a family tree that divides into two sides: those forced in slavery in America and the family that stayed in Ghana. This beautifully written book will stay with you long after you read the last page."

    Recommended by Leah

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  • My Name Is Lucy Barton : a novel

    2016 by Elizabeth Strout

    "Elizabeth Strout is an exceptionally good writer and that is showcased in this story of a young woman reconnecting with her mother. What I truly love about Strout is that she trusts her readers. Her sparse and beautiful writing tells a much bigger story than the words on the page and she allows you to get there your own way in your own time."

    Recommended by Kathy

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  • Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist : a novel

    2016 by Sunil Yapa

    "It is a rare book that can be pulse pounding and fast-paced as well as thoughtful and meaningful. This book succeeds on both those levels as it follows one day during the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization protests."

    Recommended by Kathy

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  • Commonwealth : a novel

    2016 by Ann Patchett

    "I love how Patchett captures the emotional changes over time of the adults and children as two marriages break up, the children combine and break apart, and ultimately gain understanding as they survive adversity and move into adulthood."

    Recommended by Terry

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  • City of Secrets

    2016 by Stewart Nan

    "This short book captivated me because I love historical fiction and strong characterization. O’Nan takes you deep into the troubled minds and lives of Holocaust refugees as they try to rebuild their lives and their personalities in the increasingly dangerous city of Jerusalem, 1945 as it struggles for independence."

    Recommended by Terry

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  • A Gentleman In Moscow

    2016 by Amor Towles

    "You’d think a story about a Russian count sentenced by the Bolsheviks to life imprisonment in the Metropol hotel through a tumultuous period in Russian history would be terribly depressing. But it isn’t. Instead it’s imaginative, funny, philosophical, literary and uplifting; a roadmap to living a meaningful life. And my favorite book of the year."

    Recommended by Terry

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  • The Nest

    2016 by author Aprix

    "A well-written mildly-dysfunctional siblings tale with even the unlikable characters likable enough at times. Sweeney’s lively plot has humor and compassion. My favorite character was a side character, who had the sense to reject the man but hold onto the family. Really good on audio."

    Recommended by Lukie

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  • Truly Madly Guilty

    2016 by Liane Moriarty

    "If you like immersing yourself in novels with well-developed characters in challenging social situations, Moriarty’s a great choice. The Australian setting is a plus and I like listening to the Aussie accent of narrator Caroline Lee, who is absolutely stupendous every time."

    Recommended by Lukie

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  • The Bookshop on the Corner : a novel

    2016 by Jenny Colgan

    "A Birmingham librarian loses her job to restructuring and new focus, then she steps out of her comfort zone to start a bookshop on wheels in the Scottish highlands. Light and charming, with a dash of romance. I’m still smiling."

    Recommended by Sharon

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  • Hitler, Mussolini, and Me : a sort of triography

    2016 by Charles Davis

    "This is the second funniest book I’ve ever read about Adolf Hitler, but unlike Timur Vermes’ Look Who’s Back, Hitler, Mussolini, and Me is firmly grounded in historical fact: der Fuhrer’s 1938 tour of Italy’s art treasures accompanied by il Duce, assorted Nazi bigwigs, and the hapless narrator of this acidly witty faux memoir."

    Recommended by Steven

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  • His Bloody Project : documents relating to the case of Roderick Macrae

    2016 by Graeme Macrae Burnet

    "If I didn’t know better, I’d believe this historical thriller about a brutal multiple murder in the nineteenth-century Scottish Highlands was nonfiction, so expertly does its author capture the spirit of the time and place as well as the messiness and uncertainty of real life."

    Recommended by Steven

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  • The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

    2016 by Sonny Liew

    "A work of stunning, virtuosic audacity, Liew’s graphic novel explores the twists and turns of post-WWII Singapore through the eyes of its greatest cartoonist, Charlie Chan Hock Chye. The book is ripe with highlights of Chan’s past work and evolution --hasty pencil sketches, archival comic strips, oil paintings--made all the more breathtaking by the fact that Chan never existed and is, in fact, work of fiction created entirely by Liew!"

    Recommended by Chris

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  • Daredevils

    2016 by Shawn Vestal

    "Set against the backdrop of the mid-1970s American West, this coming-of-age tale tells the story of Loretta who is married off as a sister-wife by her fundamentalist father. This fascinating page-turner would be a good read for fans of Claire Vaye Watkins."

    Recommended by Leah

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  • Another Brooklyn : a novel

    2016 by Jacqueline Woodson

    "A coming-of-age novel where the past, present, and future all mingle together in a dreamlike fashion. Fifteen year old August's voice is perfect and authentic."

    Recommended by Lee

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  • The Girls : a novel

    2016 by Emma Cline

    "Emma Cline is a young writer who strings together lyrical (though occasionally nonsensical) sentence fragments into a heady patchwork of atmosphere--not unlike the lost and confused generation she seeks to capture in her debut novel. This fictionalized account of a Manson family type compound, and the young girl who orbits it, had me doing a lot of Googling to figure out just how much of the real was mixed in with the made-up. Really though, the commune and the killing are almost footnotes to the rich exploration of feminine coming-of-age. Girls, people who were once girls, and parents of girls will find things to crow, cry, and cringe over."

    Recommended by Jane

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