2016 Favourites

We’re pretty far into January by now, but I don’t think it’s too late to share with you my favourite books of 2016. I already made a few posts wrapping up 2016 and looking forward into 2017 on my tumblr, but this one is going to be a little different. I’ve got several ‘awards’ lined up to give out to my favourite books so I don’t have to actually pick one favourite to make it more interesting. (Side note: with ‘best’ in this case I mean favourite – sometimes I prefer a book that made me happy over a book that I thought was better in quality.)

1. Best reread – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books of all time, so there’s no doubt about this one. In January I reread this book for the first time since I was 17. The first time I read it I wasn’t used to Victorian literature and though I loved it, I thought it was a bit slow. Plus, I’d seen the movie (2011, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, one of my favourite movies) shortly before. The second time I read it I was studying for a uni exam on this book and Wide Sargasso Sea; I was much more accustomed to the style and language; and suddenly it was a pageturner. (Goodreads page; my rating: 5 stars.)

(Honourable mentions to Griekse mythen by Imme Dros (Dutch) and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.)

2. Best graphic novel – Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

I wanted to reread this book the moment I’d finished it. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, and definitely lives up to the hype (I’m pretty sure there was a hype, but that might have been a while ago). It’s one of the first graphic novels I’ve ever read and I definitely recommend it to people wanting to try out graphic novels and/or comics for the first time. Be warned, though: you will start off thinking it’s cute and funny, only for your heart to be viciously torn apart once you’ve grown attached to the characters. (Goodreads page; my rating: 5 stars.)

(Honourable mention to Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.)

3. Best book published in 2016 – The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

2016 is the year I finally read the Percy Jackson series and Heroes of Olympus, and when I’d finished those I was pretty excited for The Trials of Apollo. Somehow I was still pleasantly surprised! I can’t wait for the next books to come out. I love Apollo so much. It’s also pretty awesome to read a popular YA/teen series with an openly bisexual protagonist. Even if Rick Riordan skirts over the more sexy and gruesome parts of Greek mythology (so much so that I can get a little annoyed) he does that right! (Goodreads page; my rating: 3,5 stars.)

4. Best scifi – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

This is another book that I read because it was recommended on bookstagram. I didn’t know what to expect – and I was pleasantly surprised. This isn’t your average scifi; in fact, I can recommend it even if you don’t like scifi. Yes, there are aliens and spaceships and other sciency and fictiony things. But this is a pure comfort read about a small group of travellers on a ship, each with their own backstories and relationships. Even though it’s set in the far future in space, it makes you think about diversity today. I would love to read more books like this and I’ll definitely read the sequel! (Goodreads page; my rating: 4 stars.)

(Honourable mention to The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.)

5. Why didn’t I read this sooner? – The Iliad by Homer (Dutch translation by Imme Dros)

I’m a fourth year classics student and yet I had never read the Iliad completely until last August. The Odyssey is one of my all time favourite books and I was afraid I wouldn’t like the Iliad as much because of all the violence – I thought it would be boring. Boy, was I wrong. Yes, I still like the Odyssey better, but the Iliad is so much more than fighting – and the fighting itself is actually very exciting and quite gory. If you think the Iliad is about the glory and heroics of war, you’re wrong: war is always described as horrible, and though it is a Greek epic, the Trojans are shown to be just as human as the Greeks, and mistakes are made on both sides. To Dutch people I recommend the translation by Imme Dros if you’re just getting into epic, because it’s a metric translation, but still very easily readable. If you want a translation closer to the text, the metric translation by H.J. de Roy van Zuydewijn is also very good, but takes a little more concentration. (Goodreads page; my rating: 5 stars.)

(Honourable mention to Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.)

Do you agree with my choices? Are there any categories you would like to add? Tell me in the comments, and maybe I’ll find a few books to put on my tbr for this year!

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6 thoughts on “2016 Favourites

    • I’ve found a good translation can really make a difference. Unfortunately I don’t know a lot about translations of the Iliad in other languages than Dutch, but I recommend looking for a more modern translation if you want to give the Iliad a try. My translation had little summaries at the start of each book, which was very helpful!

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