And the Winners Are...

Article by staff

We’ve told you about our 2016 #BrazosBest picks. We’ve all run down our individual top ten lists. But now, one final list to end of the year: the books that affected us the most, whether new releases or classics. We asked each member of our staff one simple question: What book did you read in 2016 that you’ll remember the best, that sums up the year?

2016 has been, um, complicated, for many reasons, but these books helped us get through the ups and downs.

2666 Cover Image
By Roberto Bolano, Natasha Wimmer (Translator)
ISBN: 9780312429218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - September 1st, 2009

An immersive and inscrutable masterpiece that is hands down one of the single best reading experiences of my life.

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Bluets Cover Image
ISBN: 9781933517407
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wave Books - October 1st, 2009

I came to Nelson late, but just in time. In a year that often felt dumb, despairing, and claustrophobic, Nelson reminded me that “humanity” is a word that should encompass and celebrate our differences, and that anti-intellectualism is bullshit: there’s no shame in being the smartest person in the room.

The Days of Abandonment Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
ISBN: 9781933372006
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - September 1st, 2005

Why has it taken me so long to read Ferrante?? I've been meaning to start the Neapolitan novels for months now but, intimidated by the volume, I chose to start with THE DAYS OF ABANDONMENT. What a ferocious, explosive novel! An instant classic for "nasty women" everywhere.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143037248
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - June 27th, 2006

A book that assures you it’s okay to not know exactly where you’re headed—just enjoy the mystery of it all and learn to trust your instincts.

The Natural Way of Things Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609453626
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Europa Editions - June 28th, 2016

There are novels that take you to places you don’t want to forget as well as books that never leave you and this book will continue to stay with you for some time.

News of the World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062409201
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - October 4th, 2016

A great Texas novel, with perfectly drawn characters. Exciting, emotional, and authentic. You won't soon forget this NEWS OF THE WORLD.

The Obelisk Gate (Broken Earth #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316229265
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - August 16th, 2016

This sharp-toothed follow-up to THE FIFTH SEASON gives us the same finely-polished mirror for our own broken society, set against the backdrop of a world in its death-throes, a civilization eating itself from the inside out. Jemisin’s dedication reads "To those who have no choice but to prepare their children for the battlefield"—a perfect beginning to the best book to read in this year's social and political climate.

Stag's Leap Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375712258
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - September 4th, 2012

When I asked Sharon Olds herself about this book during an interview for our website, she said, "Sadness and anger are just as important as joy and happiness." I don't think she meant important in that sadness and anger are emotions we should seek, the way we (many) pursue the others, but that they are just as valid, should we encounter them.

Teacup Cover Image
By Rebecca Young, Matt Ottley (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780735227774
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - October 4th, 2016

The picture book TEACUP by Rebecca Young is not only beautiful but it also sums up 2016 for me both personally and as a citizen of the world because like the boy in the book, I feel we are all adrift, our teacups of home in our hands, weathering brutal storms, hoping to land safely, our internal compasses set for hope.

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