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Updated by lit-exploring on Dec 28, 2016
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Best books of 2016

My top picks for 2016; based on what I read this year.

1

Submission by Michel Houellebecq

Submission by Michel Houellebecq

Have you ever picked up a book and then wanted to cancel all your plans just so you can spend time reading? It is a nice feeling and one that I experienced with Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission.

2

At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell

At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell

This book has sent me down the rabbit hole exploring existentialism and philosophy in general.

3

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

Technically a re-read for me but I couldn't leave this book off my list. Anne Fadiman is intelligent and witty and inspires me to write like her.

4

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Pale Fire is a book that will take a lifetime to read, there is so much here to explore and that is what appeals to me. The more I read from Nabokov the more I want to read, and re-read.

5

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud

One of the key components to philosophy is the ability to argue your point, this is done in many different ways and Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger does exactly that. Kamel Daoud took the same approach for his counterargument, with his novel The Meursault Investigation.

6

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

The history of China is something I know little about. I enjoyed exploring the rise of communism and the effects of the Mao era from a very personal level

7

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Alexievich continues to impress me, this is a wonderful exploration into the collapse of the Soviets, and made me want to learn more.

8

The Invention of Russia by Arkady Ostrovsky

The Invention of Russia by Arkady Ostrovsky

After reading Secondhand Time, this was the perfect companion piece. I learnt so much more about post-Soviet Russia.

9

A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli

A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli

I truly love what Hubert Mingarelli did with such a small book like A Meal in Winter. I have not been able to stop thinking about the book since I finished it. I love when a piece of literature leaves me contemplating about life and philosophical questions that I had not considered before. A Meal in Winter did just that and I think this short hundred page novella will stick with me for many years to come.

10

Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

I cannot deny Doctor Zhivago as anything but a masterpiece. I know Boris Pasternak wanted the novel to be accessible and simple, and I was surprised how easy it was to read. There is plenty to say about this novel

11

Underworld by Don DeLillo

Underworld by Don DeLillo

While there is a lot of baseball in this novel, this is worth the effort. A post-modern masterpiece

12

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

There is so much more you can get out of The Brothers Karamazov (for example family) but for me, this reading through was about questioning life in the lead up to death. I really liked how Fyodor Dostoevsky used the different brothers to explore the different angles and question his own beliefs. Dostoevsky often wrote about society, religion, politics and ethics, however in his final years while writing The Brothers Karamazov, we get the sense that he was thinking more about his own life and his legacy.

13

Existentialism and Excess by Gary Cox

Existentialism and Excess by Gary Cox

The life and times of Jean-Paul Sartre is truely fascinating

14

Missing Person by Patrick Modiano

Missing Person by Patrick Modiano

This is the type of novel you do not read for the plot. Missing Person is meant to explore an idea, invoke an emotion and get you thinking about identity and memories. The pulp-ish style to this novel really worked for m., I love the idea of investigating yourself; playing with the idea of self-discovery and identity.

15

Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre

A glimpse into the ideas behind existentialism forming. This is a truely beautiful novel on nihilism and one worth checking out.