I’ve read some amazing books this year and here’s my list of the best books of 2016: the books that made me laugh and cry, the books I couldn’t forget even after I’d finished them, the books I would definitely read again. I’ve put this list together based on books I’ve read in 2016, not necessarily books that were released in 2016. And here, not in any particular order, they are!

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I know I said this list isn’t in order but I’ve put this one first because it’s one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. It will break your heart, and you will need a huge box of tissues to make it through to the end. It’s hard going at times and I often found myself wanting to step into the pages and weep with and for the characters.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book swept me away. The writing is so beautiful and so evocative; Morgenstern’s descriptions of the circus made me see, hear, feel, taste and smell it. It’s magical, and shows a brilliant imagination at work. The love story is divine too.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This was my first Chris Cleave and he is a wonderful writer. The voice of this book caught me up from the very first page. It’s set during the second world war and it’s about Mary, a teacher trying to bring education to the lives of the forgotten children in London during the war.

Best Books of 2016

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

It’s not a perfect book but it made me laugh more than any other book has for a very long time. I do think you need to know Pride and Prejudice reasonably well to get the most out of this contemporary retelling, which isn’t a problem for me! so I loved it.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

This book surprised me. I often sit down to read hyped up books and find myself disappointed. But not with this one. Once again, you need tissues, but it’s the kind of book that you want to stay up later and later just to get through another chapter.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Being a lover of the classics, I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to get to Rebecca. Once again, I think I was worried I’d find it didn’t live up to its reputation. But it does.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

More historical fiction, this time the story of two sisters in France during the second world war. One sister is working for the resistance, the other is just trying to protect her daughter and survive the war until she finds she must also do more to save her people and her country.

Fashion is Spinach by Elizabeth Hawes

Okay, this might be a slightly weird choice. I read it as research for The Seamstress from Paris but it transcended its role as a research book and was so enjoyable. It’s a memoir of Hawes’ time in Paris working as a sketcher, and then of the ups and downs of establishing a made to measure fashion business in Manhattan in the 1920s and 1930s.

What’s on your list of best books of 2016? And have you read any of my favourites?