2016 reading round-up

My top books this year:

  • The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (non-fiction/memoir; 2016; Melville House), because just wow.
  • In Altre Parole by Jhumpa Lahiri, with parallel translation by Ann Goldstein (non-fiction/memoir; 2016; Bloomsbury), at times cautious in its enquiry, at others giddy, a love letter to a language expressed beautifully.
  • Everyone Is Watching by Megan Bradbury (novel; 2016; Picador), for its amazing narrative voice that somehow, by some amazing trick of the light, swept me up into the rhythm of New York.
  • Blind Water Pass by Anna Metcalfe (stories; 2016; John Murray Originals), a collection that stunned me with its sensitivity of observation and its quietness of execution. I was lucky enough to see ‘Still’ brought to life as part of the Story Machine – one of my top live literature experiences to date!
  • Panty by Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay, translated by Arunava Sinha (novella; 2016; Tilted Axis), for its intriguing puzzle-piece structure, its boldness, and the gorgeous design.
  • The Lauras by Sara Taylor (novel; 2016; William Heineman), which is written like silk. Sara Taylor writes so you can just glide along her phrases while still appreciating the diamond-flashes of exquisite characterisation.
  • Trouble by Alison Winch (poetry; 2016; The Emma Press), a slim but exciting pamphlet, which delighted me with its interlocking sequences and central tour de force, ‘Alisoun’.
  • Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo (poetry; 2016; Carcanet), for its bravery and lyricism and humour.
  • The Living by Anjali Joseph (novel; 2016; Fourth Estate), which wowed me with its nonchalantly precise and effortlessly sensitive style. This book was a league above my other holiday reads.
  • backlist wildcard: Nilling by Lisa Robertson (non-fiction/essay; 2012; Book Thug), for its dizzying range and palpable joy in exploration.

 

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