This list is only 2016 (or close?) publications. Read plenty this year from other years, but other lists, other days.
Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, released in 2015, won the 2016 Booker. Deserved. It’s the best book of 2015 and 2016. The overrated Confederacy of Dunces reads like a dictionary compared to The Sellout.
In no order:
Trouble Boys – Bob Mehr
The book any Replacements fan had been waiting for, all their lives. Now make it a movie, gods of movie making.
The Natural Way of Things – Charlotte Wood
Women kidnapped into the Australian outback endure an odd, senseless prison. Fury Road meets The Prisoner, screenplay adaptation by Kafka.
Barkskins – Annie Proulx
Her masterpiece. Only drawback: any second volume is microwaved into the last 50 pages. I would have read another, easy, such was the delicious depth of historical novel-tude brought in this generational saga of Maine 1700-1900.
The North Water – Ian McGuire
I’m not big on the serial killer motif, although this one’s done well, mixed into a 19th Century Arctic explorer drama. The passages about the Siege of Delhi got it on this list.
A Gambler’s Anatomy – Jonathan Lethem
A lesser Lethem, nonetheless entertaining and funny, and I dare say inspired by Lawrence Osbourne’s gambling novel The Ballad of a Long Player.
Darktown – Thomas Mullen
Mullen hits on an amazing premise for a thriller, in that, as far as I know, no one’s yet dramatized the struggles of Atlanta’s first black police unit in 1947. Note that year. Obstacles faced amount to murder.