Author Topic: Favorites of 2016  (Read 571 times)

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Offline Sawyer

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Favorites of 2016
« on: December 24, 2016, 10:53:34 AM »
Looked through my Goodreads record for the previous year and decide to post my 5 star books here.

Nonfiction
Better Angels of Our Nature      Steven Pinker
Master of the Senate (and the whole LBJ series)       Robert Caro
Eight Little Piggies      Stephen Jay Gould
Ratf**ked        David Daley
The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets     Simon Singh
Gene       Siddhartha Mukherjee      (still reading but very strong so far)

Fiction
Heretics of Dune (and other odd # Dune books)       Frank Herbert
Seveneves       Neal Stephenson
The Comedians     Graham Greene

Graphic Novel-ish
Thing Explainer       Randall Munroe
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage     Sydney Padua
Most of the Saga Series      Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples


Read lots of solid non-fiction books published within the last two years that didn't quite make the cut - Pandemic, Lab Girl, Pacific, Grunt, Between the World and Me.



Anyone else have "must read" recommendations from the last year?


Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: Favorites of 2016
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2016, 05:30:07 PM »
My favourite books I read this year:

A Fire Upon the Deep Vernor Vinge
A Darker Shade of Magic V.E.Schwab
Aurora Kim Stanley Robinson
The Golem and the Jinni Helene Wecker

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe Chris Taylor

Graphic Novels
Saga
The Walking Dead

Offline fuzzyMarmot

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Re: Favorites of 2016
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2016, 03:14:30 PM »
Here are some of my favorites from 2016 (a few of these might have come out in 2015):

Fiction
1. Purity, Jonathan Franzen
2. High Dive, Jonathan Lee
3. The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen
4. The Sellout Paul Beatty
5. The Nix Nathan Hill
6. Swing Time Zadie Smith
7. Here I Am Jonathan Safron Foer
8. Jerusalem Alan Moore (not sure if this is really good, really bad, or both, but it is certainly ambitious).

I also heartily second Sawyer's recommendation of Seveneves.

Nonfiction:
1. One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway--and its aftermath Asne Seierstad
2. Weapons of Math Destruction Cathy O'Neil
3. The Romanovs: 1613-1918 Simon Sebag Montefiore
4. I Contain Multitudes Ed Yong
5. The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran
6. Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS Jody Warrick

Sawyer's Pinker recommendation reminds me that I need to read it! Looks daunting, though.

Offline Sawyer

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Re: Favorites of 2016
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2016, 04:12:25 PM »
Here are some of my favorites from 2016 (a few of these might have come out in 2015):

Fiction
1. Purity, Jonathan Franzen
2. High Dive, Jonathan Lee
3. The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen
4. The Sellout Paul Beatty
5. The Nix Nathan Hill
6. Swing Time Zadie Smith
7. Here I Am Jonathan Safron Foer
8. Jerusalem Alan Moore (not sure if this is really good, really bad, or both, but it is certainly ambitious).

I also heartily second Sawyer's recommendation of Seveneves.

Nonfiction:
1. One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway--and its aftermath Asne Seierstad
2. Weapons of Math Destruction Cathy O'Neil
3. The Romanovs: 1613-1918 Simon Sebag Montefiore
4. I Contain Multitudes Ed Yong
5. The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran
6. Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS Jody Warrick

Sawyer's Pinker recommendation reminds me that I need to read it! Looks daunting, though.

A caveat to the Pinker book - it really should have been 300 pages shorter, or twice as long and split up into several books.  The central thesis about violence declining and the evidence for this decline is apparently well accepted by most social scientists and is not hard to explain.  The details behind it though, including the underlying human psychology, variation in different societies, and potential future trends are topics of fierce debate, and I don't know if Pinker came to definitive conclusions about any of them.

Glad to see the Beatty book on your fiction list.  My aunt gave it to me for Christmas and her recommendations are not very consistent for me.

 

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