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Best Books Lists for 2016

December 19, 2016

Each year, hundreds of thousands of books are published. Out of those, a select few stand out to literary institutions for their outstanding qualities. As a result, annually, many of these institutions recognize those books. Some titles recognized on multiple lists include “The Underground Railroad,” “Evicted: Poverty in the American City,” and “The Vegetarian.” VCU Libraries has cultivated a list of the top five “Best Books of 2016” articles.

Library Journal

  • Evicted: Poverty in the American City by Matthew Desmond

  • In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi

  • The Nix by Nathan Hill

  • To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

  • Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips

  • While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness by Eli Sanders

  • American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin

  • All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister

  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

National Book Award

  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X Kendi

  • The Performance of Becoming Human by Daniel Borzutzky

  • March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aysin and Nate Powell (Artist)

New York Times

  • The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan

  • The North Water by Ian McGuire

  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith

  • War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans, translated by David McKay

  • At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell

  • Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of Radical Right by Jane Mayer

  • Evicted: Poverty in the American City by Matthew Desmond

  • In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi

  • The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar

Publishers Weekly

  • Barkshins by Annie Proulx

  • What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell

  • Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson

  • Evicted: Poverty in the American City by Matthew Desmond

  • Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey by Frances Wilson

  • A Kingdom of Their Own: The Family Karzai and the Afghan Disaster by Joshua Partlow

  • Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams

  • Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Bela Shayevich

  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith

The Washington Post

  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

  • Evicted: Poverty in the American City by Matthew Desmond

  • The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

  • New of the World by Paulette Jiles

  • The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar

  • Rogue Heroes by Ben Macintyre

  • Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Bela Shayevich

  • Swing Time by Zadie Smith

  • The Trespasser by Tana French

  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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