Top Ten Books of 2016

This week's topic is the Top Ten Best Books of 2016, from The Broke and the Bookish.

My top ten, in approximate order of reading (oldest to most recent):

  1. Works of Love - Soren Kierkegaard
  2. In the Land of White Death - Valerian Albanov
  3. Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea - Kenneth Bae.  Reading this memoir filled in the blanks of the story of someone who'd been on my prayer list for a long time.  It also shows an emotional, yet undramatized picture of the North Korean people as Bae encountered them.  Despite the fear, guilt, and uncertainty that Bae experienced in his imprisonment, you find a greater sense of hope, for him and for the North Koreans.  I also strongly recommend Jeffrey Donenfeld's blog post Exploring North Korea and Running the Pyongyang Marathon, either by itself or as a companion to this book.  Donenfeld's post and photos give you a poignant context to North Korea as it was just after Kenneth Bae was released.
  4. The Man Who Was Thursday (reread) - G. K. Chesterton
  5. A Prince of Our Disorder - John Mack.  Most interesting, well-sourced biography I've ever read: a gold standard for biographers of any era!
  6. An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro.  This is a sadly underrated book.  I feel like I will be promoting it for the next ten years at least.
  7. Nutcracker and Mouse King, and The Tale of the Nutcracker - Hoffmann / Dumas
  8. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
  9. Three Men in a Boat (reread) - Jerome K. Jerome
  10. The Heart of the Antarctic - Ernest Shackleton

Comments

  1. I'm so excited to see Kierkegaard as no. 1! And Chesterton at no. 5 is awesome. I absolutely MUST read more of his works this coming year. And yah! to numbers 8 & 9. I think we have very common reading likes, so I perhaps should try Ishiguro. I'm so hesitant to try modern novels because I'm always disappointed but this time I might make an exception! :-)

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    1. Yeah, modern novels tend to disappoint me, too (I tried two this year and had to give up!). Ishiguro is an unusually elegant, thoughtful writer, at least in the two novels of his I've read (The Remains of the Day being the other one). They were both good, but I felt Artist was more interesting and relevant. A quick read - I hope you'll get a chance to check it out! :)

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  2. I'm definitely adding #3 to my wishlist/TBR list. I want to read about the North Korean people.

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    1. I'd love to hear what you think about it! It's one of the few books I read this year which I'd heartily recommend to anyone.

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  3. Oh, I've heard interesting things about "The Man who was Thursday". Then again it's GKC, and he can't fail but be interesting. Marvelously fascinating man..

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    1. It's a page turner, for sure! I've found Chesterton to be hit-or-miss for me, but this is definitely a big hit. :)

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  4. I loved Three Men in a Boat, glad you did too. If ever you fancy more JKJ Idle Thoughts and Diary of a Pilgrimage are both brilliant :)

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    1. Yeah, my brother and I got a kick out of the men's antics. :) Thanks for the recs - I might want to read one of those to him next!

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  5. An Artist of the Floating World - Kazuo Ishiguro - like the sound of this. I read Remains of the Day & loved the writing.

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