“Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” – Francis Bacon
2016 was a wrecking ball of a year. In years to come, historians would seize upon this year to try to explain what befell us here. They are already scrambling for it. It’s like the kink in human history that refracts life in a new direction. Historians like that shit. What that new direction will be, we’ll see in the coming years.
If anything defines my 2016, it’s the hideaways. Think Anne Frank in a nook without the diary, without the Nazi, without the pogrom. Yeah, that’s me. I had my tardis which ferried me out of my physical environment to places faraway. Looking back now, if I wrote less this year, it was because I couldn’t resist the pleasure of a pastime that was so readily present in a place of arid motivation.
What I’ve mostly relished from these private retreats are my books. I’ve always loved reading but I didn’t quite know how that could help when it comes to living. In fact, it’s been often inferred in many quarters rather dismissively that readers should get a life in that curt tone you’ll used for an idler or a daydreamer. What people fail to understand is that sometimes you are faced with a situation so dire that you have to seek life outside of “living” just to keep your sanity or to keep your demons at bay. These books (and many more) came through for me this year. I mean I could die right now, happy. There isn’t any one of these books that I would hesitate to read over and over again in the future (except one).
From dozens of books feasted upon, I bring you my top 12 reads of 2016.
- Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, 2005)– Doris Kearns Goodwin
- A Death in the Family (Vintage , 1957) – James Agee
- Long Walk To Freedom (Back Bay Books, 1995) – Nelson Mandela
- We Need To Talk about Kevin (Harper Perennial, 2006)– Lionel Shriver
- Go Set A Watchman (HarperCollins, 2015) – Harper Lee
- A Little Life (Doubleday, 2015) – Hanya Yanagihara
- The Caine Mutiny (Back Bay Books, 1992)– Herman Wouk
- The Goldfinch (Little Brown, 2103)– Donna Tartt
- The Shallows – What the Internet is Doing To our Brains (W.W. Northon & Company, 2010) – Nicholas Carr
- Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau , 2015) – Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Crisis of Character (Center Street, 2016) – Gary J Bryne
- The Underground Railroad (Doubleday, 2016) – Colson Whitehead
I will be sharing in details my thoughts on each of the books (without spoilers), one day at a time with memorable quotes in the next twelve days. So watch out!