Top 5 Books of 2016

From rebellion to microbes to the topic of slavery, 2016 was a great year for literary fans. To help narrow down your next book of choice, here are the best reads of 2016 on our top five chart.

1. The Vegetarian by Han Kang

The Vegetarian was named one of the best books of 2016 by Time Magazine and is set in present-day South Korea. The main character, Yeong-hye, begins the tale of living an average life with her husband. But after a series of horrible events, her mind begins to spiral out of control. And to thoroughly cleanse her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to become a vegetarian. Her intense story of rebellion challenges readers to think about the moral consequences of eating living beings and encourages self-observation. As a work of literary fiction, the book is considered a dark adult novel that is best suited for mature readers.

2. I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life, by Ed Yong

By using playful humor and interesting facts, Ed Yong educates readers on the microbiome in the non-fiction I Contain Multitudes. The biology of bugs, sea creatures, and even humans is put under a microscope to understand nature more clearly and proves that everyone and everything is connected by science. Yong teaches readers that even if they can’t see microbes, they still affect our daily lives and are located on our skin, food, plants, and many other places. The book is a fantastic source for enjoyable reading and is perfect for all ages, especially those who delight in science.

3. Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren

Another great science read on our list is Lab Girl, a book that studies flowers, trees, and other natural elements while also recounting stories of life and love. The author, Hope Jahren, chronicles her travels around the United States while gaining scientific knowledge in this non-fiction memoir. Delving into beautiful details of the natural world, while also describing tales of her childhood lab explorations, readers will grow to love the author’s world of science and nature. And as an inspirational, educational nonfiction book, it’s the ideal read for science lovers or those who are curious about botany and academia.

Get an in-depth look at the life of plants from Hope's descriptive point of view in Lab Girl.

Get an in-depth look at the life of plants from Hope’s descriptive point of view in Lab Girl.

4. What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, by Helen Oyeyemi

This volume of short stories by Helen Oyeyemi explores the multiple meanings of keys and invites readers to examine their relationships with others. From a simple key to a mystical diary to a key to the human heart, the tales are imaginative, mysterious, and full of hidden love. Each story weaves a unique tale and has multiple secrets and surprises on each page. Deeply sensuous and thought-provoking, the book is a work of fiction that may be too complicated for younger readers.

5. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

As a winner of the National Book Award, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is a classic tale best suited for history buffs. Set on a Georgian cotton plantation before the Civil War, the two main characters, Cora and Caesar, plan to escape slavery through the Underground Railroad while being trailed by a slave catcher. Through a dangerous and exciting narrative, the pair takes readers through secret tunnels while describing the real-life struggles of American slavery in an uncompromising South. With brutal violence and raw honesty, this historical fiction is a side of slavery that most readers were never taught in school.

Greatest Children’s Literary Series Ever Written

Throughout the history of literature, there have been many popular children’s books that have captured the hearts of readers. Some of these books are considered classic tales that can be enjoyed by both adults and kids alike. And while some series have been beloved for decades, others in recent years have become instant favorites. For bookworms or parents who are looking for children’s book recommendations, here’s our list of the greatest children’s literary series ever written.

The Chronicles of Narnia

A classic tale worthy of our first recommendation is The Chronicles of Narnia written by C.S. Lewis. This seven-book series follows the lives of four young children who happen to find themselves in the mystical and ever-changing land of Narnia. Here, they struggle with issues of morality, growing up, and courageous battles in the fictional world. With fantastic creatures, various mythologies, and an imaginative landscape, this book is favorited by young readers around the globe and is perfect for introducing the love of reading to a young child.

Harry Potter

A fantasy series that was introduced in more recent years is the famous Harry Potter written by J.K. Rowling. The story follows the life of Harry Potter, who is a young boy that discovers an exciting world of witchcraft and wizards and soon finds out that he’s a wizard himself. Along with his friends Hermione and Ron, Harry fights evil and learns more about himself as he adventures around his new magical world and school. This acclaimed series resonates with children of all ages and is a great coming-of-age story for teenagers as well.

Introducing a book series to a child is a great way to encourage recreational reading.

Introducing a book series to a child is a great way to encourage recreational reading.

American Adventure

A lesser-known (but equally enjoyable) book series is the historical American Adventure series. This set of forty-eight books follows various American events, from the landing of the Mayflower to the end of World War II, through the eyes of children. Although the books were written by different authors, they each follow a typical family from a time period and include a relative of the main character in the next book of the series. With an exciting and relatable narrative, both parents and children have a hard time putting these books down. And with interesting pieces of history included in the series, it’s an excellent learning tool as well.

Little House on the Prairie

As far as realism goes, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series is a wonderful set of books that are based on the author’s real life. Wilder recounts the ups and downs of living on the edge of civilization in the beautiful countryside as she grew up. Through stories of love, heartbreak, loss, and friendship, the books thrill and delight young girls and are cherished as children grow up through the years.