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Reading | © Kevin Dooley/Flickr
Reading | © Kevin Dooley/Flickr
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12 Books You Need To Read In 2016

Picture of Hazel Rowland
Updated: 31 October 2016
With the start of 2016 comes 366 more days for reading. With that in mind, The Culture Trip Team has personally compiled the twelve books you need to read next year, ranging from new writing by today’s most exciting authors, unknown classics, to must-read gems.
Reading | © Kevin Dooley/Flickr
Reading | © Kevin Dooley/Flickr

Stay Up With Me by Tom Barbash

If there’s any contemporary book that will make you fall for the short story, it’s this. Dysfunctional families, divorce and depression might not be the most optimistic matters to begin the New Year, but with beautifully concise prose and a set of nuanced, human characters, this widely acclaimed, well-crafted collection should be the first thing on your 2016 reading list.

Island by Aldous Huxley

At a time where the world seems to be going through yet another cycle of uncertainty and unrest, restore your faith in humanity and the possibility of a better world with Huxley’s Island. This inspiring novel depicts life on a utopian island, threatened by external powers fuelled by power and greed. Huxley makes no great effort to disguise his prescriptions for personal and social improvement, but why should he? At times we all enjoy (and need) a little well-intended guidance.

Number 11 by Jonathon Coe

For most literary fiction readers of a millennial persuasion, the big names in white guy fiction are familiar: Franzen, Roth, Updike, and Foster Wallace. And while there’s plenty to recommend here, for those unfamiliar with Jonathon Coe, a British author with a body of work which is equal parts concerned with personal horrors and public satire, 2016 is an opportunity to discover him. The release of Number 11, a sequel of sorts to 1994’s What A Carve Up!, promises to introduce his work to a new audience as the eternally dreadful Winshaw family return and look set to pull apart British society and each other.

One Hundred Years Of Solitude | © Chris Dumm/Flickr
One Hundred Years Of Solitude | © Chris Dumm/Flickr

One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

It may be hardly the most obscure item on our list, but if you haven’t read One Hundred Years of Solitude yet, you should. Marquez’s magical realism will warm your heart and drive your imagination and his account of the passing of time will make you fully appreciate the present moment for what it’s worth, regardless of how old you are. The work of Marquez embodies something beautiful about humanity that very few people have ever been able to capture in words. So if you haven’t put time aside for this 20th-century classic before, then 2016 is the year to treat yourself to this absolute gem of literature.

Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin

Easily the most anticipated book of the year is the sixth installment of the Song of Ice and Fire trilogy, from the Game of Thrones fantasy series. It comes four years after its predecessor and the TV show has already caught up with the storyline, making Winds of Winter an even bigger deal than it already was for its readers!

A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

You may well have heard of this one, as it generated a lot of noise in 2013 when it was nominated for The Man Booker Prize. But if you let it fade out of your peripheral vision without giving it a read, then 2016 is the year to rectify this mistake. This spiritually fascinating and deeply poignant novel follows the stories of Nao, a displaced and depressed Japanese teenager keeping a diary of her deepest secrets and fears, and Ruth, an equally lost journalist on the other side of the world in British Columbia, who finds Nao’s diary washed up on the beach, and becomes obsessed with her world.

Portrait of Thomas Cromwell | © The Frick Collection/Wikicommons
Portrait of Thomas Cromwell | © The Frick Collection/Wikicommons

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

The adult literary world is holding its breath for the third and final installment in the Wolf Hall series, which brought its author back-to-back Man Booker prizes and international acclaim. The novel will form the final part of Mantel’s trilogy that follows the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell, one of Henry VIII’s most trusted and powerful advisors.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

This year the bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater releases the highly anticipated final installment of her series The Raven Cycle, The Raven King. The series follows five curious teenagers from Virginia on a mission to find and wake the legendary sleeping Welsh king. Due to be released in April 2016, the fourth book sets to provide a dramatic finish to the series and is not to be missed.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

2016 will be the 100th anniversary of the publication of one of James Joyce’s (many) landmark novels, and thus the perfect occasion to plunge yourself into the writer’s unique world. Follow Stephen Dedalus’s journey to maturity through Joyce’s evolving style, from the simple sentences of a young boy in boarding school to the poetic epiphanies of the budding artist. As always with the Irishman, this is a book you’ll want to read… and read again, with every attempt revealing deeper meanings and seemingly infinite complexity.

Victor Hugo est mort (Victor Hugo is dead) by Judith Perrignon

Perrignon travels back in time to the 19th century in order to trace the death of the author of Les Misérables that caused a wave of political controversy. This is a must-read for those who are intrigued by one of France’s most widely read writers.

Anthony Doerr - Pop!Tech 2009 - Camden, ME | © PopTech/Flickr
Anthony Doerr – Pop!Tech 2009 – Camden, ME | © PopTech/Flickr

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Although the World War II theme in literature may seem a bit overdone (for some), Doerr’s historical drama is a refreshing take on the events of that era. The novel is carefully constructed to chart the lives of a blind French girl and young German boy, and how they survive the devastation of World War II. Doerr’s prose is spectacular, and it is easy to see how this book gained critical acclaim and became a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

For those who loved The Mortal Instruments series and the adventures of Clary and Jace, Cassandra Clare is back with her next spin-off series, The Dark Artifices. It’s been five years since the events of The Mortal Instruments, and something isn’t quite right about the murders occurring – reminding young Shadowhunter, Emma of her parent’s death, but there’s a catch! Don’t worry we won’t spoil it, but make sure you grab a copy before the war begins. The novel is due to be released in March 2016.