Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2016

One of the things I love most about this time of year are the Best Books of the Year lists.  One could argue that there are too many of these lists, but for me, it’s about picking the best “Best Of” lists.  The ones that offer you a wide selection of books across multiple genres, and the ones that give you easy access to their lists from previous years.

With that in mind, I give you Publisher’s Weekly “Best Books of the Year” list.  They feature around 150 of the best books published that year, broken down by genre, subject, and audience, and what’s even better is that they feature easy-access links to previous Best Of lists, going back to 2009!  You can even check out their “Best of Summer” lists, which go back to 2012.  In other words, prepare for your reading list to EXPLODE.

You can check out the full list here, but I decided to put in some extra effort and find the books on the list that we already own at the Waukegan Library.  If you find a title you’re interested in, click on the cover and it’ll take you right to the catalog to place a hold.  And if you see a book on the list that we don’t own?  Suggest it as a purchase for the library’s collection!

Top 10

barkskins   what-belongs-to-you   blood-in-the-water   evicted

Barkskins 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 and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

99-stories-of-god   underground-railroad   the-vegetarian

Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Best Fiction

the-fortunes   the-girls   homegoing   larose   the-mirror-thief

The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies

The Girls by Emma Cline

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

LaRose by Louise Erdrich

The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay

mischling   siracusa   the unseen world   zero-k

Mischling by Affinity Konar

Siracusa by Delia Ephron

The Unseen World by Liz Moore

Zero K by Don DeLillo

Best Mystery/Thriller

fields-where-they-lay   a-great-reckoning   redemption-road   underground-airlines   the-widow   you-will-know-me

Fields Where They Lay by Timothy Hallinan

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

Redemption Road by John Hart

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

The Widow by Fiona Barton

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott


the-black-maria   look   so-much-synth

The Black Maria by Aracelis Girmay

Look by Solmaz Sharif

So Much Synth by Brenda Shaughnessy


duke-of-my-heart   magnate   the-obsession   sunrise-crossing

Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen

Magnate by Joanna Shupe

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror

the-book-of-the-unnamed-midwife   the-obelisk-gate

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

Comics & Graphic Novels

how-to-survive-in-the-north   march-book-3   one-hundred-nights-of-hero   rosalie-lightning

How to Survive in the North by Luke Healy

March, Book 3 by John Lewis

One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart


another-day-in-the-death-of-america   are-we-smart-enough-to-know-how-smart-animals-are   blood-at-the-root   born-to-run   the-fire-this-time

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives by Gary Younge

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal

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

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race ed. by Jesmyn Ward

hidden-figures-the-american-dream-and-the-untold-story-of-the-black-women-mathematicians   i-contain-multitudes   the-lonely-city   love-for-sale   modified

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

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

The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Laing

Love For Sale: Pop Music in America by David Hajdu

Modified: GMOs and the Threat to Our Food, Our Land, Our Future by Caitlin Shetterly

a-rage-for-order   their-promised-land   when-breath-becomes-air   white-trash

A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahir Square to ISIS by Robert F. Worth

Their Promised Land: My Grandparents in Love and War by Ian Buruma

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg



Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age by Katherine Ozment

Picture Books

before-morning   the-bossier-baby   du-iz-tak   ideas-are-all-around   jazz-day

Before Morning by Joyce Sidman

The Bossier Baby by Marla Frazee

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis

Ideas Are All Around by Philip Christian Stead

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill

the-journey   leave-me-alone   lucy   schools-first-day-of-school   thunder-boy-jr

The Journey by Francesca Sanna

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol

Lucy by Randy Cecil

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

we-found-a-hat   when-green-becomes-tomatoes

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems For All Seasons by Julie Fogliano

Middle Grade

the-best-man   ghost   ghosts   the-girl-who-drank-the-moon   the-inquisitors-tale

The Best Man by Richard Peck

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Inquisitor’s Tale, Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz

ms-bixbys-last-day   pax   the-poets-dog   raymie-nightingale   snow-white

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

The Poet’s Dog by Patricia MacLachlan

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan

some-writer-the-story-of-eb-white   vietnam-a-history-of-the-war   the-wild-robot

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

Vietnam: A History of the War by Russell Freedman

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Young Adult

anna-and-the-swallow-man   exit-pursued-by-a-bear   if-i-was-your-girl   kids-of-appetite   the-lie-tree

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

Exit, Pursued By a Bear by E.K. Johnston

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

my-lady-jane   the-passion-of-dolssas   salt-to-the-sea   the-serpent-king   still-life-with-tornado

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Septys

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King

the-sun-is-also-a-star   unbecoming

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham


Happy reading!

—Katie, Adult Reference