So 2016 is finally about to fade into, what will hopefully be, a better and brighter 2017. But for all of the bleakness of the past twelve months, it’s been a phenomenal year for pop culture. So I’m choosing to spend the dying gasps of this awful, awful year to remind myself of the very best content that I’ve consumed. What’s the point in being miserable over the past year, when you can celebrate a more positive cultural legacy?
I’m starting with my favourite books released in 2016. I would describe myself as a voracious reader – I graduated with a first class English Literature degree this year after-all – but I am notoriously bad at keeping up with new releases. It’s hard to keep up with current releases when there is literally hundreds of years worth of classics within the canon to read. That being said, 2016 did produce a handful of books interesting enough to pique my interest. Amy Schumer released her surprisingly funny and honest autobiography The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo; I am no fan of her standup, but her written prose is wonderful. There was the literary comeback of Alan Partridge, one of the greatest comic characters in the British canon, with Nomad – a Bill Bryson-esque walking tour of the journey between Norwich and London. There’s something magical about reading through the focalising voice of an absolute tosser. I even kept on top of the more experimental work released this year like Max Porter’s haunting Grief is the Thing With Feathers. If I was mediating this list purely by quality I think I would have to make Grief is the Thing With Feathers my book of the year. But this list is my favourite books of 2016, and surprisingly there were two books I enjoyed more.