BookBrowse's 2016 Award Winners

Dear BookBrowsers,

The end of the year is a perfect time to take stock, to reflect on the many great books we made time for and to add additional recommendations to our ever-expanding "to read" lists.

This is where BookBrowse's annual Best of the Year awards come in. As opposed to most other award programs which encourage vote stuffing and are more an indication of an author's fan base, our best of year winners are chosen on a weighted scale by our subscribers. No vote-stuffing, no simple yes or no vote. These are considered responses; we take our awards program seriously. In this issue, we feature the four overall winners in the Fiction, Non-Fiction, Debut and Young Adult categories, plus our full Top 20 2016 Favorites, consisting of fourteen fiction titles, three non-fiction and three YA books.

Longtime BookBrowse favorite Louise Penny wins the fiction prize with A Great Reckoning (#12 in her Inspector Gamache series). When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi's life-affirming reflections on the challenge of facing death, wins in non-fiction. The best debut award goes to Yaa Gyasi for Homegoing which traces three hundred years of Ghanian history. The best young adult novel, All We Have Left, views 9/11 through the eyes of two American teenagers showing that love and hope will always triumph.

2016 Fiction Favorites

A Great Reckoning A Great Reckoning: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, #12
by Louise Penny


Winner of the 2016 BookBrowse Fiction Award

Bestselling author Louise Penny pulls back the layers to reveal a brilliant and emotionally powerful truth in her latest spellbinding novel.
More details and reviews about this book


Homegoing Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Winner of the 2016 BookBrowse Debut Novel Award

A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.
More about this book

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The Top 10 Reader Reviewed Books of 2016

We're counting down our best books of 2016, beginning with the Top 10 First Impressions books of the year.

First Impressions is a great source of truly impartial reviews. Only BookBrowse members who are assigned a copy of the book can share their opinions as a First Impressions review. This means that it is effectively impossible for people associated with the book to sway the reviews, as can happen elsewhere. You can see which books have been reviewed recently in our "What's New" section, and here are the top 10 finds culled from more than 1,500 reviews of 60 books.


Rated 4.7 out of 5 Stars

Cruel Beautiful World Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt

Hardcover & ebook Oct 2016. Paperback TBA. 352 pages. Algonquin Books

"Caroline Leavitt's ability to bring complex characters to life in a way that touches the reader to the core is amazing. I found myself completely immersed in each subplot as the novel progressed. This ability to engage the reader in such a complex way is the mark of a great novel." - Melissa S. Rowland, NC (read all 23 reviews)

Reviews, beyond the book article & excerpt


The Midnight Watch The Midnight Watch: A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian by David Dyer

Hardcover & ebook Apr 2016. Paperback Apr 2017. 336 pages. St. Martin's Press

"I was fascinated by the idea that such a very small sliver of time could be the subject of a full-length novel. But Dyer fabulously investigates and portrays the facts around the failure of the closest ship to the Titanic to rush to her aid." - Erica M. Chicago, IL (read all 23 reviews)

Reviews, beyond the book article & excerpt


Miss Jane Miss Jane by Brad Watson

Hardcover & ebook Jul 2016. Paperback Jul 2017. 224 pages. W.W. Norton & Company

"It is not often that you happen upon a book so eloquently written, interesting in subject matter and overflowing with emotions. Simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking, this wonderful novel tapped every single feeling possible." - Aleksandra E. Alpharetta, GA (read all 24 reviews)

Reviews, beyond the book article & excerpt

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Mysteries + Travel = The Best Kind of Books

As winter closes in, is there a better way to spend the long, dark nights than with a mystery series set in a foreign locale? These mysteries set in drop-dead destinations around the world will satiate your appetite for travel on a budget. Even better? No jetlag. You can't beat that! So find yourself a comfy chair and dive right into these clever whodunnits. And once you're done, go back for more in the series!

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Love Poldark? Here's What to Read Next

Poldark on PBS Poldark's Cornwall
Historical fiction doesn't get any better than this. Written in the 1940s and '50s, the Poldark series continues to resonate in contemporary times with its tales of a returning war hero reinventing his life and rallying his country in the wake of devastation and loss. Ross Poldark makes a dashing hero and his world an inviting escape; and the windswept, sea-hugging Cornish countryside adds a splash of romance to the stories, which are peppered with dramatic clashes about morality, class and ego.

PBS's Masterpiece series follows the story-line of the books closely and truly captures the spirit of Winston Graham's characters and the stunning countryside. You will find much more about the Poldark series at PBS, including podcasts and information for book clubs.

Poldark on PBS In addition to the 12-book series, Winston Graham wrote a gorgeous illustrated companion volume, Poldark's Cornwall. This coffee table book is back in print with an introduction by Graham's son. For those who can't get enough of the TV series, we recommend The World of Poldark by Emma Marriott which is packed full of behind the scenes photos from the series and vistas of Cornwall.

If your appetite is whetted for more stories that whisk you away to a different era, BookBrowse--in response to a request from PBS's MASTERPIECE--suggests these titles that fit the bill.

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Ten of the Best Fall 2016 Novels

Early Fall is a great time for those of us who love quality fiction because this is when publishers, with an eye on the holiday season and best of year lists, release many of their strongest titles.

Here are ten of the most anticipated. You'll find more of this season's best books in our recently published/coming soon section. Enjoy!

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Ten of the Best Books of Summer 2016

Summer used to feel like a slow time in the publishing calendar, at least for those of us who look for substance in our reading. But not any more. This summer is awash with excellent books, among the most notable of which are our Ten BookBrowse Buzz Novels for Summer 2016, half of them debuts. Read about them below!

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