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.
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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.
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A Gentleman in Moscow A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility - a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.
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The Underground Railroad The Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead

From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.
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Behold the Dreamers Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

In the vein of Amy Tan and Khaled Hosseini comes a compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream - the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy.
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News of the World News of the World by Paulette Jiles

It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
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Commonwealth Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

The acclaimed, bestselling author - winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize - tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families' lives.
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The Mothers The Mothers by Brit Bennett

A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community - and the things that ultimately haunt us most.
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This Must Be the Place This Must Be the Place: A novel by Maggie O'Farrell

A dazzling novel from bestselling writer Maggie O'Farrell, winner of the Costa Novel Award--an irresistible love story that crisscrosses continents and time zones as it captures an extraordinary marriage, and an unforgettable family, with wit, humor, and deep affection.
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Cruel Beautiful World Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt

Set in the early 1970s against the specter of the Manson girls, when the peace and love movement begins to turn ugly, this is the story of a runaway teenager's disappearance and her sister's quest to discover the truth.
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Miss Jane Miss Jane by Brad Watson

Astonishing prose brings to life a forgotten woman and a lost world in a strange and bittersweet Southern pastoral.
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Mischling Mischling by Affinity Konar

"One of the most harrowing, powerful, and imaginative books of the year" (Anthony Doerr) about twin sisters fighting to survive the evils of World War II.
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The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko is comic and staggeringly tragic, often both in a single sentence... A grittier, Eastern European, more grown-up The Fault in Our Stars." – Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child
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All the Ugly and Wonderful Things All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel by Bryn Greenwood

Instead of playing it safe, Wavy has to learn to fight for Kellen, for her brother, and for herself in this first novel by Kansas native Bryn Greenwood.
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2016 Nonfiction Favorites

When Breath Becomes Air When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Winner of the 2016 BookBrowse Nonfiction Award

For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?
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Evicted Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

From Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America
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Blood at the Root Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips

A gripping tale of racial cleansing in Forsyth County, Georgia, and a harrowing testament to the deep roots of racial violence in America.
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2016 Young Adult Favorites

All We Have Left All We Have Left by Wendy Mills

Winner of the 2016 BookBrowse Award for Best Young Adult Novel

Interweaving stories from past and present, All We Have Left brings one of the most important days in our recent history to life, showing that love and hope will always triumph.
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Thanks for the Trouble Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

Tommy Wallach, the New York Times bestselling author of the "stunning debut" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) We All Looked Up, delivers a brilliant new novel about a young man who overcomes a crippling loss and finds the courage to live after meeting an enigmatic girl.
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The Memory Book The Memory Book by Lara Avery

They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I'll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I'm writing to remember...
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I'm really surprised that only two books appear in your nonfiction book awards list. Surely more nonfiction books were released during 2016 than this would indicate. Or are people not reading nonfiction these days? Frankly, I prefer it to fiction, particularly if I plan to read it again. I no longer buy much fiction; I take the books out of the library, read them, and return them. Most of the time once I've read the ending of a novel it's unlikely that I'd want to reread it. There are too many books on my to-read list to be able to spend the time. Of course, there are exceptions ... novels and collections of short stories by writers I consider great, such as Virginia Woolf and the like, will be reread most definitely. Thank you for your excellent website.
# Posted By Ellen | 12/7/16 8:08 PM
Hi Ellen
There were many other nonfiction titles on the list for our subscribers to rate but when it comes to deciding which books make the cut for favorites of the year we do it strictly based on the average rating from the 4000+ votes that were cast. And, when ranked, only 3 nonfiction titles made this top 20. More about our awards methodology here <a href=";
# Posted By Davina | 12/8/16 9:01 AM
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