Top Ten Books of 2016

Todd’s Warehouse, Stonegate, York
Henry Cave
source ArtUK

The last Top Ten Tuesday of the year from The Broke and the Bookish asks us to name our top ten favourite reads for 2016.  Of course, I thought I’d participated in this end-of-year meme every year but when I looked back, I could only find a post for my Top Books From The Last Three Years.  Sigh!  I guess it’s better late than never to start!

Reading A Book
James Tissot
source Wikiart

Sadly, I did not meet my reading goal of 60 books this year, reading only 45.  However, there is a silver lining in the cloud; I read more pages than last year and I have a number of HUGE books that I’m still working on (think, The Faerie Queene, Don Quixote, The Gulag Archipelago, etc.) so no, I’m not weeping tears of regret.

So without further ado, here is my top ten list for 2016, set up as Brona did, to build the suspense.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

I think I’ve read this trilogy about 8 times.  I just love it!

The Man Born to Be King by Dorothy Sayers

I had to include this play and what better place than with Tolkien, Sayers friend and contemporary.  Her impeccable research into the life and times of Jesus, along with her detailed direction for this play was amazing.  An excellent read!


While not technically a book, but a lecture, C.S. Lewis brings to light some unique ideas and questions with regard to a play that has been studied to death.  It’s also the top viewed post on my blog, quite a feat considering I only read it this year.
The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore

Thanks to Cirtnecce for introducing me to Indian history and this most wonderful writer during her read-along.  I will definitely search out more of Tagore’s works.

The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

I’ve read this biography now twice and loved it equally each time.  I’m continually blown away by Merton’s insight into life and the human condition.  Yes, I’ll read it again!
The Oresteia by Aeschylus

Adultery, murder, betrayal, power, oppression, escape, judgement …..  What more could one ask for in a book?  The Oresteia delivers it all, yet with many lessons that are as applicable today as then.  Aeschylus is one of my new favourites.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Ah, I just love this book!  Read for Hamlette’s read-along my enjoyment of it was stretched out over months and I enjoyed reading it so much as this measured pace.  My fifth read of it and just as good as my first!


I don’t know why the brilliancy of Tolstoy amazes me.  I didn’t expect much of this short novella, but Tolstoy managed to capture the last days of Ivan with such poignancy …. his thoughts, dreams and regrets.  The message was universal with many insightful ideas to ponder, as well as touching the heart.  Tolstoy is a genius!
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I hadn’t read this novel for decades and with this re-read I wondered how I could have been so short-sighted.  I absolutely loved it.  My wish is to read it every year.  Lee captured her characters, life experiences and the effects on their development so brilliantly.  I don’t think I could ever read Go Set A Watchman after this.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Wow, I struggled while reading this book.  I felt like I was swimming in a maze of ideas and philosophies that were quite over my head.  Luckily I just kept reading.  It was only when I finished that everything started to come together and I could appreciate what a masterpiece this book is.  I know that I still haven’t grasped even half of what’s there, and I can’t wait to read it again …… and again, and again, and ……


I almost gave The Brothers Karamazov number one position but surpisingly, even to me, I chose to give it to Ovid.  While Metamorphoses was shocking and at times gross, the effort and aptitude of Ovid’s work couldn’t be ignored.  His stories stick with you and somehow get into your soul.  Bravo, Ovid.  I wouldn’t want to know you, but your poetry is sublime!

0 thoughts on “Top Ten Books of 2016

  1. The Man Born to be King looks like something I'd like. I'll add it to my wishlist/want to read list. I've never read anything by Sawyers.

    I'm looking forward to BK by Dostoyevsky (though extremely intimidated).

    I'd love to reread To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe this summer.

  2. You've definitely been living up to the "Classics" part of your blog title! I almost tried Merton's book this year, but it only made it out of the library. I didn't quite read it!

  3. Yes, I think that you'd like Sayers and especially this play.

    Just don't expect to understand the deeper implications of Dostoyevsky's philosophies. If you can "get" even a little of it, be happy with yourself.

    To Kill A Mockingbird would be great to read in the summer. I might try a re-read then too!

  4. I have a Harper Collins edition (1995) that is similar to this one but the picture is closer and MUCH darker. I did see this exact one in a used bookstore once and I wish I'd bought it. Just keep your eyes open. 🙂

  5. Yes, that's me, on a classic-fest! 🙂 I do hope that you're able to read Merton eventually. His story is very interesting but it's nothing to the smorgasbord of insights that he is so adept at communicating. It's definitely worth at least one read.

  6. You have some interesting works in here. I think I'll be adding Thomas Merton, and The Man Born to be King to my wish list. I'm doing a slow read-along of The Lord of the Rings next year!…

  7. Both Merton and Sayers are such deep thinkers, one always benefits from reading their works. I'm tempted to join your read-along; I love slow read-alongs because they really allow you to sink into the story. The Lord of the Rings twice in two years? It may be possible! 🙂

  8. Glad to see The Lord of the Rings Trilogy there – I'm reading it next year with Brona. Didn't get on too well with it the first time I read it, but I'm very hopeful and looking forward to the second read. And I do love The Hobbit.

    I'm not sure if I've read The Death of Ivan Ilyich… I think I have a long time ago. Must revisit! 🙂

  9. I'm surprised that you didn't like The Lord of the Rings! Wow! Hopefully this time the experience will be much better.

    Yes, if you haven't read The Death of Ivan Ilyich, you must! It is soooo good and perfect for the Russian Challenge!

  10. I love The Lord of the Rings, too, and read it about every five years. It's been five years since I last read it, so I'm joining Brona's read-a-long. I also love Merton, Sayers, and the Brothers Karamazov. I've had the Ovid book on my shelf for a few years now. I'll have to bump it up a bit on my To-Read list. Thanks!

  11. Hi Nick and welcome to my blog! 🙂 Reading The Lord of the Rings again is so tempting, but I have so much on the go that I don't think I'll be able to do it. Just beware of Ovid ….. some of his stories can offend the sensibilities so prepare yourself. I'm reading Herodotus' The Histories now and some of the same stories are different from Ovid's and not so shocking, which is rather a relief. In any case, happy reading for 2017!

  12. An excellent list! I've read and enjoyed/loved a number of the books on it. I keep seeing so many mentions of Lord of the Rings, I'm almost tempted to reread it, but I just reread it a year or two ago. Here's hoping your 2017 top ten will be just as good!

  13. I was tempted by the LOTR read-alongs too, but having read it last year and with so much on-the-go, I just don't think I can fit it in. Too many classics which I haven't read yet to go! I have high hopes for 2017!

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