Best Books of 2016: The Underground Railroad the #1 Book of the Year

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Amazon announced its selections for the Best Books of 2016, naming Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad the Best Book of the Year. The annual list features the Top 100 books of the year plus Top 20 lists across various categories. All lists are hand-selected by Amazon’s team of editors who read hundreds of thousands of pages throughout the year—choosing the best books of every month and then, finally, the best books of the year. To see the full list of the Best Books of 2016 and buy the print or Kindle editions, visit: http://amazon.com/bestbooks2016 You can also download 2 audiobiooks for free if you opt for a 30-days free trial of Audible here.

Here are the Amazon Editorial Team’s Top 10 picks this year:

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: A brilliant, wise, fantastical yet grounded portrayal of a young slave seeking her freedom on a real underground railroad.

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis: Part literary thriller, part western, this is a debut novel about a young tomboy trying to survive a post-apocalyptic wilderness as she searches for her parents.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance: A very personal tour of a segment of our culture that’s losing its way in modern America.

The Nix by Nathan Hill: A big, smart novel about so many things: family, politics, revolution and the things we choose to remember (and forget).

Mischling by Affinity Konar: Affinity Konar’s beautiful novel about twin sisters who survive Auschwitz is precisely crafted, acutely sensitive and ultimately uplifting and hopeful.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren: An inspiring and entertaining memoir about work, life and love from a plant scientist who is just as adept at analyzing the natural world as she is at illuminating human relationships.

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson: A poetic, breathtaking novel about growing up female and black in the 1970s—a time of conflicting pressures and sometimes crushing assumptions.

Pumpkinflowers by Matti Friedman: An unforgettable nonfiction account of men changed by war, told in a voice that is both straight forward and undeniably literary.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley: From the award-winning creator of Fargo, a thrilling page-turner about an airplane crash and its seemingly heroic survivors.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith: A masterful novel that tackles big issues—race, class and the ups and downs of long term friendship—told with a dancer’s grace and ease.

Here are some interesting facts about this year’s Best Books of the Year list:

  • Number of debut authors in the Top 20: 3
  • Number of science-related books in the Top 100: 6
  • Number of memoirs in the Top 100: 26
  • Number of entertainers who have authored books in the Top 100: 2
  • Number of books that were considered for the #1 spot on the list before the editors selected Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad: 4

The top picks in Children’s categories include The Night Gardener (Picture Books), The Secret Keepers (Middle Grade – ages 9-12) and The Sun is Also a Star (Young Adult). Topping the list in other popular categories is Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites (Cookbook) and David Yarrow’s Wild Encounters (Arts & Photography).

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