Best books published in the first half of 2016, by category

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Best books of 2016 so far

Explore Amazon’s list of best books of 2016 so far, and pick up your next summer read.

Every year, in the mid-June, Amazon announces an annual retrospective that features the top book titles released between January and June.

Best Books of 2016 (So Far) is a fantastic way to double-check if there is any newly released book that you’d love to read but haven’t added to your wish list, yet.

The list includes over 300 titles, available both in print and Kindle editions. It combines two major parts:

  • Top 20 books selected by Amazon editors,
  • Best selling books by category.

The main list is Top-20 Best Books of the Year So Far. The books are picked by the members of Amazon Editorial Team from the titles that made it to the Best Book of the Month lists.

Lab Girl - Hope Jahren - Best Books of 2016 So Far
Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl is named Best Book of 2016 So Far

This year’s top pick is Lab Girl. Written by Hope Jahren, this national bestseller is an inspiring memoir about work, life, and love from a plant scientist.

The book is followed by the new book from the beloved pop science writer Mary Roach, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. The third place is occupied by Before the Fall, a thrilling novel by Noah Hawley, the creator of Fargo, which tells the story of heroic survivors of an airplane crash.

You can find all the books from the list in our infographic.

The other way to explore the must-read books is Top 20 lists by category. There are sixteen categories to explore, including literary fiction, mystery & suspense, childre’s books, as well as audiobooks.

In each category, you’ll find a short note which title was Amazon editors’ number one pick. The Top 20 lists are sorted by the number of books sold, so the top places are occupied by the bestsellers.

Below, you’ll find the best-selling book in each of the sixteen categories, together with a link to explore the remaining titles on the list.

Which of these books are you going to take on your holidays?

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Best Books of 2016 So Far, by category

Best literature and fiction

Barkskins - Annie Proulx

Barkskins

Annie Proulx

From the bestselling author of Brokeback Mountain comes a violent, magnificently dramatic novel about the taking down of the world’s forests.

In the late seventeenth century two penniless young Frenchmen arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters – barkskins.

“Proulx’s inimitable genius is her creation of characters who are so vivid—in their greed, lust, vengefulness, or their simple compassion and hope—that we follow them with fierce attention.”

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best young adult books

The 5th Wave - The Last Star Book 3 - Rick Yancey

The Last Star (The 5th Wave Book #3)

Rick Yancey

The highly-anticipated finale to the New York Times bestselling 5th Wave series.

The enemy is Other. The enemy is us. They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves… or saving what makes us human.

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best science fiction and fantasy

The City of Mirrors - Justin Cronin

The City of Mirrors

Justin Cronin

Prompted by a voice that lives in her blood, the fearsome warrior known as Alicia of Blades is drawn towards to one of the great cities of The Time Before. The ruined city of New York. Ruined but not empty. For this is the final refuge of Zero, the first and last of The Twelve. The one who must be destroyed if mankind is to have a future.

What she finds is not what she’s expecting.

A journey into the past. To find out how it all began. And an opponent at once deadlier and more human than she could ever have imagined.

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best romance books

A Lowcountry Wedding - Mary Alice Monroe

A Lowcountry Wedding (Lowcountry Summer Book 4)

Mary Alice Monroe

Wedding season has arrived in New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe’s next novel in the complex and endearing Lowcountry Summer series, set against the romantic, charming Charleston Lowcountry.

Nothing could be more enchanting than a summer wedding—or two!—in Charleston’s fabled lowcountry. A centuries-old plantation, an avenue of ancient oaks dripping moss, a storied ballroom, a sand dune at sunset…

Yet when a stranger arrives, a long-held family secret could silence the bells ringing for the Muir sisters. Scandals surface, family bonds are questioned, and promises are broken and renewed.

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best nonfiction

The Gene - An Intimate History - Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Gene: An Intimate History

Siddhartha Mukherjee

A magnificent history of the gene and a response to the defining question of the future: What becomes of being human when we learn to “read” and “write” our own genetic information?

Siddhartha Mukherjee has a written a biography of the gene as deft, brilliant, and illuminating as his extraordinarily successful biography of cancer.

Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives.

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best mystery, thriller and suspense books

Before the Fall - Noah Hawley

Before the Fall

Noah Hawley

A new novel by Noah Hawley is a perfect marriage of genre and literary fiction.

Down-on-his-luck artist Scott Burroughs would usually take the ferry back to New York from Martha’s Vineyard, but he is unexpectedly offered a spare seat on the Bateman family’s private jet.

Then just minutes after take-off, the plane crashes into the ocean and of the eight passengers and three crew, only Scott and the Batemans’ small son, JJ, are left alive…

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best biographies and memoirs

When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child?

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best Kindle Singles

Partners - A Rogue Lawyer Short Story - John Grisham

Partners: A Rogue Lawyer Short Story

John Grisham

Discover how Rogue Lawyer’s Sebastian Rudd meets his partner and bodyguard in this thrilling short story, by the master of the legal thriller John Grisham.

Ten years out of law school, and running an office out of what used to be a seedy bar, Sebastian Rudd is beginning to make a name for himself – and learning that in order to get justice, you often have to cheat.

When he chooses to represent Thomas Cardell, he’s about to make even more enemies.

When the cop is killed it’s Cardell’s word against the other police officer on the scene, and proving Cardell innocent will be far from simple.

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best humor and entertainment books

Hamilton - The Revolution

Hamilton: The Revolution

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States.

The new book, Hamilton: The Revolution, does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon.

It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don’t throw away their shot.

⇢ Print ⇢ Top 20

Best history books

Valiant Ambition - Nathaniel Philbrick

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution

Nathaniel Philbrick

A surprising account of the middle years of the American Revolution, and the tragic relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold.

Valiant Ambition is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation.

The focus is on loyalty and personal integrity, evoking a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds in the key relationship of Washington and Arnold, who is an impulsive but sympathetic hero whose misfortunes at the hands of self-serving politicians fatally destroy his faith in the legitimacy of the rebellion.

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best business and investing books

Grit - The Power of Passion and Perseverance - Angela Duckworth

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Angela Duckworth

In this must-read book for anyone striving to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows parents, educators, athletes, students, and business people – both seasoned and new – that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a focused persistence called “grit.”

Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, MacArthur “genius” Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Rather, other factors can be even more crucial such as identifying our passions and following through on our commitments.

Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference.

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best crafts, hobbies and home books

Esther the Wonder Pig - Changing the World One Heart at a Time

Esther the Wonder Pig: Changing the World One Heart at a Time

Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, Caprice Crane

Unlikely pig owners Steve and Derek got a whole lot more than they bargained for when the designer micro piglet they adopted turned out to be a full-sized 600-pound sow!

In the summer of 2012, Steve Jenkins was contacted by an old friend about adopting a micro piglet. Though he knew his partner Derek wouldn’t be enthusiastic, he agreed to take the adorable little pig anyway, thinking he could care for her himself. Little did he know, that decision would change his and Derek’s lives forever.

In the bestselling tradition of pet memoirs such as Oogy, Dewey, and Giant George, the book shows how families really do come in all shapes and sizes.

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best cookbooks

Cravings - Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat - Chrissy Teigen

Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat

Chrissy Teigen, Adeena Sussman

Maybe she’s on a photo shoot in Zanzibar. Maybe she’s making people laugh on TV. But all Chrissy Teigen really wants to do is talk about dinner. Or breakfast. Lunch gets some love, too.

For years, she’s been collecting, cooking, and Instagramming her favorite recipes, and here they are: from breakfast all day to John’s famous fried chicken with spicy honey butter to her mom’s Thai classics.

Salty, spicy, saucy, and fun as sin (that’s the food, but that’s Chrissy, too), these dishes are for family, for date night at home, for party time, and for a few life-sucks moments (salads).

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best comics and graphic novels

Fight Club 2

Fight Club 2 (Graphic Novel)

Chuck Palahniuk, David Mack, Cameron Stewart

Some imaginary friends never go away…

New York Tomes bestselling novelist Chuck Palahniuk and acclaimed artist Cameron Stewart have collaborated for one of the most highly anticipated comic book and literary events of 2015 – the return of Tyler Durden.

The first rule of Fight Club 2 might be not to talk about it, but Fight Club 2 is generating international headlines and will introduce a new generation of readers to Project Mayhem.

The time has arrived… Rize or Die.

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best children’s books

When Friendship Followed Me Home - Paul Griffin

When Friendship Followed Me Home

Paul Griffin

A breathtaking middle-grade novel about two unforgettable kids standing at the crossroads of happiness and loss.

Ben Coffin has never been one for making friends. He prefers to spend his time with the characters in his favorite sci-fi books.

Scruffy little Flip leads Ben to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley, a girl unlike anyone he has ever met. She convinces Ben to write a novel with her…

⇢ Print ⇢ Kindle ⇢ Top 20

Best audiobooks

The Gene - An Intimate History - audiobook

The Gene: An Intimate History

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris.

A magnificent history of the gene and a response to the defining question of the future: What becomes of being human when we learn to “read” and “write” our own genetic information?

Siddhartha Mukherjee has a written a biography of the gene as deft, brilliant, and illuminating as his extraordinarily successful biography of cancer.

Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives.

⇢ Audible ⇢ Top 20

Best Books of 2016 So Far – infographic

Best books of 2016 so far #infographic

Feel free to share this infographic on your site (Creative Commons license).

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