Waterstones have finally released their ‘Book Of The Year’ short list for 2016. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this list, wondering what books would grace the prestigious list this year. If you’re unaware, the bookseller Waterstones announce their ‘Book Of The Year’ towards the end of each year. These are the books that have sold the best, have the greatest reviews, and are the most loved. They are also some of the books that have had the biggest impact in the past year. The winner will be announced on December the 1st. Here is the short list:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
Release Date: 31st July 2016
Summary: It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
Release Date: 27th May 2016
Summary: London 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one, and she never suited the role of society wife. Accompanied by her son Francis – a curious, obsessive boy – she leaves town for Essex, where she hopes fresh air and open space will provide the refuge they need.
When they take lodgings in Colchester, rumours reach them from further up the estuary that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, is immediately enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a previously undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter’s vicar.
Like Cora, Will is deeply suspicious of the rumours, but he thinks they are founded on moral panic, a flight from real faith. As he tries to calm his parishioners, he and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart, eventually changing each other’s lives in ways entirely unexpected.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Release Date: 4th February 2016
Summary: At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.
When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?
The Optician of Lampedusa by Emma Jane Kirby
Release Date: 29th September 2016
Summary: ‘I can hardly begin to describe to you what I saw as our boat approached the source of that terrible noise. I hardly want to. You won’t understand because you weren’t there. You can’t understand. You see, I thought I’d heard seagulls screeching. Seagulls fighting over a lucky catch. Birds. Just birds.’
Emma-Jane Kirby has reported extensively on the reality of mass migration today. In The Optician of Lampedusa she brings to life the moving testimony of an ordinary man whose late summer boat trip off a Sicilian island unexpectedly turns into a tragic rescue mission.
Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts by Christopher De Hamel
Release Date: 22nd September 2016
Summary: Part travel book, part detective story, part conversation with the reader, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts conveys the fascination and excitement of encountering some of the greatest works of art in our culture which, in the originals, are to most people completely inaccessible. At the end, we have a slightly different perspective on history and how we come by knowledge. It is a most unusual book.
The Tale Of Kitty In Boots by Beatrix Potter
Release Date: 1st September 2016
Summary: This very modern fusion of Beatrix Potter’s words and that master of the pen Quentin Blake’s effervescent illustrations make this book essential reading, not just for fans of Beatrix Potter but for book lovers of all kinds everywhere.
What do you think of this short list? There’s a good mix of children’s, novels and non-fiction in here! Have you read any of these yet? Or will you be picking them up now you know they’re short listed? Also who do you think is going to win? I have my money on one of the non-fictions!
You can view the short list page HERE.