Amazon Announces the Best Books of the Year, 2016

3523201889_7a4faf84d7_b Ahead of tomorrow night’s National Book Awards, Amazon’s editorial teams has announced its picks for the best books of the year.

The  list features the Top 100 books of the year plus Top twenty lists across various categories and genres.

This year’s list is headed by Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, a book which is on many reviewers lists for best novel.

“The editorial team had a handful of books that we seriously considered for the top pick but in the end our choice of The Underground Railroad was unanimous,” said Chris Schluep, Amazon Senior Book Editor. “Colson Whitehead’s novel is timely, important, and a great work of literature.”

Here’s the top ten. How many have you read?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance: A very personal tour of a segment of our culture that’s losing its way in modern America.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

image by Sapphireblue

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Will Entrekin15 November, 2016

    Sad that not even Amazon can include an indie author or two in a best-of-the-year list.

    1. poiboy16 November, 2016

      well, i guess you can always vote on the best of 2016 books on

    2. poiboy16 November, 2016

      ps.. beth lewis is a new author.

      1. Will Entrekin16 November, 2016

        She’s published by Crown, a division of Penguin Random House, so I’m not sure what your point is. I said I didn’t see any indie authors/titles, not that I didn’t see any debuts.

        And sure, we can vote on Goodreads. Still not sure what your point is. Still no indie titles on this Amazon list, which disappoints me mostly because Amazon has been not just indie-positive but critical to the success of the indie author movement. When even they can’t be bothered to list indie titles among their best of the year — only their bestsellers of the year — it simply propagates the meme that indie authors and titles compete with corporate publishing solely in terms of quantity of sales and not quality of books.

        1. poiboy16 November, 2016

          my point is that she is an new author that helps run an independant book company (or maybe you should define what your definition of “indie” is).

          and my clear point was that is you don’t like how amazon does things with trying to sell books on their sites by creating lists.. you could make an effort and go over to goodreads and nominate your own beloved indie authors’ works.


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