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Posted on Dec 18, 2016 in BookPage Reviews, Top Picks

BookPage’s Top 10 Books – December 2016

Are you looking for your next great read? The BookPage editors are always ready with suggestions, and below are their Top 10 books from the December issue.




By Zadie Smith
The graceful new novel from Zadie Smith moves from London to New York to Africa as it tracks the rhythms of a waning childhood friendship and the friction between “tribes” and personal freedom. Ranked #2 on our Best Books of 2016Swing Time is an enthralling combination of deft storytelling and penetrating social commentary. Read more>> 


By Pat Conroy
For fans of beloved Southern writer Pat Conroy, the author’s death in March at age 70 was both sudden and heartbreaking, leaving a novel unfinished and a unique voice silenced. Those fans can take heart with the publication of this new nonfiction collection, which includes magazine articles and website pieces by Conroy, along with remembrances of the author and a eulogy delivered in his honor. Read more>> 


By Rory Stewart
Rory Stewart has a rare combination of talents—he’s both a member of the British Parliament and a gifted writer (2006’s The Places in Between was named one of the 10 best books of the year by the New York Times). His latest, an account of a 400-mile walk along the border between England and Scotland, offers a masterful exploration of landscape and its links to personal and national identity. Read more>> 


By Michael Chabon
Inspired by deathbed conversations with his grandfather, this work of “fictional nonfiction” by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Chabon captures two figures whose lives were buffeted by war and mental illness. Layered with humor, emotional insight and vivid historical detail, the powerful narrative holds treasures for the reader on every page. Read more>> 



By Kate Howard
Born with a bird-shaped birthmark splashed across her face, Flavia is banished to a convent, where she becomes the handmaid to a flamboyant woman who teaches her the hidden secrets of beauty. In this vivid and darkly entertaining debut, author Kate Howard doesn’t shy away from the sometimes brutal realities of life in Renaissance Italy. Read more>> 


By Timothy Hallinan
If you’re looking for a gift to give yourself this Christmas, consider the merry holiday mystery from Timothy Hallinan, featuring a rundown shopping mall, two unconvincing Santas and a shoplifter on the loose. The hilarity that ensues when inept sleuth Junior Bender arrives on the scene is sure to make annoying relatives, crowded airports and off-key carols fade blissfully away for at least a few hours.  Read more>>


By Daisy Goodwin
With the Masterpiece production of “Victoria” set to launch on PBS in January, now’s the time to get a head start by reading Daisy Goodwin’s companion novel. This richly detailed portrait of the young queen hews closely to history in a story that’s both captivating and poignant. Read more>>


By Sarah Lohman
The melting pot of American culture can be traced not only in its population but also through its food, as food historian Sarah Lohman demonstrates in this fascinating account of our country’s changing cuisine. Using eight flavors—from vanilla to soy sauce—as touchstones, Lohman takes readers on a lively journey to meet the explorers and chefs who introduced new tastes to the American palate. Read more>>

TV (The Book)

By Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz
“Breaking Bad” or “The Sopranos”? “The Simpsons” or “I Love Lucy”? Turns out it’s not that easy to rank the best television shows of all time, as two critics discovered when they set out to choose the 100 greatest shows ever. TV fans will relish revisiting old favorites and arguing with some of the authors’ picks (“Terriers”?) in this browsable and entertaining collection. Read more>>


By Anthony Bourdain
Though he’s an unflappable world traveler on CNN’s “Parts Unknown,” Anthony Bourdain heads for home in his latest cookbook, revealing what he cooks in his very own kitchen. From breakfast omelets to roasted quail, this is real food, prepared with Bourdain’s signature style and paired with candid commentary on his life off the road. Read more>>



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