READS OF THE YEAR 2016: Anne Kniggendorf


This year I did a lot of binge-reading, mostly of Candice Millard, Anna Quindlen, Margot Livesey, and Neil Gaiman

My favorite of Millard’s three books was Destiny of the Republic: a Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President (Anchor Books, 2001), about President James A. Garfield.  Garfield was in office from March 1881 until his death in September of that same year.  Millard’s depiction of this forgotten president was unexpectedly moving; moreover, her description of that year’s Republican National Convention (extremely tense with no good candidate) was particularly poignant in 2016.

Of the other binge-read authors, I can say that scenes from Quindlen’s chilling Every Last One (Windmil, 2011), Gaiman’s quirky Anansi Brothers (2006), and Livesey’s creepy Criminals (Penguin, 1997) are still haunting me.  

I have also had the great honour of reading an advanced copy of George Saunders‘ first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo (Bloomsbury), due out in February of 2017.  I have not yet reviewed the novel, so I won’t say much other than that within the first 60 pages I both laughed aloud and cried.  I am normally an unemotional reader — I’ll leave it at that for an endorsement and a teaser.