Jessi Cape's Top Reads of 2016

Top Books to Inspire Hope Amidst Change

Memoirs of activism and tales of suspense helped ground this reader during a roller-coaster year

Jessi Cape's Top Reads of 2016

Rife with change, 2016 has been a doozy, so we've resorted to simply being grateful for the fundamentals: health, loved ones, and books. Snuggling up with a good read seems critical to surviving the recent emotional roller coasters. Trying to rationalize America's current state of politics leads to a scrambled-egg brain floating in a pool of despair, but focusing on the efforts of successful activists is somewhat of a salve. Congressman John Lewis released the conclusion to his graphic novel trilogy to much acclaim. March: Book Three (Top Shelf) reassures us: Peaceful civil disobedience works. Another American political icon – whose name is almost synonymous with the fight for women's rights – Gloria Steinem, released the paperback edition of her memoir, My Life on the Road (Random House), with a bonus chapter, "Secrets." Gleaning protesting pro-tips from her wild and poignant recollections is a feisty morale boost. Local screenwriting consultant Jill Chamberlain compiled her golden nuggets of instruction into a book, The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting (UT Press). It's a go-to guide for anyone with a story to write. Dallas native Melissa Lenhardt released The Fisher King (Skyhorse), a follow-up to her 2015 Stillwater. This second Jack McBride novel picks up six weeks after the series opener left readers wondering about the state of murderous affairs in small-town Texas. The Year of the Monkey's standout fiction novel is local writer Amy Gentry's fantastic debut, Good as Gone: A Novel of Suspense (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Immediately ushered into the ranks of such explosive hits as Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, this psychological thriller is loosely based on the Elizabeth Smart story, but it goes delightfully turbulent in a hurry. Gentry's sensitivity to sexual assault victims' stories paired with a uniquely mapped plot makes this a story you'll latch on to for quite some time.

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More Top 10s
Robert Faires' Top 10 Works That Spoke to Me About 2020
Robert Faires' Top 10 Works That Spoke to Me About 2020
Throughout 2020, performances and books seemed to contain messages about the year – its trials, its traumas, and its echoes in history

Robert Faires, Dec. 18, 2020

Top Nine in Visual Art of 2020, Plus One Exceptional Other
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Wayne Alan Brenner chooses outstanding visual artistry that made this year a feast, save for one performative and culinary experience that was the cherry on top

Wayne Alan Brenner, Dec. 18, 2020

More Fiction
<i>Before Stonewall</i> by Edward Cohen
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The short stories in this collection from Austin's Awst Press simmer with queer rage, grief, and longing

Rosalind Faires, June 25, 2021

<i>Sex and Vanity</i> by Kevin Kwan
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Kevin Kwan offers another gloriously satirical and sharp sociological take on the insular lives of the untouchably rich

Barbara Purcell, Nov. 6, 2020

More Arts Reviews
Review: Austin Shakespeare's <i>A Midsummer Night’s Dream</i>
Review: Austin Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
Less-than-magical production salvaged by a night of unexpected spontaneity

Bob Abelman, May 13, 2022

Review: Zach Theatre's <i>Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch</i>
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Surprisingly minimalist adaptation of beloved kids book still enchants

Bob Abelman, May 6, 2022

More by Jessi Cape
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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Top 10s, Fiction, Memoir, John Lewis, March: Book Three, Gloria Steinem, My Life on the Road, Jill Chamberlain, The Nutshell Technique: Crack the Secret of Successful Screenwriting, Melissa Lenhardt, The Fisher King, Stillwater, Amy Gentry, Good as Gone: A Novel of Suspense

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