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.

READ MORE
More Top 10s
Top 10 Movies of 2016
Top 10 Movies of 2016
The Chronicle film staff's overall winners of the year

Josh Kupecki, Dec. 30, 2016

Josh Kupecki's Top 10 Films of 2015
Josh Kupecki's Top 10 Films of 2015

Josh Kupecki, Jan. 1, 2016

More Fiction
<i>I’ll Take You There</i>
I’ll Take You There
Wally Lamb's novel spotlights a spirit of early Hollywood, but its Metabook edition gives her a 21st century showcase

Robert Faires, Dec. 2, 2016

Review: Emma Cline's <i>The Girls</i>
Review: Emma Cline's The Girls
This seismic literary debut tracks a California girl drawn to a dark cult in 1969

Tim Stegall, Aug. 12, 2016

More Arts Reviews
Trinity Street Players’ <i>Dani Girl</i>
Trinity Street Players’ Dani Girl
This musical may be about a child with cancer, but seeing it is a funny, moving, and healing experience

T. Lynn Mikeska, May 26, 2017

<i>Butcher Holler Here We Come</i>
Butcher Holler Here We Come
This stylized look at West Virginia miners trapped underground is more of a powerful sensory experience than a narrative drama

Elizabeth Cobbe, May 26, 2017

More by Jessi Cape
Austin Food + Wine Festival: Saturday Recap
Austin Food + Wine Festival: Saturday Recap
Tacos, toast, and Tyson (Cole)

May 1, 2017

Turn Your Yard Into a Wildlife Habitat
Turn Your Yard Into a Wildlife Habitat
Preserving the environment by letting your lawn go wild

April 21, 2017

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

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)