In case you’re behind on your holiday shopping, the literary folks at Amazon.com have released a list of the best-selling books of 2016. Grab a few for the remaining people on your Nice list and get gifting.
The titles that made the cut run the gamut from literary fiction to thrillers to memoirs (plus a children’s book or two). The one that nabbed the top spot cast such a huge spell over readers that it not only led the primary best-selling category, it was also the best-selling book in the Kids & Teens category, the Most Gifted book of 2016, and the Most Wished For book of the year.
Before The Fall
#12 on the bestsellers list
On a foggy summer night, eleven people – ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter – depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs, the painter, and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.
Before The Fall weaves between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members. As their intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work?
Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions around fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
The Black Widow
#9 on the bestsellers list
Bestselling author Daniel Silva delivers another spellbinding international thriller – one that finds beloved series hero Gabriel Allon grappling with an ISIS mastermind.
Allon – the art restorer, spy, and assassin described as the most compelling fictional creation “since Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond” (Rocky Mountain News) – is poised to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again.
From its shocking opening to its explosive denouement in Washington, D.C., The Black Widow reveals itself as Silva’s most timely and powerful novel yet.
Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel
#8 on the bestsellers list
It’s 1996, and the incomparable protagonist of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is still in the army. In the morning they give him a medal, and in the afternoon they send him back to school. That night he’s off the grid. Out of sight, out of mind.
Two other men are in the classroom – an FBI agent and a CIA analyst. Each is a first-rate operator, each is fresh off a big win, and each is wondering what the hell they are doing there. Then they find out: a Jihadist sleeper cell in Hamburg, Germany, has received an unexpected visitor – a Saudi courier, seeking safe haven while waiting to rendezvous with persons unknown. A CIA asset, undercover inside the cell, has overheard the courier whisper a chilling message: “The American wants a hundred million dollars.”
For what? And who from? Reacher and his two new friends are told to find the American. If they don’t get their man, the world will suffer an epic act of terrorism. From Langley to Hamburg, Jalalabad to Kiev, Night School moves like a bullet through a treacherous landscape of double crosses, faked identities, and new and terrible enemies, as Reacher maneuvers inside the game and outside the law.
When Breath Becomes Air
#2 on the bestsellers list
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away?
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working on the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, but he leaves behind an exquisitely observed memoir that finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds and attempts to answer the question ‘What makes a life worth living?’
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
#1 on the bestsellers list
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the eighth story in the Harry Potter series, takes place 19 years in the future and is meant to be presented on stage. The play had its world premiere in London’s legendary West End in July 2016. Trust us on this one: you’re never too old for a bit of magic.