The Atlantic

The Best Books We Missed in 2016

And the titles their authors say they loved

Source: Zak Bickel / Katie Martin / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

“So many worthy books, so little space.”

I type those words all too often, as I wrote in this space last year, and the year before, when the list-making season arrived—and nothing has changed this year. So I’ll sigh once more over the predicament. Again and again, I have to deliver some version of that message to the many publicists who excitedly email me about the rich season of titles ahead. I tell reviewers, eager to share their views of this or that author’s latest effort, the same thing. Ditto authors themselves, a surprising number of whom come right out and ask: Can they expect any coverage in The Atlantic? The phrase, as I’ve admitted before, is sometimes a white lie, yet always the truth, too: We have room for only 30 or so book pieces a year in the Culture File. That means an awful lot of notable books go unnoticed by us.

In the holiday spirit, now is a moment to mention a sampling of 2016 books we wish we hadn’t missed—including two that my colleague Sophie Gilbert had hoped to write about. (So many worthy books, so little time!)  And the brand new culture editor on our digital side, Jane Yong Kim, weighs in on poetry, a genre we’ve been especially remiss in attending to. We’ve asked their authors to pay it forward, and single out

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