The Best Books of 2016

It’s that time of year again: the time for merriment and everything mint-flavored and to reflect on all the “Best Of” moments of 2016. At Scribd, we’re eager to hear what the best book everyone read this year is. Here are the favorites from around our office, plus a quote that shows off exactly what we loved about it.


“Truth was a changing display in a shop window, manipulated by hands when you weren’t looking, alluring and ever out of reach.”
— The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Chosen by Alex P. (Editor)

“Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.”
— Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Chosen by Loren (Product Manager)

“Our patients’ lives and identities may be in our hands, yet death always wins. Even if you are perfect, the world isn’t. The secret is to know that the deck is stacked, that you will lose, that your hands or judgment will slip, and yet still struggle to win for your patients. You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.”
— When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Chosen by Alex K. (Product Manager)

“Everything that goes around comes around, they say, and although I’ve never been able to figure out who the mysteriously wise sages known as ‘they’ might be, they’re certainly right when it comes to time-travel.” 
— 11.22.63 by Stephen King

Chosen by Karyne (Editor)

“To be human is to be ‘a’ human, a specific person with a life history and idiosyncrasy and point of view; artificial intelligence suggest that the line between intelligent machines and people blurs most when a puree is made of that identity.”
— The Most Human Human by Brian Christian

Chosen by Augie (Data Scientist)

“In truth, feminism is flawed because it is a movement powered by people and people are inherently flawed.”
— Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Chosen by Cindy (Engineer)

“Grief is an amputation, but hope is incurable haemophilia: you bleed and bleed and bleed.”
— Slade House by David Mitchell 

Chosen by David (Copy Writer)

“If you couldn’t kill your adversaries, or keep them imprisoned forever, there was surely only one option left in the Colonel Alexander canon: you change their minds.”
— The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson

Chosen by Kevin P. (Data Team Manager)

“No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people. Oftentimes, we have no clue. Yet we push it just the same.”
— Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Chosen by Angela (Designer)

“There were many other girls present but for obvious reasons we noticed each other, the similarities and the differences, as girls will. Our shade of brown was exactly the same ― as if one piece of tan material had been cut to make us both.”
— Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Chosen by Julie (Content Acquisitions)

“The feeling that she had never really lived in this world caught her by surprise. It was a fact. She had never lived. Even as a child, as far back as she could remember, she had done nothing but endure.”
— The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Chosen by Kevin T. (Engineer)

“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”
— A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Chosen by Ashley (Editor)

“In each century since the beginning of the world wonderful things have been discovered. In the last century more amazing things were found out than in any century before. In this new century hundreds of things still more astounding will be brought to light. At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done — then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”
— The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Chosen by Katy (Customer Service Representative)

“It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering…”
— Missoula by Jon Krakauer

Chosen by Kristen (Designer)

“The beauty of this world where almost everyone was gone. If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it?”
— Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Chosen by Jon (Engineer)

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting to-day?” said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said.
 Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

Chosen by Ibrahim (Engineer)

“If you’re going to make a desperate, hopeless act of defiance you should make it a good one.” 
 — Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Chosen by Jacquie (Recruiting Manager)

“Best to let the broken glass be broken glass, let it splinter into smaller pieces and dust and scatter. Let the cracks between things widen until they are no longer cracks but the new places for things. That was where they were now. The world wasn’t ending: it had ended and now they were in the new place. They could not recognize it because they had never seen it before.”
— Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Also chosen by Jacquie

“The world is your oyster, but you’re allergic to shellfish.”
— Apathy and Other Small Victories by Paul Neilan

Chosen by Joe (Mobile Team Manager)

“As the components of your life are stripped away, after all the ambitions and hopes vaporize, you reach a self-reflective starkness — the repetitious plucking of a single overwound string.”
— The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian

Also chosen by Joe

“Beneath the stars the lake lay dark and sombre … but on its shores gleamed and glowed in golden radiance the ivory city, beautiful as a poet’s dream, silent as a city of the dead.”
— The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Chosen by Jack (Engineer)

“Writing can give you what having a baby can give you: it can get you to start paying attention, can help you soften, can wake you up. … In general, though, there’s no point in writing hopeless novels. We all know we’re going to die; what’s important is the kind of men and women we are in the face of this.”
— Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Also chosen by Jack

“The Catholic alpha male abstains from sexual intercourse and raising a family, even though there is no genetic or ecological reason for him to do so.”
— Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Also chosen by Jack

“The system manufactures students who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.”
— Excellent Sheep by William Deresiewicz

Also chosen by Jack

“ … the Navy’s statistics about one in every four Navy aviators dying meant nothing. The figures were averages, and averages applied to those with average stuff.”
— The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

Also chosen by Jack

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