Best Books of 2016? What were your favorites? Least Favorites?

What were your favorites? Any and all languages… especially if you were reading a book in your target learning language! Any topic! Novels, History, social commentary, philosophy or whatever.

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I’m reading Band of Brothers right now by Stephen Ambrose. I’m joining the U.S. Army now as an Officer and I need some inspiration.

I did find a good mature learner’s book in Russian.

I want to order these, because they seem like an interesting way to learn (I’m trying to explore different methods to learn). The author seems like a genuinely nice guy that cares about his students. Same with the vlogger! I need something that gives me a bit of feedback and something stimulating.

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Pumpkinflowers by Matti Friedman

Modern Challenges to Islamic Law by Shaheen Sardar Ali interesting description of UK’s Sharia Council courts amongst much else

A History of East Asia by Charles Holcombe

Ike’s Gamble by Michael Doran

Андрей Курков Пикник на льду
Written in Russian, this is a very Ukrainian book. Reminiscent of Gogol, although not quite on that level. The languange is reasonable for my reading/listening ability in Russian. Translated into English as Death and the Penguin by Andrei Kurkov.

And although I haven’t finished them yet, they are both interesting in their own ways:
בשם שמים אבירם ברקאי
רם אורן הצעיף האדום

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Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
Eye opening and insightful, yet depressing at times. Highly recommend.

The Language Instinct: The New Science of Language and Mind by Steven Pinker
Still in the process of reading it but I thought it’d be appropriate for this site.


“…I’m reading Band of Brothers right now by Stephen Ambrose…”

Got to Chapter 3 yet? :slight_smile:

Band of Brothers: Visit to Aldbourne, where Easy Co were based during World War Two. - YouTube (Tour around Aldbourne) (Winters’ return to Aldbourne in 1991)

This is pretty close to where I live, BTW. As a young child my father remembers seeing these guys training. We kind of have a spiritual connection to the 101st here in our corner of the West Country.

BTW My own recommendation:

“All Out War” by Tim Shipman. (An account of the Brexit referendum)


It’s a well written history of our glorious and victorious struggle against the vile incompetent spineless Quislings who have been running the UK for the last 20 years or so :slight_smile:

Ah 2016! If I live to be 100, I’ll never have a better summer!

I should say that the author of this book is (unlike me!) non-partisan in his writing and gives a fair and even handed treatment of the Brexit war.

I don’t remember specific chapters, but I think I know what you’re talking about.

Brits to the Americans: “The bloody problem with you Yanks is you are over paid, oversexed, and over here!”

The retort: “Well, the problem with you Brits is you are under paid, under sexed, and under Eisenhower!”


What my dad remembers is being given candies and sticks of the (then unknown in Britain) chewing gum!

Rusya Tarihi (History of Russia) - Akdes Nimet Kurat (originally published in Turkish)
Ezilenler (Humiliated and Insulted) - Feodor Dostoyevski (or Fyodor Dostoyevsky) (I got the Turkish version.)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum (read on Lingq, loved it. After my god damned exams I want to read the articles and views on the novel.)
Satranç (The Royal Game or originally Schachnovell) - Stefan Zweig (I read the book at a sitting.)

These are the boks that I read and loved in the last three months. I had no time to read book for the first nine months of the year.

I thought you said you enlisted in the Navy?

Akdes Nimet Kurat had an interesting life.

Indeed he had.

But how do you know about his life? I could not find even a sentence in English about his life.

So glad you asked!

With much help from Lingq I read the Russian novel “Лавр” by Eugene Vodolazkin (Евгений Водолазкин). It is has been translated to English under the title “Laurus” if interested.

I like historical fiction; this story takes place during times of plague in the 1400s in western Russia, and the life of the main character evinces a special medieval Orthodox spirituality. I found it a really amazing and enjoyable book, notwithstanding that I had to struggle through scattered small passages in archaic language that utterly befuddled the online dictionaries that I used. (Many thanks to @evgueny40, @Ress, @Bautov, and any other Russophone Lingqers who helped me through those!) In addition to the story, I enjoyed the language in the book, though, judging from the translator’s notes that I read, there is much more there to be enjoyed by a native Russian speaker than I would be able to appreciate.

Some reviews of the translation (which I did not employ!) are here:

I recently finished a second novel in Russian by Vodolazkin, “Aviator” (Авиатор). It was fairly engaging, but I was not at all satisfied with its ending. (One reviewer of “Laurus”, on the other hand, claimed it has the most perfect ending of any novel.)

Ambrose is an excellent writer! I’ve enjoyed several of his books on historical subjects.

I cheated. I google translated the Turkish Wikipedia :slight_smile: and I know a little bit about Russian/ Soviet history. Hopefully I live long enough to learn some Turkish because I would like to learn more about him and his work.

Wow I just google translated from Turkish to English, it works pretty well.

Change of plans. I found a better deal. Navy has better technology, but didn’t offer me an officer position, but a good enlisted one. I chose the officer route. Better pay, benefits, and treatment.

I need to get reading enjoyable material again. After being in the academic atmosphere, my reading was pretty much Quantum Chemistry textbooks. :frowning:

Reminds me, are you excited as I am to see the upcoming movie Dunkirk?

Do you know any advanced beginner novels in Russian? I guess maybe something geared for a younger reader like in junior high?