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Malaprop's Bookstore & Cafe, open since 1982 in downtown Asheville, has been a haven for bibliophiles, writers, and community members for years. Asheville Grit asked our favorite independently owned bookstore to share its top books of 2016 with our readers. The first list comes from manager and Author Events Coordinator Melanie McNair, who shared her top seven books of the year. All are available at Malaprop's. Readers, rejoice!
Melanie's Picks for 2016
1. So Much for That Winter by Dorthe Nors (ISBN: 9781555977429)
Nors's prose is cut bare and the effect is almost physical. Each line builds the interior world of her character so efficiently that within the first two pages I was in there with her.
2. Mister Monkey by Francine Prose (ISBN: 9780062397836)
Both deeply moving and light, this is my favorite novel of the year. It gets its title from a fictional off-off-Broadway musical based on a children's book about a monkey. Each chapter shifts POV to build a far-reaching and deeply felt world of characters and connections with a bright monkey heart.
3. Walk Through Walls by Marina Abramovic (ISBN: 9781101905043)
Tremendously inspiring stories from the famous performance artist. If you liked Just Kids, you might like to read another artist's experience. Abramovic has been everywhere and transformed pain and joy into meaningful and powerful performances and objects d'art.
4. Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (ISBN: 9780143128755)
A character study of a person who is lost, unloved, and unaware of the wider world at a crucial time in her life. Wonderfully dark. Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2016
5. Bestiary by Donika Kelly (ISBN: 9781555977580)
Long-listed for the 2016 National Book award in poetry. Vulnerable and open-hearted, she delves into the darkest possible places of family and the soft, healing ways of beasts.
6. What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell (ISBN: 9780374288228)
A beautiful debut novel from a poet that demands to be read as quickly as possible. The prose is propulsive. Love, obsession and shame are all entertwined with landscape and history.
7. Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (ISBN: 9780385542364)
This book was impossible for me to put down. I want everyone to read this. It changed me. It's that powerful.