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The 20 Best Books Of 2016

Radar

Read ‘em all

Now is the time of year when we're supposed to look back on everything that happened and celebrate the best of it. This has been a particularly challenging task this year, because, well, there's little about 2016 which immediately springs to mind as being all that great. And yet, despite all the atrocious things that have transpired on the world's stage, it's hard to deny that there has, at least, been lots of good stuff to read.

This year saw the release of blockbuster novels by literary lions like Colson Whitehead (The Underground Railroad), Michael Chabon (Moonglow), and Zadie Smith (Swing Time), all of which are remarkable accomplishments, with Whitehead's, in particular, standing out for its lyrical and profound writing, and the degree to which his novel doesn't just feel wanted at this present time, but actually needed.

Beyond those huge titles, however, came an abundance of releases from authors who aren't household names (yet). This year boasted an impressive roster of debut or otherwise early-in-their-career writers who blew us away with their narrative strength, sharp wit, and profound empathy; there were also exemplary collections of short fiction, which reinvigorated the form for me, proving once and for all that doorstop-sized novels are certainly not an indication of quality. There were excellent nonfiction works, with notable entries in the field of biography, history, Sontagian essay, and, yes, advice. As it turned out, 2016 has been a year in which there's something for everybody—at least there is if that person loves to read. And isn't that everybody? 

Photo via Harper Collins Publishers

RICH AND PRETTY Rumaan Alam
Alam’s debut novel is a biting, moving, wildly relatable account of two young women whose lifelong friendship is challenged as they navigate the treacherous waters of young adulthood in New York City and all the complications that encompasses. 

Photo courtesy of Balenciaga / Photo via @McDonaldsSverige Instagram

I'm cackling

Last year, Balenciaga released bright red square-toed mules which bore a striking resemblance to McDonald's french fry cartons. Now, the chain has fired back at the designer, threatening to release its own version of the shoes.

McDonald's Sweden posted a photo to its Instagram of a person wearing actual McDonald's fry cartons as shoes, and honestly, if there weren't yellow M's printed onto them, I'd have a hard time distinguishing them from the Balenciagas from a distance. Though the post doesn't directly reference the Balenciaga shoes, one can only assume that's who they are trolling.

McDonald's version actually makes for some pretty fly slip-ons, if you ask me. Good thing the Swedish branch of Mickey D's seems to be considering releasing the shoes if the post receives enough attention. The caption of the Instagram post translates to, "If we get 103042 likes we release these for real," though it only has about 17,000 as of publish time. These would likely cost much less than the Balenciaga shoes, which cost $545.

Internet, do your thing. I want a pair.

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.

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