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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 by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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Congrats!

Amanda Bynes has just graduated with the Class of 2019 from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Late Monday evening, Bynes shared a photo to Twitter celebrating the achievement, posing alongside a classmate in her cap and gown.

TMZ shared additional selfies with fellow classmates from the graduation ceremony. Sources told TMZ that Bynes seemed "ecstatic," and that she was "getting tons of love from her teachers and peers."

The actress has been enrolled at the school since 2014, though, as Page Six notes, was kicked out for a short period of time toward the beginning of her studies, but returned and completed her program within five years.

In March of this year, Bynes checked into a mental health facility after an alleged relapse, following four years of sobriety. Prior to that, she had returned to the public in late 2018 with an interview with Paper in which she opened up about her experience with depression after the release of She's The Man, as well as her drug use.

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