What to buy with your book voucher: May we recommend...
Olivia O’Leary, Anne Enright, Roy Foster, Ardal O’Hanlon, Roddy Doyle and others choose their favourite fiction and non-fiction titles of the past year
Best books of 2016: Dennis Potter, Emily Dickinson, Bruce Springsteen, Tsar Nicholas II and his daughters, and Elizabeth Strout. Photographs: BBC, Amherst College via NYT, Sony Music, Heritage/Getty, Todd Heisler/NYT
In The Return Hisham Matar describes his search for the truth about the disappearance of his father from one of Gadafy’s prisons in Libya. This is a story full of anguish, told with clarity and pride. Matar has what might be called a noble style, and this is a terrible and lovely book. Each poem in Paula Meehan’s new collection, Geomantic, is perfectly pitched and weighed. It is a book to be savoured. Everything in it feels familiar and new. She is working at the height of her powers. Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts is a philosophical memoir about love, gender and children. I knew there was a postqueer theorist out there who could describe how a straight Irish married lady like I felt, all along, about the whole business of living in one kind of body, or another (mostly indifferent, sometimes enthralled). Nelson’s voice spoke so clearly to me, it was as though she was in the room.