Every year I (and almost every book blogger I know) put together lists of our favorite books of the year. Almost everyone I know has already put their lists out there, but I have not been able to rally to the task because in the 5+ years I’ve been a blogger it’s never been as difficult as it was this year. Suffice it to say, I did not have ten books from 2017 I loved this year. I didn’t have ten books period! Which is so sad. Given that, I’m switching things up a bit—which I’m allowed to do because it’s my blog and there’s no such thing as the book blog police.
This year’s list is not just books published in 2017; it’s books I read in 2017, because honestly, I had more success with backlist books then I did with new releases. The good news is when I fell, I fell hard and most of these books moved past simple love into evangelical fervor. I adored most of these and recommend them wholeheartedly.
The Book I Would Force People to Read if I had the Power
This is How it Always Is: Aka my undisputed number #1 top pick. This novel managed to hit the almost impossible sweet spot of reading perfection—a timely and important subject, quirky characters, snarky humor, and realism. Even better, it is a 2017 release. Win-win! Now go buy it, it’s that good. My review
The Book That’s a Close Second
The Heart’s Invisible Furies: When I read A Little Life I knew it to be an astonishing achievement, but I could only recommend it to certain readers because it immersed the reader in levels of physical and emotional brutality that not everyone could stand to read. The Heart’s Invisible Furies also looks at the experience of being a gay man, but even being set in Ireland in the 1950s does not inhibit Boyne’s sharp wit, a cast of wildly eccentric characters, and prose that is shockingly beautiful. Everyone should read this novel. My review
The Magical Book
The Rules of Magic: What a sweet delight this book was. Ostensibly, it is Hoffman’s prequel to Practical Magic, but everything about its tender, life-affirming message stands alone. You don’t have to be a fan of the supernatural to fall under this novel’s spell. My Review
The Book that Everyone but Me Had Already Read
All the Light We Cannot See: I have no explanation for why I did not read this book before now. Whatever the reason, it is a stunning concoction of a young blind woman, a German orphan with a gift for technology, and a famous diamond all caught in the midst of WWII. Marra’s writing is exquisite, the plot and its pacing perfection. My review
The Long Shot Book
The Heirs: I’m pretty sure I stand alone on this one. I don’t know many people who read it and no one who liked it as much as I did. On the surface a plot about a wealthy, dysfunctional family falling apart after the patriarch’s death is reason enough to get me to read, but it was Rieger’s surgical insight into relationships, family, and marriage that made me love this book—and flag paragraph after paragraph of thoughts that felt all too real. My Review
The Book That Made Me Sob
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: We’re not talking pretty tears here. By the end of The Boy I was a puddle. The novel is small, but packs a wallop of a punch by the end. Given that this is the second John Boyne novel I read this year that merited 5 stars, he is on my list of go-to authors for staggeringly beautiful writing. My review
The Non-Fiction Book
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: I have to use that heading because it’s not a given that non-fiction will be a favorite for me. Thankfully, my love of Anna Quindlen’s novels (Miller’s Valley, Every Last One), and a push from fellow book blogger Sarah, got me to read and fall in love with this memoir. Quindlen’s thoughts on being a woman combined with her life experiences make this recognizable reading for any woman. My Review
The Book that Made Me Laugh
Fitness Junkie: For some chick-lit is not something that is going to make their favorites list. How could anything in the genre be worth 5 stars? There is no gravitas! Well, for me, if it is a perfect representation of the genre then it’s in. And Fitness Junkie checks every box. It’s a well-written, witty, sharp, satire about the excesses in the mind-body fitness craze. Not just fluff, authors Sykes and Piazza also get in their digs as to why women are so compelled to be perfect. My Review
What books made you swoony with book love in 2017?