FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2017
These are my favorite books that I’ve read in 2017. Here are the books that have been naughty and nice to me. I just find it tough to rank that there are different things that I liked about all of these. So, I found hard to put out like numerical value and rank something higher than something else. So, these are just my favorites. I just did not have ten books that spoke to me the way that these books did or that I felt were as masterfully done as these books were.
1. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes:
The first book on this list is “Julian Barnes” (The Sense of an Ending). This story follows the middle-aged divorced man who is enforced to reconsider events from his past. He begins to investigate if his recollections line up with the truth about what happened in his past. And trying to figure out where that leaves him and he just starts going down this rabbit hole that if he can figure out what happened to this person in his past. He can figure something out about himself, about his life.
This is tiny book, less than 200 pages. It is great because it’s so short. I do not know what Julian Barnes does but by the end of this book, you’re also obsessing over what happened to that day along with him. This book had me like days after thinking about the events like he saw them and trying to look for little clues and little meanings just like main character. So, it was masterfully done. I love books about people looking back on their life and contemplating memory and kind of realizing you’re the unreliable narrator of your own story. Because memory can change by passing time and things happen and you might not remember things the way that they happened. I love stories like that I would recommend this if you really liked atonement, there are lots of similar themes and that’s for sure.
2. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth’s Strout:
The next one I loved this year was “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth’s Strout. This is a short story novel about a kind of cranky, curmudgeonly woman who lives in Maine with her husband and in these short stories we see her at different points in her life. It’s not chronological. Sometimes main character of the story is not olive it’s someone else. But she is in background and you still just get to see this picture of olive. For all of the different places from all of the different things that she’s gone through.
There were lots of the criticism of this novel is that she’s not a likable character but she’s not supposed to be. she’s a complicated character she’s bringing lots of baggage with her where she goes.
I feel Elizabeth Strout did a great job of portraying a life just a complex person and the kind of life that they have and I thought this was absolutely beautiful. I also recommend the HBO mini-series with Frances McDormand if you have HBO. It was great. I thought this was beautifully done and it went great with the story.
3. The Guineveres by Sarah Domet:
The Guineveres by Sarah Domet. This is about four teenage girls named Guinevere they all kind of have different nicknames from their like Win, Vere, Ginny, and Gwen. They have all been dropped out by their family at this convent. So, kind of a permanent basis, it’s not a temporary schooling situation like they’ve been dropped off. So, of course, there are many different things bringing these girls together and forming these bonds. One of which of course is that they have the same name. They are growing up in this convent.
There is a war going on outside of the convent but Sarah Domet does just this wonderful thing where you really like the girls. You really do not know what is going on in the outside world. And you just have little clues here and there to go on just like girls in this convent. You are also isolated from the events happening outside. And one of the girls becomes really obsessed with telling stories and lives of the saints and she starts kind of tying things together with her studies of these lives of the saints in her classes. She starts writing in her journal.
I thought this was just a beautiful and it was little dark. I would say if you liked the Virgin Suicides, this is reminiscent of Virgin Suicides and I just absolutely loved it. These girls were so complex and throughout the story, you do get to hear their stories of all the stuff that happened in their life leading up to them being dropped out at this convent.
I thought it was beautiful. So, I definitely recommend The Guineveres of Sarah Domet.
4. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett:
The next one I read that I liked was “Commonwealth by Ann Patchett”. I think Ann Patchett might be only author that’s ever been on my favorites list and on my worst list. Two family’s lives are changed forever because of the events that happen at a baptism party. There is a kiss that happens and two families are broken and aren’t merged together at same time.
I thought Ann Patchett did a great job of tackling a family story about blended families and about the relationship and dynamics when you have to like spend a vacation time with a certain parent. & deal with step-siblings and the complicated relationships that come from that and those relationships over time. And just the difference in the kind of bonds that holds you together because it’s not blood but it is familial still.
In this story, one of the children ends up dating author who takes story of these siblings of this family. And writes a successful novel about it. So, it’s the family then again coming to terms with something that happened in the past. It is the crux of this story and just about stories and ownership & familial relationships trust was amazing.
5. Smoke Gets in your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty:
The next Novel I want to discuss about is “Smoke Gets in your Eyes” by Caitlin Doughty. So, this is the book that’s been everywhere on bookTube. I don’t feel that I need to go too much into it but Caitlin Doughty memoir of being in San Francisco and taking a job working at crematorium. That inspires her to become the licensed mortician. To go to mortuary school, and learn to embalm and just a couple of the experiences that she had working at the funeral home, working at the crematorium. And her practice with people and her thoughts on American culture. And how we deal with the death and the grieving process or more.
So, how we don’t deal with the death and we’re not great at it compared to how other people deal with the death. Her new book that’s out “From here to Eternity”, I think gets a lot more into the worldwide kind of exploration of how other people deal with death and grieving processes around the world. But this is a lot more on the American style of grieving and view of death.
So, if that’s something you’re interested in, I would really recommend this. Actually, I think I would really recommend this to everyone. This is the book I have like shoved into people’s hands after I read it. Because it was just life-changing.
6. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann:
My next favorite is another short story novel “Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann. This is a novel told in short stories that take place in the 70’s in the New York City. All the stories are centered by one event. They are all connected to Philippe Petit Walk on the wire between World Trade Centers that happened. It was such an event that was unplanned. it’s something that just happened and people stopped & stared at it.
And an event that everyone was experiencing and it connected people that normally wouldn’t be connected. Because everyone was experiencing this event together. So that happens in the story. All these stories are connected by that event. There are people that are interacting that normally wouldn’t interact.
So, one of the stories is about a mom who starts attending a support group for mothers who have lost sons in Vietnam. There’s a story about an Irish priest. I just really loved how all the stories connected. We get lots of different point of views. There are some stories where you get the wife’s perspective and three stories later you’ll get the husband’s perspective of what happened to him that day.
So, it was really really interesting. It was really well done and such a variety of viewpoints. Obviously, like all books like these, some stories were better than others. Nevertheless, it was a great experience and I really enjoyed the single minute of reading this.
7. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist:
My next book is “Let the Right One In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist. This is a horror story, this is the vampire book. This year I realized I like vampires too much. The bad taste in my mouth I had from Twilight has finally worn off & I can like vampires again. I really loved this amazing book.
This book happens in Sweden. It’s about a 12-year-old boy named Oskar who is severely bullied. Some murders happening in around his suburb during this time, in the 80’s. Oskar just starts to get these revenge fantasies of his bullies getting murdered. He’s an interesting character. Oskar meets his neighbor Eli, and she is a vampire.
Now, Story is mainly about friendship between Oskar & Eli. There was so much I loved about this book but this book is so dark. So, you need to know that if you’re gonna pick this up and go into it one it’s slow-paced. So, if you are looking for like a real fast-paced horror novel that’s gonna scare you. This isn’t that kind of horror. This is kind of slow-burn horror which I love and this is an example of it done very well. So, the friendship is the main part. In background, there is, of course, horrible bullying going on. There’s a character with like a whole pedophilia storyline that is really gross.
Obviously, there are these murders going on in the background that are grisly and described and just the scenes where they happen very horrific. So, this book just did so much with vampire tropes. In this cold and frozen Swedish landscape and just this beautiful friendship that unfolds between two kids was so great. I really loved it also watch the Swedish movie, it’s great too.
8. Broken Harbor by Tana French:
In the last book, I want to discuss about is the book I read last month that is “Broken Harbor” by Tana French. That’s the 4th book in “Dublin Murder Squad Series”. So, detective a Scorcher Kennedy has the highest rate of Solve in Dublin Murder Squad. He’s usually tasked with training the rookie and he tells them all. It’s always the simplest solution. It’s always the one that’s right in front of our case but that might possibly change with his new case. That he was about to this family with small children who is found murdered in a subdivision that seems like went under most of the houses are empty. This is after the recession.
I loved this story. I thought this was such an amazing story especially about like one family suffering from effects of the recession. And I kept thinking about the big short and obviously the big short did have little bits of compassion towards people.
And what happens when you’re a victim of the recession and just the downward spiral from there. But this was only a snapshot. This was really about this family and you actually got to see their life. Tana French always handles things like class, money, appearances and things like that in the periphery while still focusing on this mystery. And writing these great characters that are bringing their personal stories and sometimes baggage and connections with the case that they’re working on.
So, it’s just great. I love getting different perspectives in every book and I think behind. So, for my favorites right now it might be between in the world & this. I thought the likeness was okay I didn’t like faithful place but this brought me back. And I am all-in on Tana French again. I just absolutely loved it.