Can you believe it is already July?!?!
But no need to panic! In this post, I thought I would rewind time, pretend it is January, and share with you my favorite books of 2017! I tend to read a lot of backlist books (books published in prior years), so although I read these books in 2017, the publication dates range from 1985 to 2016.
Drumroll please . . . and the winner’s are (in alphabetical order):
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman/ Swedish Fiction – I adored this heartwarming and often comedic story of an old man navigating changes in circumstances and unlikely friends. There were so many moments I found myself laughing out loud at the eccentricities of Ove and in general I found Ove to be a delight! This was also my first Swedish book!
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates/ Memoir – A beautiful “letter” written from father to son, this book broadened my perspective on race and being black in America and furthered my understanding of institutionalized racial injustice. A must read for everyone looking to delve deeper into the state of our nation.
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah/ Memoir – I had watched Trevor Noah a few times on the Daily Show before reading this book, but had no idea what an eventful childhood he had! Noah’s memoir traces his life in South Africa, using his smart humor and wonderful knack for storytelling to describe a changing South Africa where being half black and half white was literally a crime. A fantastic read that will keep you entertained the whole way through!
- Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie/ Fiction – Purple Hibiscus is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about a girl living in Nigeria during a tumultuous political climate and the struggles and challenges she faces alongside her family. Adichie has quickly become one of my favorite authors and this book is a treat for anyone who appreciates beautiful storytelling and writing. As a disclaimer, this story does deal with situations of abuse and domestic violence.
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon/ Fiction – Written from the perspective of a boy with autism, this book seriously blew me away with its nuances, subtlety, and ability to elicit such raw emotions from the reader. What starts as Christopher’s quest to figure out how his neighbor’s dog died quickly turns into an investigation into his own family secrets. Although short and simple to read, make sure to keep a box of tissues handy. I can’t stop recommending this book!
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood/ Dystopia – The Handmaid’s Tale describes a dystopian America taken over by a overzealous religious group where women have very little rights over their own bodies. I love dystopias and this book did not disappoint! Atwood did a wonderful job of crafting narrative that really pulled me into the emotions of her protagonist. A must read!
- The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion/ Comedic Fiction – The Rosie Project is the story of a socially awkward scientist trying to find out a friend’s paternity, and in the process finding love. This book made me laugh and smile the whole way through and was an absolute joy to read! Many of my favorite books of 2017 tend to be on the “heavier” side, so if you need a quick pick me up, I definitely recommend picking up this book!
- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead/ Historical Fiction – The Underground Railroad is about a woman named Cora and her experiences as a slave in the American South. While parts of the story were entirely fictitious (like the existence of a real underground railroad) most of the story is steeped in truth, down to the inhumane treatment of people based on the color of their skin. This is definitely not a light read, but is great if you are looking for powerful historical fiction.
- Unwind by Neal Shusterman/ YA Dystopia – Unwind is a creative dystopian story about a society where children can be retroactively aborted when they become teenagers. The book follows the lives of three different teenagers who are scheduled to be “unwound” and whose stories ultimately converge. The world-building and character development are fantastic and the plot progression makes this book hard to put down! One of my all-time favorites!
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi/ Memoir – The third memoir on my list for 2017, this book was particularly relatable to me as it was published posthumously by an Indian-American doctor with a passion for philosophy, writing, and his family. This book was beautifully written and was one of the catalysts in encouraging me to finally write my book.
Oh and I also wanted to add one honorary mention (but really this is my sneaky way of doing a top 10 post with 11 books…):
Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin/ Korean Fiction – Set in South Korea after the war and written in second-person, Please Look After Mom is the story of a family in crisis as they try to find their missing elderly mom. Told in a mix of flashbacks and real time narrative, this story is a beautiful reminder of how important our relationships are. But be warned, you might need a box of tissues and your mom’s or a loved one’s phone number close at hand!
Of my top books, three were memoirs, two were dystopias, and six were from non-American authors. I think I will do a more in-depth look at my 2017 statistics in a future blog post! I will also be posting my reviews of all these books in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned (although spoiler alert, they all received five stars)!
What were your favorite books last year?