This year’s Top 5 includes a novel that mixes horror and folklore to center the story of a grief-stricken, book-loving new father in his search for answers; the latest in a portal fantasy series (where’s my door?!!); an essay collection that uses comedy to explore important issues like race, gender, sexuality — to name just a few; a young adult coming-of-age love story that melted this cynic’s heart; and, lastly, a Swedish novel starring a widowed curmudgeon whose attempts at suicide keep getting interrupted.
For those interested, here’s my complete reading list for 2017.
The Changeling by Victor LaValle
Hovers at the intersections of horror, thriller, and magical realism — influenced by folklore.
You should read this if you like: Harrison Squared; quests for missing or presumed dead loved ones; new fatherhood and its inherent fears; men who live and breathe books; New York City; mysteries steeped in folklore and (maybe?) the supernatural; The Hallow (2015 movie)
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
The second book in the Wayward Children series did not disappoint. In fact, I wanted to read the next book immediately… but I have to wait a few more weeks for my copy to arrive.
You should read this if you like: portal fantasy; Every Heart a Doorway; Jack and Jill, the siblings from the first book; kids who refuse society’s gender norms; the power of parents — to nurture or destroy their child; Gothic parallel worlds; vampires; dark fairy tales
We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby
Irby’s brutal honesty, wit and dark humor made this an immediate contender for my Top 5. I laughed so hard I snorted; I cried; I almost peed my pants, though I’m not sure if that was Irby’s fault, my aging bladder, or a combination of the two. Good times! But while I was laughing, she also made me think; she even challenged me on a few topics, which I loved.
You should read this if you like: funny essays with heart and truth; the BEST story about cat adoption (it’s probably not what you think); singledom, but you also wouldn’t mind finding your ideal partner; Shrill; real-life love stories
When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
Reaffirmed my love for magical realism and my love for great love stories.
You should read this if you like: Blanca & Roja; diverse voices; lush imagery; roses, moons, pumpkins; weird sisters; secrets threatened to be revealed; the acceptance of best friends
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Published: 8/27/2012 in Sweden
A story that shows just when you think you’re all alone, with nothing left to live for, there’s always hope for another chance to reconnect with life, with other people, with love.
You should read this if you like: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry; redemption at any age; “perfectly sensible observations” like clowns should do real magic or not be clowns; flawed curmudgeons who can’t turn away someone in need; emotional reads
I’d love to hear about the best books you read in 2017, so please feel free to share your favorites in the comment box. They can be from any genre, published in any year; the only stipulation is that you read the book sometime during 2017.
Photo credit: martinak on 123rf
Post history notes: Drafted 12/30/2017; First published on my blog 1/1/2018; Last updated 9/23/2019