I do love talking about things I love. I have been writing this post for weeks and I am so excited!
2017 was a pretty brilliant reading year for me; sure I read some not so great books but overall I am really pleased. This is the first year I reviewed every single book I read, this has made me both more critical and more excited. Writing down all the things I adored in a book makes me give higher ratings, I have found – I am very fine with this. As such it comes as no surprise that I have given 5 stars to more books than in 2016. I am looking forward to even more brilliant books in 2018!
Without much further ado, here are my favourite books of the year. While places 13 to 6 could and did change depending on my mood, my top 5 are certain.
Honorable mention: Grief Cottage – Gail Godwin
I loved this. I found the first 90% absolutely stunning. Because the ending didn’t quite work for me, I gave it 4 stars. But is has stuck with me. My review can be found here.
Little Nothing – Marisa Silver
I adored this whimsical fairy-talesque beautiful little novel. It sucked me right in and never let me go. There was just something so brilliant here that it left me breathless. I still don’t know why this wasn’t talked about more. My review can be found here.
Anything is Possible – Elizabeth Strout
I was sure I would like this book but it took me by surprise with how much I loved this. So much that I went and bought My Name is Lucy Barton and immediately read it – which is something I hardly ever do. You can find my review here.
Stay With Me – Ayobami Adebayo
I have talked recently about this book. Because even though I gave it four stars immediately after reading it, it has stuck with me. The longer I think about it, the better I think it is. My review can be found here. I might have changed the rating before this goes online.
The Unfinished World – Amber Sparks
Hands down my favourite short story collection of the year. I just love Amber Sparks’ imagination and her vivid world building. I love her stories about siblings and about loss and about weirdness and sadness. I found it moving and wonderful and just everything I look for in a short story collection. My review can be found here.
Annihilation (The Southern Reach #1) – Jeff VanderMeer
I devoured this. I just could not get enough of this wonderfully atmospheric and creepy little book. I adore the way Jeff VanderMeer constructs his sentences and builds his world. I love how the weirdness is always rooted in what we know of his world. I am equally scared and excited to see the movie adaptation next year. My review can be found here.
The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth #3) – N. K. Jemisin
This was hands down my most anticipated book published in the second half of the year. And boy, did it ever deliver. N. K. Jemisin is the most exciting voice in fantasy at the moment (the Hugo jury seems to agree with me) and THIS is how you end a trilogy. My review can be found here.
City of Stairs (The Divine Cities #1) – Robert Jackson Bennett
I adored this. Last year, I started to become less enamored with fantasy as genre – but apparently I have just been reading the wrong books because this year I found so much to love again. Robert Jackson Bennett’s series of lost divinities and mythology and flawed characters and grey morality just floored me. You can find my longer, gushing review here.
05) The Wrong Way To Save Your Life – Megan Stielstra
This book snuck up on me; I was enjoying it and then suddenly I was loving it. It made me think, it made me smile and it made me cry. I could not sleep one night because I could not stop thinking about this. I just want everybody to read this. My review can be found here.
04) Hunger: A memoir of (my) body – Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay is my hero. That is all.
(Longer version here.)
03) The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) – N. K. Jemisin
My introduction to N. K. Jemisin’s world remains my favourite of hers. She creates a brutal world where the earth is volatile and out to kill its inhabitants and the society that evolved from this makes sadly so much sense. I adore the political core of her work and how she never sacrifices the story she wants to tell to it. Her characters are brilliant, her language mesmerizing, her talent undeniable. This is why I love fantasy. My review is here.
02) Kassandra – Christa Wolf
This feels a bit like cheating – I have read this book quite possibly more often than any other book since I was an adult. This retelling of the story of Troy is one of my all-time favourite books. Stylistically brilliant, brutally devastating, wonderfully imagined. My full thoughts are here.
01) The Chronology of Water – Lidia Yuknavitch
Everything about this book is pure perfection. This will forever define what I think a memoir can do; Lidia Yuknavitch’s honesty about her trauma and her mistakes and her life is a wonder. I still do not have the words to describe how absolutely beyond brilliant this book is. But you can see my attempt here.
There are three memoirs, two short story collections, six books that can broadly be categorized as SFF, and eleven books written by women on this list. I think I am okay with this.
What about you? What were your favourite books of the year? Have you read any of the books on my list? What are your thoughts?