My favorite books of 2017

My favorite books of 2017

2017 was a great reading year for me, and today I’m sharing the best-of-the-best: the handful of truly exceptional titles that earned a spot at the top of my list.

I track my titles in my reading journal, and put a simple little star by especially noteworthy titles. Despite my best efforts at record-keeping, I’m probably forgetting a favorite here, because I always do. I tried to keep my list short, or I could have included thirty titles.

First up: fiction. (Not in order.)

Favorite Books of 2017: Fiction
This Must Be the Place

This Must Be the Place

Family stories are commonplace in fiction, but I love this one for its intricate plotting, nuanced characters, true-to-life feel, and ultimate hopefulness. This is the story of an unlikely but successful marriage between a floundering American professor and a British film star who hated the limelight so much she faked her own death and disappeared ... until an unexpected bit of news, twenty years old but newly discovered, threatens to unravel everything they've built together. The story is told in interlocking scenes from different viewpoints, occurring between 1944 and 2016. I loved this one so much, I picked it as our MMD Book Club core selection for February. More info →
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Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies

Author:
I'd been meaning to read more of Jhumpa Lahiri's fiction this year; this slim volume of short stories was breathtaking. The first story, A Temporary Matter, is my favorite. Lahiri's characters tenuously navigate the divide between their old world and their new, and taken together, the collection highlights myriad aspects of the immigrant experience. Evocative, bittersweet, and lyrical. I listened to the audio version and loved it. More info →
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Beartown

Beartown

Author:
This was a hard read because of the content but so, so good. Backman's latest novel is set in a backwater Swedish town whose glory days are gone—except when it comes to hockey. In Beartown, hockey is everything, and the players on the boys' A-team have god-like status. But this isn't just a hockey story. One night after a huge win, the teens throw a raucous party to celebrate—and what happens there splinters the community. Part coming-of-age story, part community-in-crisis, completely fabulous. (And I don't care a bit about hockey, so that's saying something.) Heads up, readers: triggers abound. If you've read and enjoyed Backman in the past, you'll recognize his skillful prose, but not the tone: this novel bears none of the whimsy of his previous work. The sequel is coming this June and I'm counting down the days. More info →
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The War That Saved My Life

The War That Saved My Life

I just loved this and have been thrilled to see so many readers of all ages enjoy it. It’s a Newbery Honor Book, set during WWII, and the plot is set in motion when two children—one of whom is very much unwanted—are evacuated from London into the British countryside. (If you think this sounds like Everyone Brave Is Forgiven you’re exactly right.) The sequel, published in October, was good, but I liked this one best. More info →
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Our Souls at Night

Our Souls at Night

Author:
I can't believe I didn't read this book years ago, because now that I've read it, it reminds me so much of my all-time faves Stegner, Berry, and Robinson. I found this up-close look at an unlikely relationship between two long-time acquaintances in small-town Colorado completely absorbing, and Haruf's hits just the right tone with his light touch. This is definitely one of those books where the flap copy doesn't do it justice. This was my first Haruf novel, and I'll be reading more in 2018. More info →
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This Is How It Always Is

This Is How It Always Is

Author:
I loved this story about a family that, years ago, started keeping a little secret. And, as secrets tend to do, it became bigger over time, implicating all the family members in its keeping, until it feels like the secret is keeping them. I fell completely in love with Rosie and Penn, gained insight into a situation I thought had nothing to do with me, and had complicated feelings about the resolution. That title? It comes from the idea that parents frequently have to make terrifyingly important decisions about their kids with not enough information even though the stakes are enormous. More info →
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Next up: nonfiction. Once again, I read far more fiction than nonfiction in 2017, but I still had a healthy number of nonfiction titles to choose from. These were the three books I couldn’t stop thinking about, that provided both fantastic reading experiences and whose ideas have stuck with me for months, the ones I keep thinking about and coming back to.

Favorite Books of 2017: Nonfiction
The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

We've all had them—those memorable moments that have a disproportionate impact on our lives, the ones that make us feel proud, insightful, connected, even transcendent. The moments that we know are special, both as we experience them, and through the lens of memory, years later. In this pageturner of a business book (yep, that's a thing) the Heath brothers explain not only why those moments are so special, but how we can deliberately create more of them in our own and other people's lives. Practical and inspiring, and so much good food for thought. More info →
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Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts

Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts

Author:
I found this book encouraging, practical, and thought-provoking—a great combination for this kind of nonfiction work. The idea here is that truly great work has perennial value—not just when it's first released, but for years, decades, or even centuries after. The concept applies to books and films and paintings and business ideas. The underlying premise that good work endures is encouraging, and the numerous examples featuring Jack Kerouac, Lady Gaga, Katz's Deli, Iron Maiden, Paulo Coehlo, Winston Churchill, Elon Musk, and more were both fascinating and illuminating. More info →
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Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage

Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage

Author:
If I were to judge my books by how many passages require book darts, this one wins everything. Time, memory, marriage—things many of us relate to, or can at least imagine—but Shapiro writes about them with such freshness the concepts seem brand new. My favorite line of exploration: the nature of mistakes, near-misses, and time: "The stumbles and falls; the lapses in judgment; the near misses; the could-haves. I’ve become convinced that our lives are shaped less by the mistakes we make than when we make them." I wouldn't have "gotten" this at 22 but adored it in my 30s. More info →
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I feel like I’ve done more than my usual amount of re-reading in 2017. These are the books that blew me away for the second, third, or sixth time.

Favorite Books of 2017: Re-reads
Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility

Author:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this for the third time recently, finding it every bit as good as I remembered. It's always reminded me of Gatsby: Towles plunges you into the streets of Manhattan, circa 1938. Young secretary Katey Kontent and her roommate Evelyn meet handsome Tinker Gray by chance, on New Year's Eve (so this would be a great read for this time of year!). The girls vie for his affection—until one impulsive decision changes everything. I love the craft here: Towles sets his scenes so well, and the opening and closing scenes frame the story beautifully. More info →
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Station Eleven

Station Eleven

I enjoyed this so much on my first read through that I was a little afraid to pick it up again: what if it wasn't as good as I remembered? I needn't have worried. I love stories that bring together seemingly unrelated plot lines in interesting ways, and Mandel delivers with her post-apocalyptic tale of a global pandemic, a traveling Shakespeare troupe, and a graphic novel. When I first picked this up, I was afraid it would be depressing, but I found it striking, sympathetic, and hopeful. More info →
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Crossing to Safety

Crossing to Safety

Author:
This is one to read again and again, and I so enjoyed reading it this fall with the MMD Book Club. I adore this book, but if you’ve hung out on MMD for any amount of time, you probably already know that. This novel asks, "How do you make a book that anyone will read out of lives as quiet as these?" The answer: just like this. Stegner weaves a compelling story out of four ordinary lives and their extraordinary, life-changing friendship as it spans across forty years, tackling themes of love and marriage, calling and duty. This is one of the best explorations of friendship in literature. Bonus: after reading it six or so times, I think I finally, finally understand what the title means. More info →
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Honorable mention: The Almost Sisters, I Know This Much Is True, The Snow Child, Little Fires Everywhere, A Mother’s Reckoning.

What were YOUR favorite books this year?

P.S.  My favorite books of 2016, and my favorite books of 2015: fiction and nonfiction. Also, the books I abandoned in 2012. And the 2018 Reading Challenge is coming this week! Subscribe here so you don’t miss a thing.

favorite books of 2017

104 comments | Comment

104 comments

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  1. Heather says:

    A few of my favourites align with yours: Beartown & This is How it Always Is. I also really enjoyed The War that Saved My Life.
    Other favourites: Glass Houses, A Man called Ove, Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Daring Greatly, Emily of New Moon and A Wrinkle in Time as re-reads, and Tell Me Three Things, which I could not stop thinking about.

  2. Katee says:

    Some of my favorites in 2017 included: We Should All Be Feminists, Y: The Last Man (vol. 3), Station Eleven, IT and The Seven Husband of Evelyn Hugo…all of which were first time reads. I noticed I didn’t read a lot of non-fiction this year so I’ll have to change that for 2018.

  3. Susan says:

    My top ten book list this year unless something major happens in the next 20 days is 1) The Almost Sisters, 2) Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde, 3) Never Let Her Go by Chevy Stevens, 4)Without Warning by Joel Rosenberg, 5) Every Wild Heart by Meg Donahue, 6)The Fallen by Ace Atkins, 7)Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shavis, 8) The Hangmans Sonet by Reed Farrel Coleman, 9) Exposed by Lisa Scotoline, 10)Beartown. I tend to favor mysteries but I found other generes this year too.

  4. Beth says:

    A few of my favorites are: A Man Called Ove, The Stone Diaries(from your recommendation the other day), We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Olive Kitteridge, When Breath Becomes Air, and And After the Fire.

  5. Breanne says:

    The War I finally Won was incredible, I loved it so much. More then the first but you need the first to appreciate the second. Complex, yet simple and telling stories that don’t often get told in that genre, YA and WW2.
    Will be buying both for my girls to read in a few years.

  6. Beth B. says:

    My 2017 favorites were Stranger in the Woods and When Breath Becomes Air. I could not stop thinking about them, talking about them, and recommending them to anyone who would listen. I guess it was a non-fiction year for me. Some fiction highlights were Landline and Everything, Everything.

  7. Kimi says:

    My favorite of the year was The Nix by Nathan Hill as well as Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. I am also sad that I got to the end of both Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series and the Galbraith/JK Rowling Cormoran Strike series as I need more from both of them.
    Dark Matters by Blake Crouch and Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett were also favorites.

  8. Sr MG says:

    A few of my fiction favorites this year were Lilian Boxfish Takes a Walk, Be Frank with Me, The War that Saved my Life, The One in a Million Boy (looking at this list I realize I am fondly remembering books with extremely quirky characters!), The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, The Chillbury Ladies’ Choir, A Bridge Across the Ocean and The Vanishing Year.
    I will admit that I was bitten by the Jennifer Chiaverini Elm Creek Quilts bug – have liked every book I’ve read (I like her writing style & am attracted by historical fiction, and really appreciate that her books are clean reads – no smut), and I also read & liked a few of the Jenny Colgan books & enjoyed her quirky characters & plots (unfortunately these were not quite squeaky clean – I just fast-forwarded where necessary).
    Non-fiction faves for the year are Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine (account of the Holodomor in 1930s Ukraine), Caroline Webb’s How to Have a Good Day, Jonathan Field’s How to Live a Good Life, Kate Brower Anderson’s The Residence, Clint Hill’s Five Presidents and the Strengths Based books (esp. on Leadership).

    Since my reading access is limited to what I can check out, I recommended that Reading People be acquired by our public library system so I can read it! Looking forward to enjoying that in 2018 in addition with a few others, including Lara Casey’s Cultivate, a few books on Russia, Ukraine & Poland by Dr. Timothy Snyder, Anne Applebaum’s Between East & West and George Weigel’s Lessons in Hope: My Unexpected Life with John Paul II.

  9. Adrienne Hudson says:

    Hi Anne! I also read mostly fiction in 2017, and my fiction favorites were Bear Town, The Dry (Harper), The Stars are Fire (Shreve), The Lost Girls (Young), and To the Bright Edge of the World (Ivey). I did read a few non-fiction books this year, and my favorites were All is Grace (Manning), Crazy Love (Chan), The Power of Moments (Heath), and of course, Reading People. Definitely some overlap with your list! I also listened to the entire Mitford series on audio book, leading up to the release of the newest installment in the series, To Be Where You Are. John McDonough does a fabulous job with the audiobook versions.

  10. Lisa Johns says:

    I loved Beartown and was so glad when I saw it on your list. I enjoyed Walking to Listen, The Soul of An Octopus, and Almost Sistera as well. Wildman, a YA book was up there on my list to read…

  11. Sarah says:

    Great list!
    For non-fiction I HAVE to add, Code Girls. That book about female code breakers during WW2 was so fascinating and read like a novel.
    For Fiction: I did thoroughly enjoy BearTown, that was probably my favorite book of the year. As well as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, The Women in the Castle, Lilac Girls, and Panchinko. Some were BOTM recommendations, others I found on here! Thanks for a great year of reading!!

  12. Sarah says:

    Also, how could I forgot my Jennifer Robson Novel that I anxiously awaited for. Goodnight from London, knocked it out of the park!!

  13. Pam says:

    Three favourites (so far) for 2017, that may well make it to my all-time favourites list:
    “Our Souls at Night” by Kent Haruf. Lovely, short book to savour. You could read it one sitting, but I split it across two days, as I didn’t want it to end. Lots to say about the human need for intimacy, the meaning of community and place, and the importance/foibles of family.
    “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. Wow. This novel was great. I don’t usually reread novels, but this is one that I will read again in a year or two. The characters are fantastic and the plot is detailed enough to hold my interest. That’s saying something, as my favoured genres are mystery, thriller and suspense…
    “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty. Enough of a page-turner to keep me engaged, and strong, complex female characters. Good stuff.
    Honourable mentions:
    “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides. Had been on my TBR for a long time, and I finally read it this year. Lots to think about re: gender, identity and family.
    “The Almost Sisters” by Joshilyn Jackson. Really enjoyed this one! Great recommendation by this blog.
    “Before the Fall” by Noah Hawley. Great story!
    “Paper Girls Vol. 1” by Brian K. Vaughan, et al. (Graphic novel) Sci fi is another favourite genre of mine; this series is reminiscent of Netflix’s “Stranger Things”, but with young female protagonists.
    // I could add more, as 2017 was a good reading year for me, but I’ll stop there!

  14. KQ says:

    My favorite books this year were the Three Body Problem Cixin Lui.

    My least favorite: Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel. It was so bad it blew my mind. The characters were at best forgettable and the story was ill conceived and the author clearly didn’t bother to research or learn anything about humans, interaction, emotions or basic life skills.

  15. Aimee says:

    LOVED The War that Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won. Our daughter read the first one for class and I found her descriptions so interesting I decided to read it myself. I think I enjoyed the second one more because I like closure – ha! I also finally read Wonder this year (another school assignment for our daughter but from last year) and am so glad I did.

    My favorites (I need to start keeping a log because I’m positive I’m not remembering them all :-():

    – Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk – What a fabulous and interesting book!
    – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Growing up in Trail of Tears territory, I was disappointed I had not thought more about the lives of those living on reservations.
    – Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith – Two years ago began my prayer and research into refugees (after the Paris bombing) and my heart was ultimately changed in a significant way. This book was hard in some ways but I’m glad I read it.
    – Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman – Possibly my favorite of the favorites. I’m not middle aged (just yet) but I found this book oddly hopeful and encouraging. Just finished the sequel this weekend – not as good as the first but worth a read if you read Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman.
    – Reading People – I’m not just saying this because you wrote it..I loved this book. So much so that I’ve told all my friends and colleagues about it who are also reading it and texting/calling to say – whoah, I learned XYZ. Your description of P resulted in a HUGE aha for me that my husband is a P and it’s a big reason he drives me crazy – HAHA! It also helped others understand what I mean by HSP when I say that I’m an HSP and they stare in shock because I am not a feeler, nor particularly sensitive about my feelings or the feelings of others. And I’m an extrovert!

  16. Torrie says:

    I also blog about my favorites, but this year I had so many, I had to split them into my top 10 nonfiction and my top 10 fiction! I’ve only done the nonfiction one so far (I’ll leave the link below if you’re interested), but Beartown will definitely make my top 10 fiction list as well, as will Echo, Almost Sisters, Peace Like a River, and My Lady Jane (many of which I got as recs from you, so thank you!).

    https://www.toloveandtolearn.com/2017/12/07/top-10-nonfiction-reads-of-2017/

  17. Terry says:

    Fiction Faves: Pere Goriot by Balzac (a classic I have been meaning to read for many years and which didn’t disappoint); A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (liked it better than his first book, and I liked that one); Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (urban fantasy); Penric and the Demon by Lois McMasters Bujold; Village School by Miss Read (a surprisingly non-saccharine look at village schools and village life in post-war England); Our Souls at Night (loneliness, aging, trying to connect). That’s a really eclectic mix of favorites.

    But this was the year of non-fiction for me, which is unusual. My Nonfiction Faves: A Kim-Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer (a look into North Korea, something we see very little of first hand); The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner (life inside a polygamous cult, and the resilience of human nature); Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance (a look into the Appalachian poor, often left behind in any economic recovery); Nomadland by Jessica Bruder (a look at life on the road, not because it’s a great retirement but because it’s the only life you can afford); and The Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan (because I love conversion stories).

  18. Stephanie says:

    My favorites for this year….
    1.The War that Saved My Life (Brubaker)- YA and WW2. The sequel, The War I Finally Won, was great too!
    2.The Impossible Fortress (Rekulak)- a little glimpse of the 1980’s
    3.My Not So Perfect Life (Kinsella)- a fun chick lit
    4.The Almost Sisters (Jackson)- comic con + Alabama; great characters!
    5.At the Edge of the Orchard (Chevalier)- historical fiction about apples; wonderful characters and details about pioneer life
    6.Re Jane (Park)- Jane is half Korean and half American growing up in Flushing, Queens
    7.Final Girls (Sager)- thriller, but not gory
    8.Commonwealth (Patchett)- I don’t need to explain right! 🙂 Some of the best characters I have read and wanted to know more and more when the book ended.
    9.Little Fires Everywhere (Ng)- family secrets

  19. Mary H says:

    Anne, I’ve embraced re-reading because of you — thanks for sharing those titles. I’d also love to hear about your favorite audio books. I can never have to many recs for these 🙂

    My faves of the year:
    My Cousin Rachel (better than Rebecca IMHO)
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
    Untangled by Lisa Damour — a definite re-read even though my daughter heads to college this year!
    The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris. Loved the depth and unusual format of this book.

  20. Lindsay says:

    My 5 star reads for this year: Nee Releases: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, All Grown Up by Jamie Attenberg, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman, The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne, Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore, Less By Andrew Sean Greer.

    Not NR: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, The Catcher in The Rye.

  21. Emma says:

    …. And there goes my TBR, getting blown up again!! These all sound fantastic. My favourite books of the year were:
    Fiction: This is how it Always Is (that one will stick with me for a long time I think), and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
    Non-Fiction: Into Thin Air and Just Mercy
    Favourite audiobooks: Pride and Prejudice read by Rosamund Pike, and The Handmaid’s Tale read by Claire Danes.

  22. Britta says:

    My favorite read was far and away Emily of New Moon! It is actually probably my favorite book of all time now, and I have you and MMD to thank for introducing me – so really, thank you! I’m holding off reading the third book Emily’s Quest because I simply don’t want it to end. Happy Holidays!

  23. Stacy says:

    My favorites for the year are as follows:
    Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
    Glass Houses by Louise Penny
    Dombey and Sons by Charles Dickens
    Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
    Refugees by Viet Thang Nguyen
    The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
    News of the World by Paulette Jiles
    And Every Morning the Road Homes Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
    Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

  24. We have two overlaps in our Best of 2017 lists…Beartown and This is How It Always Is…both of which I read on your recommendation! So, thank you very much! Particularly with Beartown…it’s totally up my alley (I love sports stories that are more than sports stories), but I DNF’d A Man Called Ove, so was not planning to pick it up.
    And, I saw the O’Farrell on sale the other day on Amazon and grabbed it! Hope to get to it soon!

  25. Grace says:

    There were so many amazing books this year! I agree with This Is How It Always Is. Also I would say The Break by Katherena Vermette, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and actually Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes which was much more light and fun (which I certainly needed alongside those other two).

  26. Donna says:

    Great post,Anne! Beartown (which I read last month) and Our Souls at Night also made my favourites list this year! I highly recommend checking out Haruf’s Benediction. I read it last year and thoroughly enjoyed it!

    My 2017 Fiction favourites:
    Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
    The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (currently reading)
    What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum (finished this one this weekend!)
    The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

    My 2017 Non-fiction favourites:
    You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris
    Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson
    What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (currently reading)
    Better Now by Dr. Danielle Martin (currently reading)
    The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (currently reading)

  27. Colleen Wedler says:

    Great list, thank you!

    Some of my favorites, in no particular order:
    *Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
    *Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
    *Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
    *The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
    *Hunger by Roxane Gay
    *Dietland by Sarai Walker
    Born A Crime by Trevor Noah was the most incredible audiobook, I absolutely can’t recommend it enough.

  28. Andrea Debbink says:

    I love reading everyone’s annual round-up of books! Looking back, I realized that 2016 was a much better year for books than 2017. (A bunch of favorites immediately came to mind and then I realized I read them in 2016, not 2017!) Yet I still have some favorites that rose to the top. My first two picks would be Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. My third favorite was the audiobook version of Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. (He reads the audiobook version.) Trevor Noah is my age so it was especially interesting to hear about his childhood in South Africa considering that we were growing up at the same time (yet had vastly different experiences).

  29. Kelly says:

    I absolutely loved Beartown! It was the best book I read in 2017 and I didn’t know there was a sequel coming out, but that definitely made my day! I also saw you included I Know This Much is True as a runner up. It is one of my favourite books I have ever read, so I love when other people love it too!

  30. Susan says:

    My favorites of the year:
    This is how it always is— Frankel
    Brown girl dreaming— Woodson
    Small great things— picoult
    The hate u give — Thomas
    A man called ove— Backman
    Pride + prejudice (re-read) — Austen

  31. Allison says:

    What a great year for reading!

    Beartown has officially taken a spot on my all-time favourite list, not just 2017! I also adored This Is How It Always Is – these two titles are the ones I’ve been telling EVERYONE I KNOW to read.

    Other favourites for 2017 are:
    The Dry by Jane Harper
    The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
    Where the Light Falls by Alison Pataki and Owen Pataki
    The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
    Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
    The Futures by Anna Pitoniak
    The Address by Fiona Davis

  32. Erin says:

    So I didn’t mark favorites or anything, just made a list of what I’ve read through the year. So these are the ones that I still have big feelings about . . .
    Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    The Pianist by Władysław Szpilman
    The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch
    A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
    David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

  33. Christine, Australia says:

    I’ve read a lot of Australian fiction this year and the stand-outs are:
    ‘The Dry’ Jane Harper, but you all know about that. She does get rural Victoria in drought just right.
    ‘Music and Freedom’ by Zoe Morrison, a beautifully written study of a coercive and destructive marriage, and the power of music to heal.
    “Ghost River’ by Tony Birch. Birch is a great Aboriginal story-teller, and this novel follows two boys in the summer of 1965, swimming, walking, playing around the the river Yarra in Melbourne, and the people they meet.
    ‘Haxby’s Circus’, Katherine Susanna Pritchard. Written in 1930, this follows the fortunes of a circus travelling around the small towns of rural Australia, showing the poverty behind the glamour, and the strength of the community.

  34. CAROL GOODMAN says:

    My favorites are A Gentleman of Moscow and The Madwoman Upstairs. I also enjoyed The Truth According to Us. I believe the latter two I got from your listsm Mrs. Darcy. I pay close attention to your lists because I value your opinion.

  35. Tara says:

    Your re-reads list is fantastic, with two of my faves: Rules of Civility and Station Eleven; I could definitely stand to re-read both of those, myself! I’m so glad that you’ve had a good reading year, Anne; excited for what is to come in 2018!

  36. SHU says:

    I’m 3/4 through This Is How It Always Is (at your rec 🙂 ) and loooooooooove it!!! Excited to see it make your list. Adding multiple others here to my TBR!

  37. Dana says:

    Thanks to your podcast, I started really reading again this year. So some of my favorites were not published in 2017.

    Fiction:
    1. 1-11 of Louise Penny
    2. The Knockoff
    3. The Wife Between Us
    4. Emma in the Night
    5. Small, Great Things
    6. The Mothers
    7. Multiple Fredrick Backman’s!
    8. Every Last Word
    9. All th eBright Places
    10. Rules of Civility

    NF:
    1. When Breath Becomes Air
    2. Born a Crime
    3. Reading People!!
    4. Love Warrior
    5. Into Thin Air

  38. Susannah says:

    I just ordered “This Must be the Place” – so excited to read it. I highly recommend “Anything is Possible” by Elizabeth Strout. Such incredible writing! I kept pausing to savor it.

  39. Julia R. says:

    My favorites were The Help, Still Alice, The Girl on the Train, Gone With the Wind, The Lost Book of the Grail, The Dry, The Sun Is Also a Star, America’s First Daughter, and The Night Circus.

  40. Julie says:

    My top reads were: Lincoln in the Bardo and Goodbye Vitamin. I loved Hourglass and The Interpreter of Maladies. Many, many good reads this year. A post is on my blog with the others.

  41. Andrea Tisher says:

    2017 favourite fiction:
    The Break by Katherena vermette
    The Leavers by Lisa Ko
    Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

    Favourite non-fiction:
    Attend: 40 Soul Stretches Toward God by Laura Werezak

  42. Bunmi Ishola says:

    I work at YES Prep, and our Senior Signing Day is mentioned in the opening of The Power of Moments! I have only read the beginning while bookstore browsing, but should go back and actual read beyond the part about my job 😁

  43. Renee says:

    “Before We Were Yours” is my favorite book for 2017! My second is “Small Great Things.” I read almost 70 books this year…the most ever in a year!

  44. Sheryl Esau says:

    Thanks to this blog and podcast, I had a great reading year!
    My favorites were:
    Our Souls at Night – which I actually read right before Anne mentioned it!
    The Hate U Give – fabulous on audio
    Shelter (by Jung Yun) – I was also really fortunate to meet the wonderful author who made me love the book even more
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – yes, I was late for the party
    and I group together Missoula and Beartown which I think were helpful to read together.

  45. Kaylee Baldwin says:

    My 2017 Favorites:
    Counting by 7s
    The War That Saved My Life
    The Invention of Wings
    Big Little Lies
    The Secret Keeper
    The End of Your Life Book Club

    Favorite Audio:
    Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan–the music adds so much to the story.
    P&P read by Rosamund Pike (I’m already on my second listen this year)
    The Great Gatsby–My 1st time on audio (third read-through)… Jake Gyllenhaal just sounds like Nick to me.

  46. Rachel says:

    Anne,
    I just started rereading Station Eleven. This year I read The Rules of Civility and if I was on your podcast it’d be my hate book. I think my favorite read of 2017 was A Gentleman in Moscow, this is one book I completely adored and enjoyed. I actually borrowed it from the library but loved it so much I bought it for myself.

    • Sheryl Esau says:

      I hated Rules of Civility, too, and when I have my imaginary WSIRN episodes in my head, starring me, that would probably be my hate book, too. LOL Or The Goldfinch. Hated it more, but probably mainly because it was a longer, terrible book.

    • Julia says:

      Also, The Dry was also great on Audio. It seems I like Australian narrators as I have enjoyed all of Liane Moriarty’s books on audio as well .

  47. Jessa says:

    I loved A Man Called Ove on audio but Beartown left me with too many questions. I loved What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum. Anne I would love to know your YA favorites of the year.

  48. Rachelle says:

    Fiction: Lilac Girls, Station Eleven and All the Light We Cannot See
    Non-Fiction: Hero of the Empire, Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found on the Mississippi Delta, Thank you for Being Late (Thomas Friedman) and The Island at the Center of the World

  49. Veronica says:

    Fiction: The Bear and the Nightingale, The War that Saved my Life, This is How it Always is, Glass Houses, and The Chilbury Ladies Choir
    Non-fiction: I didn’t read much nonfiction this year, but I really liked Killers of the Flower Moon and American Fire.

  50. Elizabeth says:

    Some of my favorite series that I found in 2017 were: the Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight mysteries(all were great and there are a ton of them), Maisie Dobbs series, Bess Crawford series(loved!), and the Shetland murder-mystery series(both tv show and books were awesome)

  51. Megan says:

    Fiction: Kitchens of the Great Midwest, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Mothers, Americanah, This Is How It Always Is, Lincoln in the Bardo, The Poisonwood Bible
    Nonfiction: Bad Feminist, You’ll Grow Out of It, Between the World and Me, A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher
    It was so fun getting to see everyone’s favorites!

  52. Hannah says:

    Ah! The best conversation to have at the end of every year! Love getting these recommendations. My faves: 1) A Man Called Ove 2) Secrets of a Charmed Life 3) The Mothers 4) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine 5) Girl in Disguise 6) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet 7) I Let You Go 8) I Found You 9) Beneath a Scarlet Sky 10) Saving My Assassin (This last one is narrative nonfiction but reads like a suspense novel. Couldn’t put it down and was deeply and profoundly moved by it. Bonus: meeting its author was a highlight of my year.) Also, currently reading Little Fires Everywhere and Homegoing, and I’m thinking they may end up making the list.

    • Sheryl Esau says:

      I loved A Man Called Ove (my favorite last year), Eleanor Oliphant and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. You obviously have good taste! So I’m going to check out the others on your list.

  53. Ellen says:

    The Hearts Invisible Furies (it has A Man Called Ove feel that I absolutely loved), and American War.
    Both were books I just couldn’t put down.

  54. Jen says:

    My all-time favorite this year was Beartown. I read it months ago and still talk about it with others! It was filled with layer after layer of life truths all wrapped up in an excellent story line – I must have copied at least a dozen quotes from it in my commonplace journal. It will definitely be a “read again” book. Other great reads include Tell Me Three Things, Hillbilly Elegy, Pillars of the Earth (who knew cathedral construction could be so fascinating!), All The Bright Places (this shattered me), and Turtles All the Way Down (such a great illustration of the painful thought cycle of anxiety). I look back on my books completed list, and it has been a truly satisfying year for reading! Love that!

  55. Sarah Law says:

    I’m listening to “The War that Saved my Life” and I know you are always looking for good listening reads – this is one! Not that you are going to re-read it but if you do, Jane Entwhistle (seriously that is her amazing name) is one of the best narrators of all time. And no, I am not related to her. I am saying she is the best without ever meeting her.

  56. Lisa Zieger says:

    I just started This is How it Always Is and I can’t put it down! The writing is both whimsical and insightful – such a delightful combination!

  57. Barbara Blom says:

    So many to choose from and so many yet unread!!
    Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – audio
    The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – audio
    Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
    Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
    Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
    The Dry by Jane Harper
    The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
    On Living by Kerry Egan
    Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls
    Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson
    The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston

  58. Jennifer N. says:

    I read Interpreter of Maladies for the first time this year, too, and I loved it! My other favorites include: (fiction) The Heart’s Invisible Furies, Exit West, Parable of the Sower, The Nix, The Hate U Give, and (nonfiction) The Radium Girls and American Fire. I’m about halfway through my first re-read of The Handmaid’s Tale, which is one of my favorite books off all time, so I’ll just go with that one, too :-).

  59. Rachael says:

    The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins was such a weird and wonderful book. I reread The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, both which I adored just as much the second time around. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson… I read a lot of great books this year!

  60. Tiersa L. says:

    1. The Great Passage by Shion Mirua (sounds a bit boring but it is anything but and is a must read for anyone who loves words)
    2. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
    3. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
    4. Beartown by Fredrik Bachman
    5. The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright

  61. Kristin Clark says:

    I’ve read all but two of the nonfiction on your 2017 list – clearly you have an impact on my reading habits! I also just had your 2016 list pop up in my Facebook memories because I apparently felt the same way last year. Two additional favorites of mine this year were Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead (even though it wasn’t published in 2017) and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Thanks for all that you do, Anne! You are a light in my book life!

  62. Catherine says:

    This is How It Always Is was far and away my best book of the year! I also loved The Heart’s Invisible Furies and All the Light We Cannot See.

    I love that a number of your picks are backlist. I did not have a great reading year and found that more of my best books were from previous years than were current.

  63. Elizabeth Brink says:

    Most of my favorites this year were fiction! I loved Evensong by Gail Godwin, Middlemarch by George Eliot, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers, The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge, Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher, The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Fenollera, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley, and Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. It was really hard to choose though! I had six runners up for my top-ten list. 🙂

  64. Lauri Manes says:

    I’m getting Little Fires Everywhere in just under the wire for 2017! I knew I saw it mentioned here, it was not on my list, but I received as a Christmas gift. I can’t put it down and may finish before midnight.

  65. Jennifer Shepard says:

    My 2017 fiction favorites include Less (Andrew Sean Greer); The Nix (Nathan Hill); Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (John le Carre); Exit West; High Dive (Jonathan Lee)

    Nonfiction: Lives Other Than Our Own (Emmanuel Carrere), The Hour of Land (Terry Tempest Williams), Fellowship of Ghosts (Paul Watkins)

    Audio: Give the Girl a Knife (Amy Thielen), Norse Mythology (Neil Gaiman)

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