Favorite Books of 2017: Fiction
Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies

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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The War That Saved My Life

The War That Saved My Life

$8.99$2.99Audiobook: 7.99 (WhisperSync)
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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Beartown

Beartown

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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Our Souls at Night

Our Souls at Night

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 Must Be the Place

This Must Be the Place

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)
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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This Is How It Always Is

This Is How It Always Is

$13.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)
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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