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Book Review :: Best of 2017

2 January 2018 No Comment

I realize this post is two days late, but since I’m still seeing some residual “Best of 2017” on TV, I decided I’d go ahead with it. Plus, since I’ve already reviewed all my favorite books from this year, it will be quite the easy post to write. Mind you, these are the best books I read in 2017 – not the best books I read published in 2017.

Best Book of 2017Rules of Civility

Read my post for more comprehensive thoughts, but I picked this one over the other two runner-ups because of the appeal I think it has (will have) with a broader audience. And, I can’t say enough about the quality of Amor Towels’ writing. I’m looking forward to re-reading this one in early 2018.

First Runner-upA Little Life

Its length and its utter despair in outlook kept this one from topping my list. This book redefines what a dark read is, and that’s saying something coming from me. Again, there’s much more in my full review, but if you’re up for it, this one is well worth the effort. However, if you suffer from seasonal disorder, you’ll want to wait until April or May to try it.

Second Runner-upA Gentleman in Moscow

When I read this book in April, I fully expected it to be the best book of the year. It is exceptional in setting, history, characterization and writing quality. Nailing two or three of those four can earn a book top marks in my opinion, and so I was sure that one that excelled in so many fronts would be tough to be beat. It was a close race.

Best Re-Read of 2017Fates and Furies

I’m not a huge re-reader (though that’s taking a slight turn in my habits) but this is one that I wanted to read again as soon as I finished it. If you liked it the first time, I highly suggest reading it again. There is so much there. Lauren Groff is just brilliant.

Also read in 2017 – Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante

I’ve thought about doing a review of these, but I doubt I’ll get around to it, so here’s a few thoughts. In short, I really liked these books. I was encouraged to read them by my reader-mom, and having her to discuss them with contributed significantly to my enjoyment. I read them in pretty quick succession, and can’t imagine reading them separately. I’ve listened to a few podcasters who have talked about reading one a year, and for me, the complexity of the character list alone would make stringing them out too difficult.

I was drawn in from the beginning by the friendship between Elena and Lila. Farrante is spot on in her depiction of female friendship – particularly those that grow from elementary through adulthood. But that’s just the beginning – all of the relationships in her quartet ring true.

If you’re plot hungry with novels, these probably aren’t for you. But if a strong string of relationship – friendships, family, lovers – can carry you through a journey, these are worth the time and effort. Like life, some parts are more interesting than others; when you’re done, there’s plenty of intrigue left to fill a great conversation (or two).

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I read a total of 60 books in 2017 which isn’t a spectacular number for me. However, because of my new podcasting habit, the list is far lighter on audiobooks than normal. The full list – as well as all previous years since I’ve been keeping track – is linked from the top menu.

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