Friday 2 February 2018

2017 also had some good books

So how many other book bloggers do you know that publish the best books of 2017 in February 2018? February! Yes, I know that I've been in a bit of a blogging slump recently, and found very little time to do this. If it makes you feel any better, it's so much worse for me - just imagine having gone without your favourite treat for a long time, and you'll get how profoundly grumpy, tired and sad I am.

But enough about me, let's get to those books. Because I know you guys. You've been waiting for these so that you can buy for book club, and that's on Monday (or it's happened already, and you're mad - sorry). Ok, let's get to it.

First, the rules: All these books were read in 2017. And I get to choose my favourites. That's about it. On this page there's a short description of why they're my favourites, but if you click the covers of the books you'll link through to my detailed reviews. At the end of this post is a link to the full page of books I read in 2017. All 100 of them. 

Usually in this post I do a little recap with some Goodreads statistics - how many, shortest, longest, most popular, number of pages, but I missed my "Year in Books" - it's disappeared off their site already, so that's one good thing (for you) about me only doing this in February. (Don't sigh so loudly, I can hear you.)

I may even do a little categorisation, to make things more interesting.

The best book of 2017, hands down, and in fact the best book I ever have read in my lifetime was Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

I'm sure that's got a few of you frowning and scratching things (hopefully your heads), but it's true. Never before have I read a book that resonated with so many places in me that I didn't know were there, and that sprung to life afterwards, and then that resonance echoed through the year. Honestly, every time I remember the story and my reading experience, I get chills and thrills and I start thinking about all the issues again. This one wins BOOK OF ALL TIME.

In the  category of QUIRKY AND DELIGHTFUL, Eleanor and Ove are jointly tied. Ove was cantankerous and grumpy and made me laugh, And Eleanor was sad and real and made me cry. Both were masterpieces in warmhearted goodness, and the joy of living in community with other people - even when you think you don't really need them.

In the category of HISTORICAL FICTION, Fred Khumalo's Dancing the Death Drill was amazing. I love it when an author really gets the fiction part of HF right. And by that I mean, it's not just a good story, it's well told - plotted and planned and relished and crafted. This was that. I loved it.

In the category of  UNCLASSIFIED (BECAUSE I DONT WANT TO BOX IT), The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce wins, just because these are my awards and I loved this book. It was a sensory experience and engaging journey. I loved seeing how the quirky characters - Frank, the owner who can pick a song to save your soul,  crazy Kit and tattoo clad Maud, try to save this vestige of former grandeur (a shop that only sold vinyl) from fading into oblivion in a world of online and digital accuracy. 

In the category of FAVOURITE AUTHORS WHO GET BETTER AND BETTER, it's Emma Donoghue who wins this year (remember Room?). Lib Wright, a nurse, visits a small Irish village to observe The Wonder - an eleven year old girl who is alive by either immaculate deception or miraculous intervention. Emma Donoghue created a tense, suspicious atmosphere that kept me guessing until the very end. 

The Nix by  Nathan Hill is a fable within a story. And it wins THE BIGGEST BOOK OF THE YEAR. The story is of Samuel Andresen-Anderson, a college professor, blocked writer and online gamer player and his mother - who appears ordinary, but is anything but. I was spellbound through this adventure, as it ploughed topics like the protest marches in 1968, feminism, bullying and fake news in a unique style that was both witty and wise. 

But Bev, I hear you say, there is no CRIME THRILLER category. (If I'd done that Goodreads thing, I could've told you how many). And we know you love those. I know, I've left until last, because I find these so hard  to choose winners from - I loved them all. But if I have to choose my favourite, I think it would have to be Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton. It ticked all my boxes - and I was up all night to finish it.

Those are my favourites. Please don't check my list and say, but what about this one? Because then I may have to come back here and add some more books.

Here's to 2018 being a happy and healthy reading year.


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