My Favorite Books of 2017

Yea for best of lists!  I’ve had putting fun putting this together, as looking through 2017 through the lens of my reading is better than nearly any other lens out there. (And we thought 2016 was bad!)  Here’s hoping that 2018 turns things around, or at least provides as many quality reading experiences as this year.

The list is pretty representative of my intake as a whole – evenly split among non-fiction, romance, and other fiction; plenty of authors from marginalized groups; and the overwhelming majority are written by women.  It’s nice when it works out like that!

So without any further ado here’s my ten favorite books of 2017, in reverse alphabetical order by title and linked to reviews where possible:

29242461When the Marquess Falls by Lorraine Heath

The perfect novella topper to the Hellions of Havisham series.  It doesn’t work as a standalone, though, so be sure to start with Falling into Bed with a Duke.

25189315Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

A look at what it means to have a good death, written by someone who has been closer to that abyss than most.  Doughty speaks honestly about things we’d never admit to being curious about (why don’t we see dead bodies at the hospital?), things many of us never think about (what happens when a homeless person dies?), and things we should really think about (what do I want to become of my remains?).

30347690A Simple Story: The Last Malambo by Leila Guerriero, translated by Frances Riddle

The malambo is my favorite dance that I never knew about. Guerriero takes us to a competition in Argentina where winning means never dancing the malambo again.  The writing is exquisite and the story sticks with you like no other.

30755704The Red by Tiffany Reisz

Reisz is at her best in erotica mode and it’s all left to hang out here – kink, mind-bending twists, and fine art (for good measure).  Not for the faint of heart but everyone else? Jump in.

31843383Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

The book I’ve pushed on recommended to more people than any other this year – the best bits of historical fiction, queer stories, and magical realism rolled into a tight novella.  I rationed it out to myself so I wouldn’t finish too quickly; the writing is that wonderful.

28186071Like One of the Family: Conversations from a Domestic’s Life by Alice Childress

These vignettes are a joy, and I love the look at what it’s like to be a black domestic worker in 1950’s New York. While the way of life is different there are other parts that are eerily familiar, making it a forever timely read.

25376011For Real by Alexis Hall

A BDSM, LGBTQIA+ romance that flips all.the.tropes in a satisfying, hefty way.  Each hero’s point of view is specific and completely different from the other, making the story believable and authentic even though it’s far from the usual.  Totally deserving of its RITA.

32311672Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life by Jessica Nutik Zitter

My favorite Nonfiction November read.  Zitter says that doctors are awful at helping patients having a good death because as far as they’re concerned dying on their watch is a failure.  She examines what the “end-of-life conveyor belt” and how to avoid it with engaging stories and cases.  Not an easy read but an essential one.

25489134The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

This book reminded me that adult (as oppossed to YA) fantasy is straight up awesome.  A fairy tale of sorts set in a Russian winter, Arden gives the reader all the respect they deserve while telling engrossing tale with magic and demons and a tiny hint of love.  The second in the series just came out and I can’t wait to get to it.

35297339Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

Don’t feel bad if you don’t recognize this one – it hasn’t come out yet but I had to include it.  Halliday weaves two completely unrelated stories together in a mind-blowing way that only gets better the more you think and reflect on it.  A longer (and even more gushy!) review on its release day in February.

There we have it, my favorite books of 2017!  What was your top read of the year?  Is there anything I should keep my eye out for in 2018?

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7 thoughts on “My Favorite Books of 2017

  1. I’ve heard such good things about Caitlyn Doughty’s books – I really need to try them out! I’m also interested in The Bear and The Nightingale … I don’t tend to love fairytale retellings but I’ve heard really good things that it doesn’t hurt to get it from the library and try it out. Have fun with 2018!

    1. It may help that The Bear and the Nightingale isn’t a straight retelling, and it’s based on Russian folk tales that may not be as familiar. Even so, starting with a library copy is the way to go!

  2. Great list!

    Also, you seem to be the best person to ask: I am considering doing bookriot‘s read harder challenge. And the category that stumps me is „A romance novel by or about a person of colour“. Can you recommend me anything? (Preferably I would like to read something both by and about a person of colour) thank you!

    1. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you, Hannah! I think I’ve finally hunted down a perfect list full of authors I love (Jenkins! Rai! Weatherspoon, oh my!). The books run the gamut from historical to contemporary with different levels of sexiness and almost all can be classified as “own voices”, that is, diverse characters written by authors from that same diverse group. If you’re looking for a wide and deep pool to draw from the site WOC in Romance (run by Weatherspoon) keeps up with and categorizes each week’s releases. I hope that helps you get started – I’m looking forward to seeing what you read!

    1. Stats are so satisfying, aren’t they? Sometimes I dive in so deep that I forget that the whole point is to read so I can have more stats next year! 😉

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