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:
When 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.
Smoke 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?).
A 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.
The 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.
Passing 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.
Like 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.
For 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.
Extreme 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.
The 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.
Asymmetry 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?