Happy New Year! 2017 was a brilliant year for me, bookishly – so before I dive into the book world of 2018, which I’m very excited for, I thought I’d recap last year in books. Firstly, looking quickly at the stats Goodreads thinks are important and then highlighting some of my standout reads of last year, aka my top ten books!
Damn, one more book and I’d have hit the magical 200 mark! Although, I have to be honest, my total books read is slightly lower than this (maybe minus 10 books) because this total counts my DNFs as I mark them as read and give a brief paragraph of why I chose to not finish the book – more as a reminder to myself that I tried this book already so I don’t end up buying it in five years time, thinking it sounds amazing.
Next up, the longest and the shortest. I find it quite funny that the longest book I read last year, was one I didn’t really like – A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (review here) was just too depressingly tragic for my liking. I didn’t read many short stories last year but I’m happy with the amount I did read – Agoraphobic: Inside Out by Sara Secora (review here) is a short story I highly recommend, it’s a brief glimpse into what it’s like to live with agoraphobia.
Now seems like the apt time to mention, my favourite short story of last year – The Last Resort by Steph Broadribb (review here), it’s a Lori Anderson short story – a perfect introduction to her debut novel, Deep Down Dead (review here), featuring fearless bounty hunter Lori Anderson.
According to Goodreads, the average length of the books I read was 337 pages, which is fitting for me because I think the average length for a book is between 300-350 pages. Now, onto popularity.
This one was a given – The Color Purple by Alice Walker (review here) was a re-read for me but it’s a classic that should be read by everyone, so I’m happy to see 662,808 other people made this book a part of their life. And sadly, I’m not suprised to see it’s an Indie book that was least popular. This is the End of the Story by Jan Fortune (review here) was not my favourite Indie read of last year but I suppose it’s a reflection of the industry that only 4 other people read this book (or a reflection of my reading choices, but I prefer to blame the industry.)
The Best of 2017
My average rating given in 2017 was 3.7 stars but that figure means so little on it’s own, so we’ll keep it moving – onto what I’m sure you’re all here for, my top books of 2017. I awarded 31 books 5 stars in 2017 (3 of which I weaved into this post already: The Last Resort, Deep Down Dead and The Color Purple) so I won’t mention them again but they’re all worthy!
Easily the best audiobook I listened to last year was Sealskin by Su Bristow, narrated by Angus King based on the Scottish legend of the Selkies (review here)
In first place, Making a Case for Innocence by April Higuera – The true stories of a Criminal Defense Investigator, highlighting the flaws in the criminal justice system and how important the quest for truth is. (review here)
In second place, American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee – The true story of the rise and fall of the Yellowstone Wolves, in particular the famous O-Six. (review here)
In third place, The Last Girl by Nadia Murad – A biography of one woman’s story of captivity and her fight against the Islamic State. (review here)
Okay, so now it gets tricky – there’s 24 books remaining and in true Top Ten style, I want to pick only 10 books. I’m not going to get into the technicalities of how I chose them but if you’re dying to know why I chose one book over another, drop me a comment and I’d be delighted to enlighten you (note: that was not sarcasm).
Top Ten fiction books of 2017
Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse – The number one black/dark humour book I read last year, laugh out loud funny, so entertaining! (review here)
Confessions by Kanae Minato – This is psychological warfare in a book, the best Japanese crime fiction I have read to date! (review here)
Phantom Limb by Lucinda Berry – For its sheer twistedness! (review here)
Seas of Snow by Kerensa Jennings – Lyrical, haunting, emotive, devastatingly beautiful. (review here)
The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne – An outstanding suspense thriller, rich in detail with a wonderful psychological kick to it. (review here)
All The Wicked Girls by Chris Whitaker – A gripping small town mystery, extremely atmospheric, extremely well-written with a dark plot. (review here)
These next two were very real contenders for that top spot:
The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre – So intense, so suspenseful, so atmospheric, so raw and so real. (review here)
Unsub by Meg Gardiner – A police procedual and a psychological thriller in one, a complex case, fast-paced, exciting, and great character utilisation. An exhilarating read. (review here)
In joint first place, my two best books of 2017 were:
The Scandal by Fredrik Backman – It’s capitvating, heartfelt, atmospheric, has the intimacy small-town settings deliver, well-detailed and well-written. It’s perfection on paper! (review here)
Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson – A serial killer thriller that is clever in plot and brilliant in delivery with an exceptional plot twist! I read this book back in March and I’ve been recommending it to any and everyone ever since (review here)
I have to give a special shoutout to Hydra by Matt Wesolowski because it’s amazing and so worthy of a spot in the top ten but as it’s not released until 2018, it’s like a ghost book so I didn’t count it.
And there we have it, a recap of my year in books and a look at the best of 2017. so I’ll sign off with an honourable mention of the remaining five star books I read this year that sadly didn’t make it into my Top Ten.