Are these the best books I read in 2017? I don’t know, but they are books that I had a strong reaction to. Some of them even came close to getting me off my butt to blog again. They are not all the greatest works of literary fiction, some are not even books I’d recommend too widely, but they are here on the list nonetheless. Let’s get started, shall we?
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson. This was one of the few books I blogged about this year. It’s a brutal and compelling wake-up call about modern teenage life. I couldn’t put it down.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. This book was the first to make me want to start blogging again, if only to say READ IT. Hamid has always been a favourite author of mine, but i think this is his best yet. And like all of his novels, it is very timely and gives a unusual insight into some of society’s social ills.
Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson. A group of young, soon-to-be parents are recruited to live in isolation and raise their children together as part of a social experiment. Intrigued? I was.
Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer. This hefty tome had me laughing in spite of myself and at times offended me. It will not be for everyone, but I immediately recommended it to my brother.
Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler. This book is the reason why I need to write things down. I loved it. Can I remember why? No. Just that you should read it. Like Exit West, it made me want to start blogging again, and I think it was because the writing style blew me away, though the content was also great. Just a really good read.
Class Mom by Laurie Gelman. This novel is my life. I’m the mom in the class who sends out the reminder emails, goes on all the class trips, is part of the Parent Council etc and after 6 years of doing it, it becomes a thankless job. Gelman inspired me in my emails to exchange my polite, informative tone for one that is a little more snarky and a little more me. It’s a funny read that you may relate too but will not suit everybody.
The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet. And speaking of novels that will not suit everyone, I’m hesitant to even include this one on the list. But if investigating the death of Roland Barthes through the philosophic lens of semiotics and the ‘linguistic turn’ (and some liberties with the Truth, whatever that is) is up your alley, by all means, join me on this adventure. Notables such as Foucault, Kristeva, Eco, Chomsky, Lacan and ABBA also make appearances. This is the perfect novel to read while study for PhD comprehensives.
The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittal. Teacher of the Year, citizen of distinction, community minded father. Oh yeah, and he’s accused of sexual misconduct with students. If this novel isn’t timely, i don’t know what is. But what makes the novel more interesting is that it’s more about his family and how they deal with the allegations than him. It was on all the Canadian Best of lists last year and with good reason.
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. Shamsie is one of my favourite writers, so I’m going to read her no matter what. Home Fire is a brilliant, modern retelling of Antigone. Do you stand by and bury your brother involved with Isis because he’s your brother or do you let him be picked apart by the vultures. Age old questions of morality, family, loyalty and conscience.
You’ll notice that I’ve only listed 9 books. Well, there’s almost a month left in 2017 and who knows what I’ll read, but hopefully it will be good. Also, there’s no nonfiction on the list. Perhaps that will be in my next post?
Ooh, Perfect Little World sounds intriguing. I’m off to find a copy. Thanks Tanya 🙂
Home Fire and Exit West are already on my list of 2017 books I need to read. Thanks for the recommendations!
I read Best Kind of People before the Weinstein and others stuff…and hadn’t thought about how timely it is, but you’re so right!
And – have you read any other Butler? I adored Shotgun Lovesongs and Beneath the Bonfire…not so much Hearts of Men.
I’ve only read Shotgun, but liked Hearts of Men so much more. It just really resonnated with me.
You have many on my list that need to be read!
I think with Butler it’s how he captures male friendships that I liked so much in Shotgun Lovesongs and I’m anticipating the same in Hearts of Men. I’ve read so many women authors that write beautifully of female friendships, that Butler is a nice change into the male perspective – he writes so well!
Glad to see you’re back!
I prefer to list the books that I’ve had a strong reaction to rather than the ‘best’ as well. Sometimes books are memorable for odd reasons.
We’re in heated disagreement over Exit West but that’s okay because we’re in complete agreement over Here I Am 😉
Perfect Little World sounds intriguing – I’ll check it out.
In all honesty, I can barely remember Exit West, but what i do remember is that I wanted someone to talk to about it. I think it’s worthy of discussion if nothing more.
I read an ARC of Exit West and finished it thinking that magic realism isn’t really for me! 😬
I chose Home Fire as my favorite of the year!! I just thought it was great. So glad you liked it too.