I’ve read some really good books this year. And some mediocre ones. But now is the time to sing the praises of the very best finds of 2017. It’s interesting to see the trends in what I have enjoyed the most.
In reverse order, here are my top five books of those I have read this year.
5. HERmione by Hilda Doolittle
This is a strange, repeating, myth-referencing auto-fiction from 1927 about a young woman called Hermione who is emotionally fragile. She has returned home after failing her university exams and keenly feels the disappointment to her family. She is wooed both by a young man she has known a long time and a woman she has just met, and neither of them does her psychological state any favours.
4. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
I’m reluctant to judge books too quickly, and I finished this book in the last week, but I really did love it. It’s the diary of Nao, a Japanese schoolgirl dealing with bullying, a suicidal father and a Buddhist great grandmother. It’s also the story of an author, Ruth, who finds Nao’s diary washed up on the beach near her house in Canada. The resulting structure is weird but it works.
3. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
I loved this book. It’s the love story of two women – young, inexperienced Therese and older, mid-divorce Carol – in 1950s New York. It’s also a thriller, with a detective chasing the couple to gather evidence against Carol in her divorce proceedings. It is beautifully written, moving and incredibly readable.
2. Alias Vol 2: Come Home by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos
Jessica Jones is a badass, super-powered PI with a dark history and some bad habits that help her deal with said history. In this volume, she searches for a missing teenage girl and uncovers all the dark secrets of a small town. It’s a really excellent self-contained story (one that I personally think would make a really good basis for a series of the TV show).
1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
This book overwhelmed me. It is disturbing and upsetting but I fell in love with the characters and ached to get back to their world. It follows four college friends making their lives in New York – intelligent, talented men who must face life’s trials. And what trials they are. I cannot express how good this book is, but it gets really tough, so I can’t recommend it to everyone. If you don’t mind difficult subjects, then absolutely read this. It is amazing.
None of these books were published this year, but they were my honest favourites. And it’s not that I didn’t read any new books. 18 of the 77 books I have read were published this year, but none of them were as good as these five. Maybe I’m choosing the wrong new books, or maybe it’s just chance.
What were your top reads of this year?