I didn’t read a lot of books last year and I haven’t posted on this blog in a while, but the turn-of-the-year revives an interest in reflecting back on what I read, so I’ll share.
In very rough order of most liked to least liked, the fiction I read in 2017:
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave – “There’s wit, and profundity and tragedy all fixed up together.” [review]
The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord – This was the first book of 2017 that I really escaped into, and it was such a relief to fall under its spell. [review]
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – the Baltimore story and the story of the prisoner in the mines were my favorites of this multi-generational epic story.
Pretty Face by Lucy Parker – perfect combination of chemistry and humor.
Mrs. Mike by Nancy and Benedict Freedman – Mrs. Mike has a brisk pace, of the sort that I really like. Sometimes you want a novel that just moves. [review]
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf – Read this short, simply told book in one night. In a world where stories are dominated by young characters, it was refreshing to get immersed in a story about two characters in their 70s.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – I will ever be grateful to this book for getting me through a long layover at JFK. Page-turning, engrossing – exactly what I needed. The miniseries was great too.
Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe – Jaffe captures a scene and an era with storytelling flair.
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner – Turner has a gift for hiding plot twists and revelations in plain sight. Her surprises never feels hokey.
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong – A woman returns home after her father is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The novel is packed with observational details which I enjoyed. There is a funny payoff regarding the cruciferous vegetables that still makes me smile to remember it.
kira-kira by Cynthia Kadohata – the family dynamics and the setting had a great specificity. Also made me cry.
North of Boston by Elizabeth Elo – The main character gets as close to a magical power as you can get, while still staying within the bounds of a “real-world” setting, and that is still just a small part of what’s going on in this mystery. Not for everyone, but I liked it.
These is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine 1881 – 1901 by Nancy E. Turner – old-fashioned Arizona frontier story, a little too long, but considering I also read Mrs. Mike in 2017, clearly it was the type of story I was gravitating toward.
The Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang – A tale of a family road-trip following their financial ruin. Haven’t thought about it much since I finished, but now that I stop and think about it, I remember enjoyable little turns in the story, and my appreciation for where the story ended up.
The Thing About Love by Julie James – The premise of the leading couple having very different perspectives about their shared history was well done. James’ contemporary romance always seem to hit the spot for me.
The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne – it’s a sexy book *shrug*. Also, found this hilarious plot summary on another blog I will share an early part of:
Sexy Spy Friend: This dirty French whore-spy whom I find delightful and already implicitly trust is also totally blind.
Annique: Yup. I’m awesome. Frenchly awesome.
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen – read another book by Dessen years ago, thought it was solid young adult contemporary. I think I liked that other book more than this one, but one thing is constant: all the characters, not just the main character, feel fleshed out, and clearly have their own things going on.
Multiple Choice by Alejandro Zambra – a unique format, as it’s written in the style of a standardized test, but didn’t leave much impression on me
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – started off all right with the explosion and first quest, but I did not like the writing or the main character and I hate-read through the rest, because I was recovering from mono and I didn’t have much else to do.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – So boring.