2017 is swiftly coming to a close, and with it brought us a plethora of awesome books to dig in to. With the upcoming holiday season being the perfect time to check the last few books off your list, we’ve put together our picks for some of the most engaging, thought inducing and straight up fun reads for 2017 to see the year out. This by no means an extensive list, but we hope we can give you a little #inspo for your next holiday…
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Incredibly relevant in the current cultural climate, The Hate U Give has dominated the New York Times Bestseller list this year. A story about a girl who witnesses the shooting of her unarmed friend at the hands of a police officer, The Hate U Give is a poignant and unapologetic look into the racial bias of the United States justice system, and at its heart, a story about a scared young girl dealing with the fallout of a horrific act of police brutality. It’s a powerful read, and has lingered with me long after I put it down.
Genre: Literary Fiction
One of the most anticipated releases of 2017, George Saunders knocked it out of the park with this one. If you don’t want to take our word for it, Lincoln in the Bardo won the Man Booker prize this year!
On the surface, it’s a story about a father grieving his dead son – the whole novel takes place over the course of one night in a graveyard near the White House, the Lincoln in the title of course referencing America’s President Lincoln – but there’s so much more to discover with this novel. I think the less said about this book, the better – go into it with an open mind and you will come out on the other end with plenty to think about (and possibly an understanding of what the bardo actually is!).
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Celeste Ng has this uncanny ability to explore racial and cultural identities and the family dynamics they create in beautiful words, and I am here for it! Little Fires Everywhere has many of the strengths of Ng’s last book, Everything I Never Told You, and even more character growth for you to witness. You may not like or agree with every character or the choices in this novel, but you’ll definitely understand their motivations – Ng makes sure of this.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Humour
The hilarious third book of the Crazy Rich Asians series, Rich People Problems will have you laughing, cursing and rolling your eyes even more than the previous instalments.
Particularly hysterical if you’ve lived in Hong Kong for a while and recognise some of the behaviors and antics in this book, this is a lighthearted read to get you through the holiday slump. I may or may not have spent many weeks trying to figure out which real life personalities Kwan based these characters on…
Genre: Non Fiction – Autobiography
Filled with #truths, this read will have you chuckling out loud! It was recommended to me by my colleague, who knew I would love this collection of essays by blogger and comedian Samantha Irby. As a dedicated member of Bachelor nation, my favourite segment to read was definitely the detailed Bachelorette application in one of the first chapters of the book. Irby balances the comedy in her writing with deep emotional revelations, and once you start it, you’re not going to want to put this relatable read down.
Set in the same universe as the very popular His Dark Materials trilogy, La Belle Sauvage makes my list because of the sheer nostalgia its release brought on (as well as Pullman’s excellent writing, of course). Lyra, Pan and the rest of the colourful cast of The Golden Compass have been with me for many years, and diving back into their world was like cuddling up in a warm blanket, hot chocolate in hand. As engaging as ever, Pullman weaves a world you can’t help but get fully absorbed in, and this was another one I had great difficulty putting down. It may take a few chapters to get into, but it’s definitely worth the wait.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Another culturally relevant pick, Exit West tells the story of two young lovers and their intertwined lives, while their country stands on the brink of civil war. This is beautifully written and it’s easy to get lost in Hamid’s writing. I found myself totally invested in Nadia and Saeed’s future, and the question of their identity in the wake of an uncertain future. It’s quietly touching, and as sappy as it may sound, it broke my heart a little bit when I really didn’t expect it to. Not the beach read for your vacation, but a necessary read nonetheless.
Genre: Historical Fiction
I’m a sucker for a good historical family saga (A Suitable Boy, anyone?), so Pachinko was right up my alley. Telling the story of four generations of a Korean family in Japan, this is a sprawling novel with a colourful cast of characters. It’s lengthy, but rich in history and detail, and I realised just how little I knew of this world. If you’re looking to expand your worldview while also reading an exceptionally written novel, Pachinko is for you. At nearly 500 pages, it’s hefty, so maybe consider carrying this with you in e-book format!
Genre: Psychological Thriller
It’s difficult to follow a mega successful book like The Girl on the Train, but Hawkins does a pretty solid job of following up with Into The Water. It doesn’t quite have the same disorienting, frantic energy of the narration of The Girl on the Train, but the mystery sets its hooks quite quickly and you’ll soon be pulled in, trying to make all the pieces fit together.
I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I recommend just giving it a shot – it’s a quick but fun read and I cant say that I saw the ending coming. A warning though; if you’re not into a large cast of characters, I would give this one a skip – there are a lot of voices to keep track of!
Neil Gaiman is a legend for a reason, you guys. It’s well known that Gaiman has long taken inspiration from ancient mythology to craft the worlds of his fiction (Neverwhere is one of my absolute favourites!), and now we finally have his rendition of the great Norse myths and the gods that came from them. He’s added such a fun, engaging layer of personality and life to these figures we know so well that the read is pleasantly surprising, since we’re already so exposed to the source material. Lovers of fantasy, you have got to snap this one up!
Did I miss out your fave book of 2017? We’re always open to recommendations, so contact us and let us know which book you loved most this year!