This post is massively overdue, but I figure better late than never. In no particular order, here are ten of my favorite books I read in 2017:
I loved this one because it feels like a book with a massive heart. It’s set on the Italian Riveria and the setting plays a really big role. It’s about a teenage boy named Etto whose twin and mother die within a few months of each other, leaving Etto and his father to awkwardly dance around each other as they try to figure out a new normal. Etto doesn’t like soccer, the Italian national passion, and that just leaves him feeling more and more alone. It deals with grief, but at the risk of sounding cheesy, it’s really beautiful.
I love this one because of the narrative structure and the sassy characters. It’s about a congressional intern in her early 20s named Aviva who sleeps with her married boss, and the lasting affect that affair has on her life. She leaves her town, changes her name, and starts anew. I liked that it dealt with the roles women play and the roles that are assigned to them. It’s funny and inspiring, and I would absolutely read a sequel if one ever existed.
This reimagining of The Iliad from the perspective of Patroclus, Achilles’ closest companion and by Miller’s account, his one true love. I haven’t actually read The Iliad but I did take many years of Latin in high school, and it was nice to return to Greek mythology. This tugged at my heartstrings and felt like a punch in the gut all at once.
I bought this one after after seeing it all over Instagram, and happily it did not disappoint. If we were going to rank this list, this would probably be at the top. I feel like the less you know about this one going into it the better, but the premise is this: two people, both as different as two people can be, are the sole survivors of a plane crash on a tiny island in the middle of the South Pacific. The last person I lent this book to said it made them cry their eyes out, so make of that what you will.
This is Trevor Noah’s biography, and I loved it so much. I listened to the audiobook of this one, which Noah reads himself, and the voices he does for his family are hilarious. This is a hard story about his hard stories growing up in South Africa as a mixed-race child from a forbidden relationship under apartheid, and it taught me a lot.
I read this right before I moved cross country, and it was perfect timing. Eilis is a young woman who leaves her small town in Ireland to move to New York for a job and the hope of a better life. It’s a classic immigrant story, but it had special resonance with me because she was Irish and because I read about her struggles at such a pivotal time in my life.
I have this thing where I like to buy books who have main characters with the same name as me. Eleanor has zero social skills, thrives on regulation, and hates most of the people in her office. She doesn’t fit in, and she spends her weekends with a bottle of vodka. This book is sad and also laugh out loud funny, and there were times I didn’t know where it was going. It redeems itself, and if you’re up for some hard scenes, it’s a good one.
I think this is another book that benefits from not knowing much about it beforehand. I liked it for its depictions of different types of mothering, life in a picture perfect suburb in Ohio, and rebellious teenagers. We read it for our January 2018 book club meeting, and it was universally loved.
I’ve read more World War II books than I can count, but this was one of my favorites. It tells the story of two sisters living in France, and the different days they deal with and confront the war. It’s genuinely one of my favorite books I’ve ever read, and it has stuck with me.
I didn’t plan for these to go together, but this book also tells the story of two sisters, both of them stuck in a modern-day tragedy of their own. 28 years ago, they were attacked at gunpoint in an incident that left their mom dead, their dad devastated, and the girls dealing with tortured memories for the rest of their lives. The majority of the book takes place in the present day, when they’re forced to deal with another tragedy. There’s a court case that reminds me a bit of Jodi Picoult novels. There are absolutely dark parts in this, and it was hard to read at times. I’d read it with caution, but if you can handle darker themes I’d recommend it.
What was your favorite book you read in recent months?