Well, we’ve reached the midpoint of the year which means it’s time to take a cursory look back at how our reading has been going so far. All in all, I’m having a great year of reading – I’m getting in some re-reads, rediscovering my love for some of my previous favourites (see: Sabriel by Garth Nix), catching up with series, and all this whilst enjoying some newer (or new to me at least) books. I can’t complain! So this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is downright perfect, it’s: Best Books You’ve Read in 2017 So Far. (Side note: I like the use of the “so far”, it leaves some room for the remaining months of the year!) And, for those who are unaware Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the book bloggers and list lovers, The Broke and the Bookish, and each week they post a topic for bloggers to respond to.
You may be thinking ‘But Emma, it’s not Tuesday, is it? I could have sworn it was Wednesday today.’ Well, friends, you’d be right – I just completely forgot to upload this post yesterday and it would be a shame if the lovely books missed out on their brief moment in the sun just because of my own ineptitude. So, I hope you’ll forgive the belated nature of this Top Ten Tuesday post – I mean what even are days, really, but constructs? It’s all just timey wimey wibbly wobbly stuff.
But, anyways, in compiling this list I’ve tried not to include any re-reads, simply because otherwise I could never have whittled this list down to only 10 titles. So it’s out of necessity that I’ve not given a proper place on this list to the likes of Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – but consider them firm favourites all the same! I also have a couple of honourable mentions because I’ve read a lot of really good things and I’m incapable of sticking to a ‘just pick 10’ format apparently. Let’s just get on with it…
Honourable Mention: Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier
Rebellious wife feels tied down by London society, runs away to Cornwall, meets a sexy French pirate, hijinks ensue. I mean, need I say more?
Honourable Mention: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman’s playful take on all your favourite Norse deities and shenanigans. It’s utterly hilarious and utterly ridiculous and utterly brilliant for it.
10. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The feminist text that everyone’s talking about… for good reason. As Chimamanda summarises it: “My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.” Short, (maybe not so) sweet, and such an important read. Read it, digest it, remember it.
9. Saga (Volume 3) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Saga‘s real good, guys. A weird and wonderful space opera full of all the things. The art style is bold and brash and so stunningly colourful. Volume 3 was a delight, but really it stands here as a placeholder for any Saga volume.
8. Howards End by E.M. Forster
Forster has pleasantly surprised me this year – I didn’t know a thing about his books before now and I wish I’d read them sooner. Readable and entertaining, Forster’s famous Howards End charts the interactions of three middle-class families in order to highlight social issues of the day. He does plot twists in such an unassuming way that you won’t even know what’s hit you until you double-take a page later.
7. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Are you ok with books that are a bit fucking weird? Then this is the book for you. Gaiman’s take on the mythologies and legends of many different cultures and their respective deities, with the central conceit being that the “Old Gods” have become forgotten thanks to the rise of “New Gods” like Media and Technology. It’s a bit barmy but it’s bloody good.
6. The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill
It’s a story about an orphaned boy and a girl, Pierrot and Rose, friends who create their own little world and imaginative games that no one else really quite understands. Then it follows their stories as they grow up separately in the underbelly of Depression Era Montreal and finally reunite, still holding onto their dream of creating a magical theatrical extravaganza. It sounds whimsical but it’s also gritty and (at times) gross, but somehow that makes it all the more wonderful. I devoured it and you should too.
5. The Song Rising (The Bone Season #3) by Samantha Shannon
Third part of Samantha Shannon’s paranormal/dystopian-y Bone Season series. We see dreamwalker Paige Mahoney and her gang of (not so) merry clairvoyant misfits continue their underground rebellion against their Scion overlords and in this one they actually venture outside of London to cities such as Manchester, Edinburgh, and (amusingly) Stoke.
4. A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4) by George R.R. Martin
Pretty much everything in Westeros has gone to shit by this point. My faves, the Lannisters, are still conniving and desperately trying to hold onto any shred of power, through political manipulation and machinations. it’s insidious, it’s sneaky, it’s super political and I loved it for that.
3. Wishing for Birds by Elisabeth Hewer
Beautiful poetry – lyrical, relatable, and at times heart-breaking. Such a wonderful collection that is sure to tug on your heartstrings. I’m terrible at reviewing poetry so here’s a line I enjoyed instead: “God should have made girls lethal / when he made monsters of men.”
2. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
Haig has a way of making the simple absolutely beautiful and devastating. Here he explores the concept of an individual who doesn’t age at the same rate as others, meaning he has lived several lives and lifetimes and met many an interesting person along the way. At the heart of it, a take on what it means to be alive, and what gives a life purpose, especially if you know yours will be much longer than the average.
1. A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab
The concluding part of Schwab’s extremely entertaining and feels-worthy trilogy about a world-hopping magician, a wannabe pirate, and a shameless prince – all of whom are precious babies and I want to hold them tight forever and so that no (further) harm can come to them. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, your life will never be the same again. Damn you Victoria Schwab, you made me care.
That’s all folks, that is my Top Ten(ish) Best Books I’ve Read in 2017 (So Far). I think it’s safe to say that I’ve had a pretty damn amazing reading year so far and I’m sure there will be many more wonderful books to come in the remainder of 2017.
What are some of your favourite books of 2017 so far? Do you have a Top Ten Tuesday list of your own? Be sure to link it below – I’d love to take a peek at it!