Discussion | Choosing Top Books


Hi folks, today I bring you yet another discussion post of sorts, since I seem to be in a chatty mood and (not gonna lie) also because I’ve just came home from an exhausting weekend in London and I’m a little delirious tired. Today I thought I would ponder the idea of picking your top books of the year. As the year draws to a close so many of us readers like to reflect on everything we’ve read and pick out the really stand-out novels we enjoyed in the year. At this time of year, weekly memes such as Top Ten Tuesday and Top Five Wednesday also prompt the book bloggers amongst us to narrow down those top books even further to pick our favourite ten, or five, things we’ve read in the entire year.

I always struggle with this exercise. Mainly because what might have been a top 5-star read in March might have been displaced from its ‘favourite’ spot by other things I read in the remainder of the year. Like the Six Chair Challenge in X Factor except a lot more bookish. Two books can both be 5-star reads purely based on statistics but one could easily make the cut whilst the other one definitely doesn’t. Maybe a book was a favourite in January but it was only when reflecting on the year’s books read that I even remembered I’d read it, thereby indicating it was a ‘time and place’ book that probably didn’t stand the test of time. (I may very well have a few examples of this from this year when I put together my best books of 2017 list.)

Likewise, I might give a book 5 stars for pure enjoyment value, even though I know it’s not exactly a literary or critical masterpiece by any means. I once rated Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss 5 stars, in the very same year that I likewise highly rated Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, and William Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. Some parties would consider some of these titles more worthy of earning 5 stars than others. But what it comes down to with how I rate things is how much I enjoyed them and how much skill was deployed in telling the story. Or, at least, that’s how I try to rate things, sometimes a book just grabs me and I hate myself for it but I can’t help surrendering and giving it lots of stars for how much it made me smile like an idiot. (See: Anna and the French Kiss, again. I’m not proud.)

All of this makes picking a definitive list of best books of the year really difficult. Despite this, though, I really enjoy the actual exercise of looking back over the entirety of my reading year and trying to whittle those many books down to just ten that I think were the best things I read in the entire year, for critical reasons or just for the sheer bloody enjoyment I got out of them. In the end, that is what makes a book ‘the best’ for me, and it will certainly be the tactic I use at the end of December when I have to devise my own best of the year list. Until then…

Thats all folks! Do you make top books of the year lists? Do you find the task easy or hard to pick and choose a limited number? Do you base it more on what books you have glowing reviews to, or the ones that left the biggest impressions even months later? This year has been a good reading year so undoubtedly it will be a tough decision for me – I can’t wait to draw up my list! If you have any opinions on the subject, please do comment below because I’d love to hear your thoughts on choosing top books!

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6 responses to “Discussion | Choosing Top Books”

  1. I do make a list but mine is based on the most memorable… which means that they’re not always 5-star reads. I had a few on the list last year that I think I only gave 3 or 4 stars to at the time of reading but was still thinking about months later – that’s the sign of a good book, I reckon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so interesting to hear your process – I think I’m really beginning to question how I put together my end of year ‘best of’ lists and hearing how people put theirs together is helping me so much to settle on what books did leave an impression after all.


  2. For me, it is all about long-lasting impressions. Nearly all of the 12 books on my list are those that I still think about, even if I read them at the beginning of the year. Good reviews are all fine and dandy but the book has to touch me on a lot of different levels for it to become a top book. I’ve already done my list, which was easier than expected due to a 3-month long reading slump, but I’ll admit I feel conflicted about not including one rather popular YA Contemporary that I loved and rated rather highly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so interesting – I think I’m beginning to come around to that way of thinking about end of year lists! At the end of the day, these ‘best of’ lists are always subjective so just because one book made an impression on someone else doesn’t mean it has to have had the same effect on you. It’s tricky though, and I know this year I’m going to have to justify (if only to myself) not including some books on my ‘best of’ even though I gave them 5-stars at the time I finished them.

      Liked by 1 person

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