8 Favourite Reads of 2017 (so far)

Best reads of 2017We’re approaching the mid point of the year so what better opportunity to review the last six months and pick my favourite reads to date. Top Ten Tuesday this week in fact is all about the best 10 books of 2017. Of the 30 books I’ve read so far there were eight that stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel: I never thought to find myself choosing a sci-fi novel as a favourite read. But this was outstanding. My review noted: The combination of beautiful style of writing  and a compelling narrative made this a book I found hard to put down.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy: Not only is this one of my favourites of 2017, it’s high up on my list of favourite Booker Prize winners because of its glorious characters and dazzling language. My review is here 

Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney: Bold and brash, this is a novel that pulls no punches in its depiction of the underbelly of Cork in Ireland. But as much as the drug dealers, prostitutes and thugs will have you rolling your eyes in despair, there will be times you can’t help but feel a wave of sympathy for their predicament. As I noted in my review, this is a novel which poses serious questions about salvation and guilt.

My Ántonia by Willa Cather: It took me long enough to get around to reading what is considered one of Cather’s finest novels. It celebrates the pioneering spirit but not in a rose-tinted glasses way; there is plenty of sorrow mixed in with the nostalgia. My review is here

Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey: “a marvellously idiosyncratic tale of two misfits” is how I described this Booker Prize winner in my review. It has some wonderfully surreal scenes including one where a gangly young priest is hoisted aboard a steam ship in a cage normally used for transporting animals.

His Bloody Project by Graeme Burnett McCrae: a cleverly constructed novel that purports to be a true account of a young Scottish lad accused of three murders. It’s presented in the style of a case study into the murders in late 1860s and the subsequent trial so readers get witness statements, a newspaper account and an investigation by a criminologist. My review is here.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang: This has to be the most bizarre and disturbing novel I’ve read this year. It begins with a decision by a Korean housewife to stop eating meat and traces her mental and physical decline. My review summed up my reaction: This is not a novel you can say you ‘enjoy’ or ‘like’ but it’s certainly one that you will not forget.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki: this is quite an extraordinary novel which covers a dazzling array of topics and themes. Zen Buddhism; environmental degredation; bullying; suicide; memory – to name just a few. The result should be a complete mess but it’s a surprisingly mesmerizing story of a Japanese teenager writing a diary to express her feelings of dislocation – that diary is found many years later washed up on a beach in British Colombia. I haven’t got around to reviewing it yet in full.






About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on June 30, 2017, in 2017 goals, Top Ten Tuesday and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. I am glad you loved The God of small things. It is one of my favourites too. Glorious Herseies was a favourite of mine last year. Both the books really make the place where they are set come alive

  2. Nice to see My Antonia on this list. I may re-read that one!

  3. Quite a few of my previous favourite books here (as in previous years favs, not previous favs!)

    I was quite conflicted about A Tale for the Time Being at the time, but parts of it have stuck with all this time.

  4. Great to see My Antonia on your list – I really enjoyed it too, especially the sections where Antonia herself takes centre stage. Cather wrote so beautifully about the landscape and nature, that combination of beauty and brutality was very striking.

  5. I’ve read all but two of your choices and agree that they’re all outstanding albeit in different ways. I do intend to read His Bloody Project at some point, but more than anything, your review has made me regret returning Station Eleven to the library unread. I shall have to remedy that on my next visit!

  6. Great list. Delighted to see My Antonia there, The God of Small Things is a wonderful novel though so long since I read it. I enjoyed The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundahti Roy this month too.

  7. This is a great list! I loved The Glorious Heresies, Station Eleven, and The Vegetarian 🙂

  8. Have just finished Glorious.. it’s love. I thought this book was just brilliant – my second 5-star read of the year (the first being Commonwealth by Patchett).

  9. Interesting choices! I could probably pick some now, but I bet they’d change by the end of the year!

    • Some of the list will undoubtedly change. Anything I read from here on is going to have to work hard to beat Station Eleven and A Tale for the Time Being however

  10. All of these are superb (well, I haven’t read Oscar and Lucinda yet, but I assume it is too), and I’m especially pleased to see A Tale for the Time Being – such an intelligent book, full of surprises.

    • Did you read/understand all the info in the appendices Elle – I tried to grasp the point about the experiment with the cat but didn’t get very far

      • I read all the appendices, and knew about the Schrodinger’s cat experiment from before (but am not sure I would say I fully grasp it – quantum physics being one of those things that I don’t think anyone actually can!)

  11. Looks like you’ve had a great reading year so far! Station Eleven and A Tale For the Time Being are both phenomenal reads that have really stayed with me since I finished them.

    • Both of them were surprisingly good. A Tale for the Time Being I started reading last year but wasn’t in the right mood. I’m so glad now that I didn’t give it away

  12. Wonderful choices in here, although I haven’t read all of them… yet…

  13. With you, absolutely, on Oscar and Lucinda – so good I’ve read it three times!

  14. I’ve read 7 of your 8 (all but Glorious Heresies). Some terrific picks here!

  15. I’ve seen The Vegetarian everywhere and I’ve not really looked into it that much, but you having it on this list has got me a little more interested. I saw it in a charity shop near my work for £1 which I may go pick up in my lunch break today! 😀

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