Top 10 Books of 2017 (well, Top Nine)

Here are my recommended readings for 2017. I read a lot of really great books, but as always happens I was on the wrong side of all the best books recently coming out so I am now scrambling to suddenly read more than 50 of "the best books published in 2017". As such, I only have nine recommended books that were actually published in 2017! Didn't quite make it to 10. But hey, I think we all have book lists longer than our arms, so you can thank me later for not adding too much to your growing pile. 

I hope you enjoy Paige's Top Nine Books to Read from 2017

1.       My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent. Don't pick this one up unless you're intent on not thinking about or doing anything other than it, this book, this story. Even then, after you've put it down, after you're finished and you want to bury it in the ground and cover it in dirt you'll try and get it out of your head, you might even try shooting it right in the face and yet it will won’t leave you. Trigger warning; this book will hurt. It will be worth it. 

2.       Lincoln in the Bardo--George Saunders. George Saunders gives voice to the dead. 52 different voices, actually, or some other staggering number like that. Each of them distinct and heartbreaking and heart-mending. Five stars way way up for this Man Booker-prize winning novel. Part history, part fantasy, and all love.

3.       The Lonely Hearts Hotel, Heather O'Neill. This was a riveting book: I couldn’t put it down. Two orphans orphaned under unusual circumstances find and lose each other and themselves in a whirling world full of naughty nuns, circuses of sad clowns, and all the similes.

4.       Priestdaddy, Patricia Lockwood. The memoir of a daughter of a Catholic priest. Her father literally became an ordained priest AFTER being married for years and having a daughter. Also, he’s oddly obsessed with pork rinds. It was a fantastic and very curious read. Poetic and true and it deeply resonated with me and my Catholic upbringing.

5.       Norse Mythology--Neil Gaiman. Amazing. This book sold out its first printing faster than Thor's hammer could call down lighting from the sky. And this book also tells you HOW Thor got ahold of such a hammer that could call down lightning from the sky! I was very interested in Gaiman's matter-of-fact interpretations of the origin stories for the Norse gods and goddesses; he sounded like an anthropologist relaying his thesis, tracing the lineage and origin stories for these names and figures that are at once recognizable and yet still so unknown. The book focuses on Thor, Odin, and Loki mostly, but it draws in all the gods and goddesses at some point, from their births to their deaths at Ragnarok. And he still managed to end it in true Gaiman fashion--teasing, not telling, not giving anything away about what might come next. 

6.       Spoonbenders, by Darryl Gregory. This is the story of psychics, the mob, the Cold War, teens discovering themselves, and dysfunctional families. The family dynamic here was genuine, messed-up, and so loving. Original concepts and brilliant execution. Buddy’s storyline was my favorite.

7.       Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire. What happens to the children that fall down the holes, or crawl into the wardrobes, or peek between the leaves and find a door, a door that leads them off to distant lands so unlike those they came from? What happens when those children, lost for years or eternities or jus the blink of an eye come back to the homes they left to suddenly? This book, the second in the Wayward Children series gives what Alice faced after returning from Wonderland, how Peter and Susan and Edmund and Lucy felt after returning from Narnia. And the biggest question of them all lurks throughout these pages—can you ever really come home again?

8.       A Court of Wings and Ruins—Sarah Maas. This is the third book in the series: the first is A Court of Thorns and Roses, a retelling of the classic story of Beauty and the Beast, which stands to this day as one of my favorite fairy tales. Only, this retelling actually HAS fairies. Sarah Maas captivates with her spunky heroines, the twists and turns of adventure and love and heartbreak, and her leave-you-wanting-more flair.

9.       No One Can Pronounce My Name--Rakesh Satyal. Rakesh’s first book, Blue Boy, won the 2000 LAMBDA Literary award, and that alone was enough to put a spotlight on this author for me. Following the lives of Indian Americans living in Ohio, this book speaks to self-identity and finding a niche somewhere you feel you don’t quite belong.