What an incredible year of reading for me. I feel like I read even more 4-5 star reads than I usually do, and it’s been amazing. I plan to post more stats and whatnot in a later post, but because this is already so late I figured I’d just give my top ten for now. =P One thing I’m really glad I did was focus on female authors–reading them exclusively for a couple months, and adding many to my list of favorite authors. It’s sad I hadn’t read many of these authors sooner, but I’m glad I finally did.
Anyway, without further ado:
Top Ten Prose Books of 2017
- Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman, and: American Gods, Neverwhere, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Sleeper and the Spindle, Cinnamon, The View from the Cheap Seats, and Make Good Art. It feels like no matter how much I read of Gaiman, there’s still so much I haven’t read. Which is awesome–I hope I never run out of Gaiman to read, though I know I will eventually. Each and every book of his that I’ve read has just been incredible. And sure, some of that’s probably because of how much I already like him and the snowball effect of that, but he just always continues to knock each book out of the park. I could write separate blog entries for all of these (and in fact, I have for American Gods, Norse Mythology, and Ocean), but suffice to say I loved every one. American Gods, Neverwhere, Ocean, and Sleeper were all re-reads, but even so I can’t wait to read them again, not to mention the others I’ve only read once.
- The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, as well as The Penelopiad, Alias Grace, and Oryx and Crake. By far my favorite new-to-me author this year. Not only is she just an incredible author, but the messages are always strong and relevant without (in my opinion) ever being too in your face about it–her books never feel like message books, but are simply incredible books with great messages. The Handmaid’s Tale, specifically, is just such an incredibly powerful book, and easily an all-time favorite for me now. I was afraid Atwood would be a bit of a one-hit-wonder, but so far that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Cannot wait to make my way through her entire bibliography.
- Last Night in Montreal, The Singer’s Gun, and The Lola Quartet, by Emily St. John Mandel. I first read Station Eleven in 2014 I believe, and absolutely fell in love. I had been meaning to pick up the rest of Mandel’s bibliography, but they’ve actually been a bit hard to find, and so I never got to them until just a few months ago. But I read through all three in just two days, as they were all incredible and so well-written. While I already was pretty sure she’d be one of my favorite authors with Station Eleven, these solidified it. She infuses her literary language in a variety of genres, each with incredibly memorable characters.
- The New York Trilogy, by Paul Auster. This is the point of the list where ranking becomes more difficult. I think I’m pretty happy with the way it is, but all of these books are pretty amazing. I had read the first novella City of Glass for a Detective Fiction class, and was just blown away by the writing. I love slow, philosophical, interesting books, and this provided all that and more. I had been waiting to read the other two until I could binge all three at once, but that never really happened so I just read the latter two. I wish I would have read all three together, as I definitely missed some things, but all three were amazing on their own.
- Uprooted, by Naomi Novik. The best word to describe this book is “magical.” The story itself, the characters, etc.–they were all very good. But it was the writing that made the book utterly amazing. The book itself bloomed with magical description, a writing style that can be found in the works of Neil Gaiman, in The Night Circus, and The Bear and the Nightingale. And on top of that it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling? Well, that’s just the icing on the already-amazing cake.
- Sir Gawaiin and the Green Knight, by Anonymous. Read this for a class during my last quarter of school and just absolutely loved it. I want more, yet it was also satisfying in itself.
- The Worm and the Bird and The Fox and the Star, by Coralie Bickford-Smith. I love fairy tales, and that makes me biased. Give me a fairy tale and then beautifully illustrate it? Yeah, I’ll probably love it. But I honestly did really enjoy the tale itself, and Bickford-Smith made me empathize with a worm. I really hope she continues these so I can someday have a shelf full of these beautiful fairy tales.
- Americanah & We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’d been hearing a lot of buzz about We Should all be Feminists, and so finally picked it up and loved it and the writing. I knew I needed to read more from Adichie then, and finally read Americanah last summer, which lived up to both the hype of other readers and the own hype I had been building in my mind. Definitely will be reading the rest of her work, and she’s another author I added to my list of favorites last year.
- Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I read this book kinda by accident. I was working in the back of the Barnes & Noble I worked at for a couple weeks, and wanted something to listen to while working. My sister gave my access to her Audible account, and I was kinda having a hard time deciding so I went with this simply because I’d be able to finish it in a single shift, and I had heard good things. Well, I’m so glad I did–it was amazing. Even more so because it was read by the author, and read with such power and emotion, and felt so personal. I definitely highly recommend the audiobook.
- Dracula, by Bram Stoker. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to all the hype any classic work has (and even more so for a book like this because of how it made vampires popular, etc.), but it did, and I’m looking forward to re-reading it someday.
With honorable mention to (in no particular order):
- The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I didn’t include this because it was a reread, and I don’t usually like including those (I only included Gaiman because some weren’t rereads). But it’s my all-time favorite book, so I’m mentioning it here anyway because I have to. =P
- Uncommon Type, by Tom Hanks. To describe this book in one word: comforting. Slice of life stories can easily be boring, but Hanks made them interesting and enjoyable. In fact, I loved this collection so much I bought the audiobook as well, so I can listen to his reading of his stories.
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce. I enjoyed this far, far more than I thought I would, so much so that I immediately bought Ulysses. Who knows when I’ll read it, but I now definitely plan to just because of this book.
- The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. Another amazing female author I wish I would’ve read earlier. Her writing was just perfectly unsettling–the perfect Halloween read–and I’ll definitely be reading more of her work.
- Assassin’s Apprentice, by Robin Hobb. A very strong start to what I hope will be another favorite fantasy series for me. After finishing, I immediately bought the second two books in the trilogy, and I cannot wait to read them.
- The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers. For a novel where not much happens, this was incredible–and particularly had amazing characterization. I’ll definitely be reading book 2 soon, and keeping an eye on anything else Chambers writes.
- The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. This didn’t blow me away the way I expected, but it was still a very moving and well-written book. I think I set too high of expectations for it (not to mention I simply expected a different story), so I do hope to reread it at some point.
- Leviathan Wakes, by James S. Corey. A fantastic start to a series I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of.
- Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson. Very, very good. I’ve been meaning to read Sanderson for a while, but just didn’t know exactly where to start. I’m glad I started here, both because it’s his first and because it’s standalone, and I’m certainly excited to read more in the world of the Cosmos.
- A Wild Sheep Chase, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, and Wind/Pinball, by Haruki Murakami. Another favorite author to add to my list. I’m slowly trying to collect the white/black/red vintage editions of his books.
- Ahsoka, by E.K. Johnston. My favorite Star Wars novel so far, probably mostly because of how much I love the character.
And there we go. I’ll be posting my top 10 graphic novels and films at some point as well (hopefully sooner than later), along with those stats I mentioned and hopefully some monthly wrap-ups I missed out on. Hope everyone had a great year of reading!
One thought on “Top Ten Prose Novels of 2017”
So glad you read some of my favourite books last year, I was about to list them but it was most of these. And a few of them I have to read but for some reason I still haven’t… I should get to that! Great list!!!