It’s that time of year – recap time! Personally, this year was a bit of a disaster. But that is a story for a different day. Instead, I want to focus on some of the amazing books I read this year. First in my recap series are the top 5 fiction books I read in 2017. This was a tough list to compile! Luckily I have a lot to choose from – I am reading my 100th book of the year (which means I SHOULD meet my goal of reading 100 books in 2017!).
Top 5 Fiction Books I Read in 2017
I’ll be honest – choosing only five books was close to impossible. This year was pretty stellar, reading-wise. So, in no particular order (that might put me over the edge!) are my favorite books I read in 2017! (Oh and to be clear, not all of these books were published in 2017).
“Wasn’t friendship its own miracle, the finding of another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely?”
This was the easiest book to choose. A Little Life has pushed itself into my top 5 books of all time. All time! Listening to this audiobook was an experience and I will also be buying the hardcopy of this book so I can mark it up and love it to pieces. I don’t feel like I can give this book justice by describing it, so bear with me. To me, A Little Life told the story of a man who spent his entire life suffering, who fought like hell to shut out the world, but couldn’t keep the bad out all of the time. It is a story about love and pain and abuse and redemption and overcoming and acceptance and heartbreak. Oftentimes, the bad outweighs the good, but when the good happens, it’s overpowering. This book was simply amazing and I cannot wait to return to it to experience it again.
I am a sucker for a novel that spans generations of a family and Pachinko does just that. It’s the story of three generations of a Korean family, living in Korea and later Japan. It’s a story of love and love and betrayal and growing up and learning. I love sweeping family sagas. There is something incredibly enticing about following a family over one hundred or so years, seeing how the family grows and changes, and how each generation deals with the challenges they face. I also personally love reading books that take place in different cultures, and I felt like I learned so much by reading Pachinko.
“You can look up keening in the dictionary, but you don’t know what it means until you hear somebody having their heart ripped out.”
This book is not for everyone. Ooftah (#Minnesota) it was a tough read. It tackles abuse and a sexual relationship between two individuals whose ages caused a lot of criticism from readers. That being said, I thought this book was written beautifully and portrayed a broken family, and particularly, an abused young teenage protagonist, in stunning and heartbreaking detail. I devoured this book. To me, this book meant to show that love can happen in many places and that it’s not always up to outsiders to judge love from the outside.
“Bad habits were all a matter of perspective, and as long as the present was viewed through the lens of the past, anyone would say he was doing a spectacular job.”
This was my first Ann Patchett book and I didn’t know what to expect. Again, a story about a family, but this time, the story is told both in the past and present. Past events help inform present circumstances. Families are such interesting, delicate ecosystems, and Commonwealth tells the story of two families coming together after two divorces and the pain and love and resentment that is accompanied by this forced merger.
“Writing does not exist unless there is someone to read it, and each reader will take something different from a novel, from a chapter, from a line.”
Another book that tells the story through both the past and present. The past is shared through letters written by a wife and mother, who we found out is missing (dead?) at the beginning of the book. What was unique about this book is while the past is written through the mother’s perspective, the present is shared through the perceived experience of one of the daughters. So there are two viewpoints and they are from different times. Being relatively newly married, I think some of the story hit my heart closely and I couldn’t put this book down.