Gems of 2017

I always love going back over my year’s reading, and remembering all the wonderful books I’ve discovered. This year seems to be a particularly rich crop … I had a hard time limiting my favorites to ten, or even twenty!

A few of these never got a review on the blog, but definitely belong in this list. The Julian Kestrel mysteries by Kate Ross (Cut to the Quick, Whom the Gods Love, A Broken Vessel, and The Devil in Music) were a delightful set of four Regency-era mysteries with marvelous characters and a great sense of the period. Sadly, the author died before she could pen any more.

And towards the end of the year I got into reading biographies and autobiographies of three amazingly talented women: My Life in France by Julia Child (with Alex Prud’homme); Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin; and Manderley Forever by Tatiana de Rosnay, a bio-novel about Daphne du Maurier. Their creative drive and determination in the face of obstacles were impressive, and inspiring to me.

What books stood out for you this year?

2017 Releases:
Fiction: The Bear and the Nightingale
Children’s: Bronze and Sunflower
Nonfiction: May Cause Love

Historical: Troy Chimneys, Scaramouche
Fantasy: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
Spirituality: Old and New Mysteries, The Book of Joy
Mystery: The Julian Kestrel mysteries
Romantic comedy: The Lark
Book everyone should read: Dark Money
Suspense: My Cousin Rachel
Fiction in Translation: Season of Migration to the North
Poetry (also in translation): Seasons of the Soul
Literary: The Gilded Chalet
Contemporary Fiction: Americanah
Classics: Excellent Women, East of Eden
Biography and Memoir: My Life in France; Manderley Forever; Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life

24 thoughts on “Gems of 2017

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale was an enjoyable fairy tale. The three standouts of the year for me, in order of increasing importance and delight, are Barry’s Days Without End, Palmer’s Version Control, and Harkaway’s Gnomon.


  2. East of Eden will be on my list this year too. I enjoyed it much more than I’d expected to! I’m also pleased to see The Bear and the Nightingale on your list – I’m looking forward to reading the sequel soon.


  3. Hm, I persuaded myself out of reading The Bear and the Nightingale, but you are doing a good job of persuading me into it – especially as those of the books on your list I have read I really enjoyed. (And I should read Dark Money…) Glad you had a good reading year!


    1. I do think everyone should read Dark Money, though it’s hard to stomach.

      Bear and Nightingale has its detractors, and I myself did not find it a perfect book…but it was good enough to make this list. It did not have many other 2017 titles to contend with, however! I’m really bad at reading new releases.


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