At the start of 2017 I was just trying to scramble through the reading for my degree. At the end of it, I had read 60 books. Granted, I started recording the textbooks I HAD read cover to cover in my goodreads (and even then, only the interesting ones) and then I started Reading. In about seven months (According to my goodreads) I have read sixty books. I haven’t included the reviews for the last two books – partly because one of them was an annual read so I’ll just do it later, and the other one was fair to middling and I wasn’t sure how to review. Also, they would have messed up the timings for blog posts.
So, rather than go through every single book (If you want to do that, I started writing reviews for all the books I had read as a sort of…consolidation for reading) I have decided to list my top six reads this year. I’ve cheated at least twice, by putting who series as one entry, but you can’t really separate them out, can you?!
Howards End by E.M.Forster.
For a book I started reading simply because Hayley Atwell was in the BBC adaptation and the adaptation was good, the book really truly surprised me. I enjoyed the modern turn of phrase, and the very human responses to things. The characters are not heroes, they are women navigating the world in a forthright manner and the people that intersect their lives. Sometimes (and I’m thinking the arm-aching length of little Dorrit here) the adaptation is easier, is better than the book, but this was absolutely not the case. It’s not long, and the characters are vibrant and a little irritating, just like in real life.
A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
This book couldn’t not make it onto my top hits for 2017. It’s sensible sci-fi, exploring how communities develop in the isolation of space, how different cultures adapt to be in proximity with each other. It’s about a mining vessel, travelling across deep space to set up a wormhole into what was once an active warzone. The Captain hires himself a clerk for the trip, in a girl desperate to get off her own planet and away from her fathers shame. One of her shipmates is reptilian, another is pretty much professor Snape, one is a Doctor Chef, and there are a pair of engineers who love the ship more than anything else. Quite literally for one of them. It’s family, adventure, disagreements, interacting across cultures, and space. The AI is called Lovelace. She is awesome. Highly recommend.
Emma by Jane Austen
Up until a few months ago, Emma was the only Austen I hadn’t read (apart from Lady Susan). I think it was because I was always to young to understand Emma – she used to frustrate the living daylights out of me. Now, she is a self-absorbed young woman in a world where she misreads social cues a lot and is delighted with everything around her. I found myself really enjoying this classic, and think it deserves a high place on my countdown. It can so clearly be read as subverting the patriarchy within the patriarchy and just Jane AUSTEN.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Trying to decide between two and three was really hard. I recommend The Power by Naomi Aldeman to pretty much everyone. It won the Bailey’s prize for women’s fiction this year, and it’s a dystopian universe where, one day, girls woke up with the Power. It examines gender relationships, reimagining a world where women are dominant and how this world came to be. It is incredibly powerful and gripping and disturbing in that off dystopia way.
Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
Six criminals, one impossible heist. Somehow, this duology seems to have it all – witty and morally dubious characters, family, a grand adventure that may or may not include illegality ect. It’s set in the “Grishaverse”, a world created by Leigh Bardugo in her earlier trilogy, however I much preferred the duology. It’s quite thick, but it’s worth every page. It was an incredibly absorbing, fun book to read, even with the careless assassinating and money-grabbing gang fights.
Darker Shade of Magic (Trilogy) by V.E.Schwab
There was never a doubt as to what would be top of my list. A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy has become one of my favourite book series, with the first book on my favourites list. Its technically YA, but higher end, there is less of a focus on romance, and more on that necessary surviving-in-the-face-of-danger stuff. The world is amazing, the characters incredible, the plot (quite frankly) awesome and some kickass magic, fighting and knives. It’s vivid, it’s electric, I highly, highly recommend.
So there it is – my top books of 2017. I can’t quite believe it’s now 2018, but I’ve set this years target at 52.
Here’s to reading books that transport you to realms beyond our limitations, and to exciting times ahead.