Top Ten Books I Missed in 2017

Is it just me, or were a lot of good books published in 2017? I felt like I was buying something or adding something new to my list every time I turned around. I bought a lot of current books in 2017, which is unusual for me. I tend to buy more backlist titles, probably because I buy most of my books on sale or used. Six of the books on this list are already on my shelves, and I greatly covet the four that aren’t, especially because my library only has one of them. Sigh. Without further ado (and a day late), here are my top ten books I missed in 2017 but plan to read in 2018:

Pachinko, Min Jin Lee. This made so many “Best of” lists this year, and most importantly it was Roxane Gay’s favorite book of the year. We all trust Roxane, right?
The Child Finder, Rene Denfeld. The second I saw Rene Denfeld had a new book out, I had to buy it. I loved The Enchanted, which was beautiful and heartbreaking.
Bellevue Square, Michael Redhill. I had hoped to buy this 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novel on my trip to Amsterdam after hearing Naomi and Kim say wonderful things about it, but the American Book Center didn’t have it and Waterstone’s was closed the day I finally made it over there (New Year’s Day). My library does have another 2017 Giller contender I really wanted to read, I Am a Truck by Michelle Winters (published in 2016), but not this one. Maybe they’ll have it by 2018?
The Essex SerpentThe Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry. Honestly, I just liked the cover on this one, and everyone was buzzing about it so…trust.
Marlena, Julie Bunting. I love novels about formative female friendships. Last year I had two on my radar, Marlena and Claire Messud’s The Burning Girl. Sadly, The Burning Girl, while spot on about many of the ways girlfriends can drift apart during adolescence, failed to provide the deeper story I longed for. Maybe Marlena will fill the gap.
Elmet, Fiona Mozley. This was one of the Man Booker Prize nominees that interested me the most after I heard Hannah Greendale review it on her YouTube channel, Beginning to Bookends. And again, that cover! I’m shallow. Sue me.Elmet
The Dark Dark, Samantha Hunt. I was absolutely blown away by Mr. Splitfoot in 2016, and then again by her first novel, The Seas, when I read it last year. The second I heard Hunt had a new story collection out in 2017, I ordered it.
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder, by Caroline Fraser. Like millions of American children, I grew up captivated by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books about her childhood and early adulthood in the American Midwest and West. This book sounds absolutely fascinating and takes a close look at Wilder’s relationship with her daughter Rose, who had a great deal of editorial influence on the books. THE LIBRARY DOESN’T HAVE IT. I feel this is un-American.
Texas Blood: Seven Generations Among Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands, by Roger D. Hodge. Because you can take the girl out of Texas…
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, by Michael Finkel. Several people were talking about this one in 2017, but it came to my attention when it popped up as a recommendation for me after I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Last American Man. I’m fascinated by people who brave the wilderness and choose a simpler (in some ways) life. Nope, no copy at the library.

Hopefully I’ll get to most of these in 2018! How about you: did you read any of these in 2017, or do you hope to read them in 2018?

7 thoughts on “Top Ten Books I Missed in 2017

  1. I didn’t read any of these either, but I really want to read Pachinko, The Essex Serpent, and Marlena. Sorry to hear you didn’t like The Burning Girl, but good to know.

  2. Deb, there were things I liked about The Burning Girl, but parts of it were a bit off, especially the narrator’s voice. She was supposed to be 17, but she often sounded like a much older person reflecting on events. I also read it right after I read The Woman Upstairs, which I thought was very strong…The Burning Girl felt less gutsy, maybe.

  3. I’m currently reading The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld… I haven’t quite formed an opinion yet, but I had a positive reading experience with The Enchanted also.

    Hopefully you get round to some of these titles soon. Happy reading!

  4. Bummer about the titles not available at your library. Does your library have a place on its website where you can suggest a purchase? Ours does, and we often do purchase things suggested. Or perhaps they can offer you interlibrary loan, where they borrow something for you from another library system. Worth checking into! Good luck!

    And you may know I LOVED The Stranger in the Woods. I have a copy of the Gilbert book on my shelf at home and just haven’t gotten to it yet. I may have to dig into it sooner!

  5. Laila, yes, you were one of the people I remember saying great things about The Man in the Woods. I really enjoyed The Last American Man, and I want to see how the two compare. Eustace Conway felt pulled to educate but also to be in the woods, so it’s a very different take.

    As far as the library, I honestly haven’t looked to see if they have a spot for purchase suggestions/requests. They do have ILL, but let’s face it: I have plenty to read without going through the trouble!

  6. I thought the Stranger in the Woods was pretty good. It does kind of read like one long article, though, but it’s well written and interesting, still worth a read.

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