Monday, January 8, 2018

Top Books of 2017

2017 was a pretty good reading year for me. I read 102 books, a decrease from 2016's 129 books for a number of reasons but I think you'll agree it's still a pretty good result! Like last year, I'm splitting my top books into four categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, YA and Graphic Novels. There's always so much that I love and want to share that it's not enough for me to share my favourite fiction and non-fiction so I think this is the fairest way!

Top 5 Fiction Books 2017

Homegoing Yaa Gysai, The Heart's Invisible Furies by john Boyne, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan, After the Fire Maeve Kerrigan 6 by Jane Casey book covers

1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. This was one I read in January and was the first book to get 5 stars. It was beautiful and you can read the full review here.

2. The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. I decided to read this as it was one of the Rick O’Shea Book Club picks and it was another 5 stars. I love how it spans the entirety of Cryril Avery’s life. Review here

3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This was the second last book I read for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge and I didn’t think I would enjoy it before I read it but I LOVED it! And better still, it’s told in the form of letters which just tickled me as I love epistolary books.

4. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan. I’ll be honest, I picked this up on a spur of the moment at the library and thought it would be a bit whimsical like Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore but it’s darker and deeper and the mystery sucked me right in.

5. After the Fire by Jane Casey. Having read the first in the Maeve Kerrigan series in 2016, I read books 2-7 very quickly as I was just addicted to the stories and characters. After the Fire is possibly my favourite. Review here.

Honourable mentions The Break by Marian Keyes, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld and Oh My God What a Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen.

Top 5 Non-Fiction Books 2017

Eat sweat play by Anna Kessel, The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Claire, Girl Up by Laura Bates, Why Fonts Matter by Sarah Hyndland, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly janelle monae taraji p henson octavia spencer book covers

1. Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel. Hands down this was my favourite non-fiction book of the year, all about women and sport. I read it for Book Riot Read Harder Challenge but I’ve recommended it so much since reading it. Review here.

2. The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair. A bit of an odd one, this is a book all about colour. There’s it starts with white and ends with black and all the colours in between. Each chapter is dedicated to a colour and then split into shades of that colour for 1-3 pages, talking about it’s history and social influence. I found it fascinating!

3. Girl Up by Laura Bates. By the author of Everyday Sexism, this is a book on feminism aimed more at a younger audience. I found it informative and decent place to start when it comes to feminism. Plus there’s tons of fun doodles in there too, including some vulva dancing with top hats, heels and canes!

4. Why Fonts Matter by Sarah Hyndman. A book on fonts, another niche topic, but I loved the visual element to this book and all the little games throughout it, like using different fonts for a bar and having people judge the type of establishment this is, despite the name being the same for each bar.

5. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. Disappointingly, I never got to see this at the cinema and in this case I would have preferred to watch the film and then read the book. Nevertheless, it’s all about black female mathematicians (called computers) in NASA and its precursor NACA.

Top 5 YA Books 2017

Am I Normal Yet? holly bourne book 1 spinsters club The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, Moonrise by Sarah Crossan, Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden book covers

1. The Spinster Club series by Holly Bourne. Am I Normal Yet? is book one in Bourne’s Spinster Club series. Each of the three friends have their own book and it’s a refreshing and realistic spin on female friendships in YA, with a nice feminist twist. Reviews here

2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. One of the most talked about YA books this year, all about Starr who has two versions of herself: the one at home in rough neighbourhood Garden Heights and the one at her mainly white school and how everything changes after she’s the only witness to her friend being wrongly shot by cops. Highly topical at the moment, it’s just fantastic and I highly recommend.

3. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus. Take the characters from the breakfast club, put them all in detention and then have one of them mysteriously die and you have this book. All the characters are murder suspects and each of them have something to hide. Had me hooked!

4. Moonrise by Sarah Crossan. Joe is 17 and his brother Ed is on death row. When Ed’s execution date is set, Joe heads to Texas to the town the prison is in to meet his brother for the first time in 10 years. Sarah Crossan is just a master when it comes to using such few words and getting maximum impact. Just beautiful and touching.

5. The Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden. Having won this book in a bundle from Penguin, I wrote it off based on the cover. But then I met Dave at the Irish Book Awards when it won an award and I was intrigued by the description  of the book. And it was bloody brilliant! A fun fantasy novel packed with action, it’s great for older kids up to adults. Review here.

Top 5 Graphic Novels 2017

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, Giant Days by John Allison, Ms Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, An Age of License by Lucy Knisley book covers

1.  The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series by Ryan North and Erica Henderson. Hands down my favourite series I read this year, Squirrel Girl eats nuts and kicks butts!

2. Giant Days created by John Allison. I picked this up in a library in Dublin when I had time to kill and had read all 4 books available by next day. Story centres around 3 young women who quickly become friends in university and all the trials that come with that. I can’t wait to read some more

3. Ms Marvel by G. Willow Wilson. I enjoyed continuing this series this year, Ms Marvel is a great character!

4. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Similarly, this is another series I’ve enjoyed continuing this year and will keep picking up.

5. An Age of License by Lucy Knisley. I’ve heard a lot about Lucy Knisley before but this was the first time I got to pick up any of her books. The drawing style is cute and I’ll definitely check out more of her stuff in the future.

If you’ve read any of these books or have your own favourites for 2017 I’d love to hear about them in the comments below

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