The best books I read in 2017 (in no particular order):
1: Hunger by Roxane Gay for being brutally honest.
2: Ill Will by Dan Chaon for its perfect atmosphere, utter creepiness, and for digging into the Satanic Panic of the 80’s.
3: The Nix by Nathan Hill for its exploration of mother / son relationships and for being hilarious in a way that emulates the great John Irving.
4: Colorless Tskuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami for speaking candidly about depression.
5: Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis for utilizing dogs to explore the best and worst of humanity.
6: Idaho by Emily Ruskovich for its quiet beauty, poetic prose, and utter heartbreak.
7: White Noise by Don Delillo for taking the words right out of my mouth, more than once. A satire that centers around an obsession with death.
8: Stoner by John Williams – easily the most beautiful book I read last year. The simple story of one man’s life as he leaves his family farm to start life as an academic.
9: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood for ripping me out of my comfort zone.
10: The Break by Katherena Vermette for talking about some of the ugly parts of Canada. And the beautiful parts too.
11: Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin for making me love SJ even more. THE ultimate biography of her life.
12: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – the most unique book I read this year. Abraham Lincoln mourns for his dead son, and the ghosts in the graveyard narrate what they witness. Haunting and sad, but so so beautiful.
I’m not sure how I missed this book in my best of 2017 collage , but Christodora by Tim Murphy is the best book I read this year. It deserves it’s own spot on the page.
From my review: Christodora is a bold story centered around AIDS activism and gentrification in New York in the 80’s and 90’s. There’s so much more to it than that, though. There is love, death, and heartbreak. There is loneliness, addiction, and depression. There is beauty, art, and hope.
Here’s to 2018!