The best books I read in 2017
I’ve always been an avid reader.
I distinctly remember staying home “sick” one day in grade 2 because I wanted to finish the book I was reading. I ended up reading 3 books that day. Worth it.
With podcasts, Netflix, Spotify, and endless reading lists taking up so many hours as students, it can be hard to find time for recreational reading. However, I did read a few really good books this year that you might enjoy as well. Everyone’s taste is different, so I can’t promise that you’ll love every one of these, but it might be worth picking up one or two over the break as a holiday read.
Most of the WWII fiction I’ve read has taken place in either Canada, the UK, or in Germany, so this novel’s setting of sea-side Italy was a welcome change. This story is about a humble fisherman who finds himself in the middle of a dangerous hunt when a young Jewish woman, fleeing the Nazis, takes refuge on his boat. Martin Cruz Smith’s writing is understated and doesn’t reveal too much about the characters or their intentions too early. This was easily the best-written book I read this year.
Fantasy is not my forte, but this book was recommended to me by 3 people in the span of a month, so I figured there was a good chance I would enjoy it. Don’t let its size intimidate you - this book and its sequel are well worth the combined 1,900 pages. The book’s protagonist, Kvothe, is a prodigal orphan whose adventures span across the series' fictional globe and deal with magic, love, wit, and lots of mystery and lore.
If you like contemporary works of fiction that primarily focus on character development rather than plot, then I would highly recommend this read. It is pretty simple in story and plot, with a small mystery that occupies a good amount of the book, but what it does really well is examine how people in relationships are affected by tragedy - whether they be friends or spouses. I stayed up until 1:00 am finishing this one a few months ago if that’s any indication on how good it was.
The hard part about talking about thrillers is that you can’t give anything away, so there’s not much I can really reveal about this one… I’ll say this: if you like thrillers or stories set in small towns, then you’ll like this book. It includes a lot of adults thinking and talking about what they did and why they did things in the past, in a good way.
Another contemporary read, I really enjoyed this one as it is very British and very cozy. This book recounts the plights of a family stuck together in quarantine over the holidays after their adult daughter returns from treating a deadly illness abroad. It had some really heartfelt moments, absorbing writing, and is generally the perfect book for a cold December day full of hot drinks and warm blankets.
You have about a week and a half before classes starts up in January, so take this opportunity to pick up an old favourite novel, or maybe even one of these listed here, and cozy up by the fire - either a real one, or this virtual yule log that’s almost as good as the real thing. That’s where I will be!