My Year in Reading; The Best of The Best

What makes a book one of the best of the year? How it stays with me. How it makes me think. The extent to which I can relate to what the author is saying as truth; the extent to which the characters live and breathe.

I have read books for the Man Booker International Prize, The Man Booker Prize, German Lit Month, Spanish Lit Month, Women in Translation Month and my own Japanese Literature Challenge 11. Therefore, some of these books might be obscure to you. But, all of them are worthy.

Here are the ten books of 2017 which stood out most prominently in my mind, which will stick with me far past this year and into the next:


1. A Quiet Place by Seicho Matsumoto (“A master crime writer…Seicho Matsumoto’s thrillers dissect Japanese society.” -The New York Times Book Review; special thanks to Dorian at Eiger, Monch & Jungfrau who sent it to me last year.)

2. Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marias 

3. The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen (shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017)

4. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro (by the British author who won the Nobel Prize in Literature this year, this is a mesmerizing, unforgettable book)

5. Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017, won the Goldsmiths Prize 2017, named Irish Book of the Year 2016)

6. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry 

7. Autumn by Ali Smith (shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017)

8. Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn 

9. My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (a Times book of the year, a Guardian book of the year)

10. Fish Have No Feet by Jon Kalman Steffansson (longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017)

A list of all the books I’ve read this year, and the challenges in which I’ve participated, will be forthcoming.

The link to each book above takes you to Bookwitty, a source which delivers books with free shipping worldwide. 

28 thoughts on “My Year in Reading; The Best of The Best”

  1. Looks like some good reads & not one that I’ve read although am aware of a few of the writers. I got a Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s The World Goes On as one of my Christmas presents which I aim to read soon


    1. I am not aware of this author; I’ll have to see if our library has a copy (fat chance!) and more probably order a sample from my kindle. One of the disappointments of this year is that I did not get to Traveler of The Century as I intended. Hopefully I can do that in 2018.


  2. Bellezza,
    I have not read any of these! Having read Never Let Me Go, I’m definitely interested in reading The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro. Thanks for this wonderful list–I’ll be back from time to time when I want book suggestions.


    1. And I have not read Never Let Me Go! The Unconsoled does not leave one with a clear, or exact story. Rather, it conveys a mood and sentiments which i felt could almost be my own. It is very powerful. I love that a Japanese author won the Nobel! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Haruki Murakami won, too?


    1. Another thank you for sending it to me. It was my first read for 2017, and while the draft of my post was lost, the quality of this book is not. I still remember it (quite fondly) a year later.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think considering covers amazing is superficial! It can be such an important part of drawing us to a book, and therefore within it. I can’t quite explain how much The Unconsoled effected me; I want to reread it again sometime, it’s that good. And, I hear Winter is much beloved, following Ali Smith’s Autumn. I haven’t read it yet, but Autumn is certainly worth picking up. Thank you for visiting me, Simon. I always appreciate your viewpoint.


  3. I made a list of your favorite books and plan to read each one. I have Ali Smith’s Autumn not read. I have been reading Russian novels, Anton Chekhov short stories, I just like them a lot.
    Happy New Year my dear friend♡


    1. Oh, how I love Russian novels! And winter seems the perfect season to indulge. I haven’t read much Chekhov since college, though, so thanks for reminding me of his short stories. Happy New Year, dear Sylvie, and thanks for all the love you’ve sent my way all these years. xo


  4. Oh my! I’ve not read any of your choices although have several on the shelves. I would like to read all of them.


    1. I remember us discussing St. Aubyn’s Melrose novels many years ago, and ever since I read him, I’ve read everything he’s written. What an author! Dunbar is not my favorite of his, but it is still very good. And Autumn is quite lovely. Glad to increase what interest you may have in them, JoAnn. Happy New Year!


    1. You’re the first one I know of who’s read The Unconsoled; isn’t it great?! There are lots of good authors to try here. Hopefully you’ll find another here you will like.


  5. As I start to review the books I read in 2017 (yes, I’m that far behind!), I look at some that I gave 4/5 star ratings and wonder why I thought they were such wonderful books when I can hardly remember a single detail about the plot or characters. Yes, the true favorites are those that will stay with me forever and that is why I know that A Gentleman in Moscow is my #1 read of the year. Once again, thank you so much for sending me the book (in hardcover, no less!). It is one I will cherish and read over and over again, revisiting the Count and Sofia. Remember their evening game? I want to play it with my husband and mother! Now to see about some of your other recommendations. Do you know I have Mary Coin on my list of books to read in 2018? I hope to finally give it a read.


    1. It’s very hard to cull one’s favorites; it’s hard for me to remember why I loved something, and it’s hard to define why! For example, My Absolute Darling was mesmerizing, but not joyful or charming by any stretch of the imagination. I think you hit on an important aspect of a specatuclar book: it has to have memorable characters you engage with. At least, that’s true for me.

      I can’t tell you how happy I am that you have, and loved, A Gentleman in Moscow. Sometimes, what one reader loves is not what another reader loves, but in this case we are on the same page. (Wink, wink.)

      You are special to me, Lesley, and I so love reading with you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s