The Best of the Bunch: Bookish’s Favorite Books from 2017

The Best of the Bunch: Bookish’s Favorite Books from 2017

No matter how your 2017 went, we can all agree that this year was an excellent one for new books. Whether you prefer epic romances, hard-hitting nonfiction, or pulse-pounding thrillers, there was something for every reader to love. At Bookish, we had a blast reading this year’s offerings, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite books from 2017.

A Conjuring of Light

There is nothing more satisfying than a series finale that exceeds all expectations, and that is exactly what happened in A Conjuring of Light, the final Shades of Magic book. There were moments of tenderness and humor, moments that ripped my heart from of my chest, and moments that carefully set me to rights again. It was everything I wanted from a book and from a series. When I turned the final page, I felt magic at my fingertips. I felt ready for an adventure. The cherry on top of this perfect reading experience was a two-part interview I conducted with V.E. Schwab to further dive into this captivating world. —Kelly

Admissions

Admissions by Henry Marsh is unquestionably one of the best books I read in 2017. I find brain surgery endlessly fascinating, and Marsh does an incredible job of making the reader feel as though she is right in the operating room with him. In this book, Marsh writes a lot about his retirement, his thoughts about end-of-life care, and the ins and outs of the NHS. As a reader, I’m always happy when I am riveted but also being educated. Marsh definitely accomplishes both. —Elizabeth

The Bear and the Nightingale

There are so many reasons why this is my favorite book from 2017—but the main one is that it’s unforgettable. As someone who thirsted for tales of magic and wonder as a child, this book does that and more for my adult self. Katherine Arden is a beautiful writer, which is on full display with her lush story and fierce characters—you nearly forget you’re actively reading since the story almost compulsively unfolds before your eyes. This book (the first in the Winternight trilogy) is now one of the top books that I recommend to friends, family, and beyond! —Tarah

Hunger

My best book of 2017 is also my favorite book this year and that is Hunger by Roxane Gay. Though I’d been waiting for this book since Gay announced it was going to be published, I had also been waiting for it for all of my life. There’s not one woman I know well who does not struggle with her feelings about her body from time to time, and yet we feel so alone in these struggles. It can seem as though no one else understands what it is like to feel like your body is not allowed its space, or that it takes up too much, or that you wish you were invisible. In this book, Gay writes so eloquently and emotionally about her “unruly body” that it is hard to get through a page without feeling something strong—the urge to cry, to scream, to rage, to comfort. This book, like its author, has a beautiful heart at its core and I am grateful for it. —Myf

The Day of the Duchess

Sarah MacLean’s The Day of the Duchess affected me in a profound way. I’d limit myself to a chapter a night because I didn’t want the story to end. This is an utterly gorgeous tale of a woman seeking freedom and a man seeking redemption. It is at turns humorous, romantic, heartbreaking, and deeply affecting. The Day of the Duchess sits in my heart not only as a favorite of 2017 but as one of my all-time favorite books. —Kelly

The Idiot

I totally fell into The Idiot by Elif Batuman earlier this year. It’s no secret that I have a special place in my heart for campus novels, and this one (mostly set at Harvard in the mid 1990s) delivered. This book was whip-smart, engrossing, and I was sad when I turned the final page. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the protagonist, Selin. My only consolation is being able to visit her anytime by picking up The Idiot again. —Elizabeth

What We Lose

A debut of astonishing clarity, beauty and innovation, What We Lose is an extraordinary book, one that bears repeat reading. It is haunting in the best possible way. —Stuart

The Chicago Cubs: Story of a Curse

I’m pretty sure this is the first time a sports book took the crown for my favorite volume of any given year. The Chicago Cubs: Story of a Curse is so good it quickly overrode my visceral antipathy to a Cubs chronicle, a bias rooted in my own fandom as a Milwaukeean who cheers for the Cubs’ divisional rival the Brewers and who, like all in my city, was trained when young to Bronx-cheer anything Chicago-themed. This book is pure bliss—one I couldn’t wait to get back to during my nightly reading hour. Rich Cohen has so much craft at his fingertips that he was able, with great humor, flawless storytelling, high baseball I.Q., and regular displays of insight into humanity, sports, Chicago, and American history, to bundle baseball lore, his own life, and the arc of a long-suffering team into a scintillating narrative. Cubs is full of indelible portraits, carries as much momentum as a freight train during Chicago’s supplier-to-the-world heyday, and somehow—as if Cohen’s a sorcerer trained in a Wrigley Field version of Hogwarts—nearly converted a Brewers fan into a Cubs one. (I said nearly.) I just ordered Cohen’s previous book, The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones, and can’t wait to dive in. —Phil

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

This fall I utterly lost myself in the world of Julie C. Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. It’s a gripping tale about beauty, power, and the origin of a villain. Determined to seize the destiny she’s been promised, Xifeng travels down a dark and disturbing path that slowly strips away her humanity and transforms her into an empress to be reckoned with. It’s the first in a new series, and I was thrilled when Dao confirmed that some of my favorite aspects would be further explored in book two. —Kelly

The Lying Game

I was eager for Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game to come out this year and it did not disappoint. As the eerie and atmospheric story cleverly unfolds, the suspense builds. This intriguing thriller is so much more than a whodunit. Ware reveals the characters’ stories and has the reader wondering why “it” happened. Excellent read. —Alicia

Reservoir 13

A community pulls together, pulls apart, grows older without necessarily growing wiser in the aftermath of the disappearance of a girl in Jon McGregor’s exceptional, brilliantly realized novel. The prose, the characters, and the ideas are so singular, so well-expressed that on finishing the reader is left bereft. A future classic. —Stuart

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