Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
williamjm

Favourite books read in 2017

Recommended Posts

This seems like an unfair memory test.  And I find myself agreeing with several mentions above, but then realize I read them before 2017. 

Too Like The Lightning and Seven Surrenders stand out for their inventiveness.  

Senlin Ascends had a great whimsical style and story, although Arm Of The Sphinx dulled the magic for me. 

A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms was the most pleasurable read.  I wish there was more.

The Stone Sky was a good conclusion to a great trilogy. 

Winter’s Bone captured the raw setting like a character— reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy. 

Those are the stand-outs in my memory.  Honorable mentions too for Golden Hill, the Traitor Son Cycle, the Jack Reacher series and a strong, varied mix of non-fiction.  There were plenty of others that were good but not worthy of special mention, and a few that were abandoned, but overall a very good selection this past year. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Iskaral Pust said:

This seems like an unfair memory test.  And I find myself agreeing with several mentions above, but then realize I read them before 2017.

It's not a memory test if you keep a record of what you've read and when though, quite the reverse.

And I wasn't going to say anything negative in this thread but since people keep mentioning it - Senlin Ascends ended up being one of the books I least enjoyed in 2017. It was a great premise and it started out so well, but it went on for waaaaaaay too long to the point where I almost stopped reading it because it dragged so badly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorites this year were the Rain Wilds quartet and the 7 2nd Apocalypse books.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 01/01/2018 at 7:23 PM, Isis said:

Excuse me, where is this list? 

I left the list at home on my laptop...

so top 5 of everything I read last year was

1.       Vision  vol 1-2 - Tom King

2.       Dead Man's steel - Luke Scull

3.       Homo Deus - a history of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah hatari

4.       A brief history of seven killings -Marlon James

5.       To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

I think the lesson here was that I need to read more literature-bait books as I only read 3-4 and two of them hit the top 5. Both books were just a joy to read. Seven killings reads like that HBO/Netflix show you haven't yet watched and I was taken aback by how Harper Lee was able to tell such an adult tale via a child.

I guess I'm also still a sucker for comics as the Vision blew me away, which I never thought I'd say as the character never really appealed to me but there's something so incredibly human about that comic. Dead Man's Steel was easily the best heroic fantasy book I've read in a while - a shit load happens and while it's grim-dark in tone it remained a fun read throughout.

Homo Deus isn't quite as good as Sapiens but the chapters that work - particularly towards the end are mindblowing. The AI stuff is terrifying/inevitable and exciting all at once and the notion we may willingly give our free-will over to AI is told in a compelling way - especially when they argument is made we're already doing so.

Other books I enjoyed were "the night and the music" short story collection by LAwrence Block and Raymond Chandler's "the big sleep" - reminding me to keep checking out the noir scene.

There were a lot of great comics I read via graphic novel format. "east of West", "Southern Bastards" and "the clean room" are all excellent. Walking Dead and Spider-man - not so much.

Deathless by Katherine M Valente is an odd one. I can't say I loved it but something about that book has really stuck with me and it managed that rare thing of improving from the mid-way point to a very satisying finale. I'll definitely try some of her other work.

Disappointments were "Red Sister" by Mark Lawrence, "The Fireman" by Joe Hill (was never fully convinced something apocalyptic had happened and was too local), "Mirror Empire" by Kameron Hurley (I suspect I'd have thought this was awesome a decade ago) and "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley. I appreciate how influential that book was but the melodrama and emo of Frankenstein and the monster was really grating after a while. Most likely a product of its era and I guess i appreciated how it still wasn't as familiar a story as I thought given the various adaptations in film and play I've seen/read.

I'm going to try and read a few more new books this year but it's always hard to do so when there's all the other years where good books have come out and are still waiting to be read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/5/2018 at 10:19 PM, red snow said:

 

Other books I enjoyed were "the night and the music" short story collection by LAwrence Block and Raymond Chandler's "the big sleep" - reminding me to keep checking out the noir scene.

 

I don't think I've read anything by Lawrence Block and I love short stories so I'll add that to my list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, Isis said:

I don't think I've read anything by Lawrence Block and I love short stories so I'll add that to my list.

It worked really well for me despite never reading any full length work by him/featuring the character. It oddly has it's own mega-arc in the sense that we get snapshots of the character's life and how he changes over 20+ years. There's some really good whodunnit? plots and viewing the world through the prism of the lead is pretty cool/bleak. Plus there's a great afterword by Lawrence Block on the evolution of the character, how it was a slow burn series and how he reached a point where he either had to change the character or stop writing him. It's interesting how evolving the character restored his love of writing the character.

Did you ever see Liam Neeson's "walk among the tombstones"? Imagine getting to see inside the character's head and that's the short stories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I haven't seen it, but do you think I should before I read the book?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here’s my best ten from last year, probably - 

1. HEX - Thomas Olde Heuvelt - What happens when your town is haunted in the social media age.  Very creepy and with some interesting ideas.  Partly spoiled by the over the top ending, specially added for the English language edition for some reason.

2. Chalk - Paul Cornell - Horific act by a bully and the victim’s supernatural revenge.  Deeper and more disturbing than your average Paul Cornell book.

4. In the Woods - Tana French - a literary detective story with an unreliable narrator and some of the most tense dialogue I’ve ever read in a murder mystery.  Finished it in bed and lay awake for several hours thinking about how unfair everything was.  It bothered me so much that i’m not sure i’ll ever read any other book in the series, despite thinking it was excellent.  Falls down a bit on the police procedural stuff though.

5. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair - Joel Dicker - Another translation but set, like HEX, in east coast USA.  About the relationship between a writer and his mentor and the book which defined them both but might, it turns out, be based on a real murder, oh no!  Full of well concealed plot twists.

6. Orphan X - Gregg Hurwitz - If you like thrillers at all, this is about the best that I’ve read in a long time.  Government assassin goes rogue, helps ordinary people while avoiding gangsters and government hitmen.  It’s better than that makes it sound.

7. All the World’s a Stage - Boris Akunin - It’s my favourite series, so it was always going to go on the list even though this is probably the weakest so far.  Kind of a historical adventure novel, mixed with pastiche of Russian literary classics.

8. The Last Days of Jack Sparks - Jason Arnopp - A bombastic, rock and roll features writer sets out to disprove the existence of the supernatural and his predictably haunted. An epistolary novel and some good tricks are managed with that.

9. The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham - I’ve read Agatha Christie, so I thought I’d try another of the “four queens” of crime.  Bit of a mix of your standard English house party murder, PG Wodehouse and a modern James Patterson style thriller.  Surprisingly funny and quite entertaining.

10. Storyteller - Life of Roald Dahl - Donald Sturrock - Probably the best non fiction I read.  The guy had an interesting life, wrote a lot of letters and stuff you can quote from and was pleasingly irascible with everything in his life.  Although its an official biography, the author is pretty hard on him at points.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I

On 02/01/2018 at 8:30 AM, Isis said:

And I wasn't going to say anything negative in this thread but since people keep mentioning it - Senlin Ascends ended up being one of the books I least enjoyed in 2017. It was a great premise and it started out so well, but it went on for waaaaaaay too long to the point where I almost stopped reading it because it dragged so badly.

I haven’t formally thrown in the towel, but I’m fairly certain this will be a did not finish for me.

 

Favourites.

Assassins Fate by Robin Hobb. Lovely ending to The Fitz cycle. Actually, as I read all 3 last year, they, as a whole, are probably my favorite reading experience of the year. 

Rereads of A civil campaign and Komarr, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Older Miles is the best.

Eleanor Oliphant is absolutely fine, by Gail  Honeyman. Well developed character study. I was not expecting what I got.

The stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear. Welcome return to the Eternal Sky. 

 

The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin. Solid conclusion to the trilogy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×