2017 was a bit of an up-and-down year for me as a reader. Some months I would race through a selection of books, but in others I would struggle to finish one single novel.
I guess everyone goes through these phases, but I sometimes I feel guilt as a blogger – especially when I get sent books from publishers (or worse – request a book). However, I have discovered that the book community as a whole is very supportive of one another, with an emphasis on ‘doing you’ and not giving in to feelings of pressure.
This year, I may not have hit all my reading goals, but what I have read has been extremely good. I’ve read a large selection of high-quality books, and these are my 10 top reads (in no particular order):
1. Human Acts by Han Kang
This beautiful and haunting book was the first book I read this year, and I often still think about it. Truly harrowing, it is based on a true event that is largely unpublished and forgotten about in Western media – the Gwangju Uprising of 1980.
2. A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
A Boy Made of Blocks is a heartwarming book about a young boy with autism, and his struggling Dad. Although a work of fiction, the author draws from real-world experiences, featuring the popular computer game Minecraft – which has been proven to be an effective tool for dealing with autism. If you’re feeling down, this book will inspire you and make you feel positive again.
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower had been on my TBR list for a while, and this year I finally got around to reading it. It’s fair to say that I really connected with this book, and it certainly lived up to its reputation. I think reading it in my mid-twenties as opposed to my teenage years was perfect, because I was able to reflect on my own teenage frustrations but have the hindsight to know that those emotions don’t last forever.
4. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
The second installment in The Themis Files series, I absolutely loved Waking Gods. The style is so unique and interesting and it makes reading a genuine pleasure. With intrigue, action and characters that are easy to root for, this debut series is the perfect option for readers new to the science-fiction genre.
5. Gather The Daughters by Jennie Melamed
Damn, this book is DARK. But also brilliant. Set on a cut-off island hidden away from the rest of the world with its own rules, it’s a harrowing insight into how adults can manipulate and take advantage of the innocence of children.
6. The Child by Fiona Barton
This was easily the best crime book I read this year. It kept me guessing and had an EXCELLENT plot. The child is unputdownable, and will keep you guessing right until the very end.
7. Jayne Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I picked up this copy of Jane Eyre at a friend’s book-themed wedding, and finally read this classic for the very first time! I now finally understand why this book and stood the test of time. It’s feminist themes are as relevant today as they were all those years ago.
8. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
I’ve wanted to read this book for ages, and finally found the time this year. I knew it was dark but I didn’t realise JUST how dark; I loved it though. It was refreshingly honest to hear a perspective that is usually shunned and not talked about – a mother who regrets having children. This is one for those seeking something different.
9. The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
Easily one of the most anticipated books of the year, and it didn’t disappoint. I LOVE the His Dark Materials trilogy, and this ‘equel’ really brought me back to Pullman’s world. The world he creates is so vivid and magical and I breathed in every word on each page.
10. Hollow Shores by Gary Budden
I JUST about managed to squeeze this in before the start of 2018, and I’m glad I did! It’s a beautiful debut collection of short stories with such vivid landscapes and believable characters that it really sucked me in. The perfect companion for a rainy day.
Do you agree with my top 10? Based on this list, are there any books you’d recommend I try for 2018? Let me know in the comments below 🙂