Here we are, nearly at the end of another year of reading, and it’s time to tally up the favorites!
Below please find my list of my favorite books of the past year. These aren’t necessarily books published in 2017, just ones I read this year. If I wrote a blog post for a title, I linked to it. If I didn’t, I linked to the Goodreads page.
It’s been a pretty good year, as far as books go. I found a couple of new favorite authors (Amy Stewart and Karen Maitland) and re-visited some old pals (like Ottessa Moshfegh). I ended up enjoying quite a bit of weird/fantastic fiction, which isn’t usually my thing. Nice to get out of the old comfort zone!
I suppose it’s a little pessimistic to say I’m not going to find another favorite book in the next three weeks, but I don’t think it’ll happen. Unless my current reads really take a turn and deliver something extraordinary, I think I’ll leave it here.
Marie’s Favorite Reads of 2017:
The Hike by Drew Magary
Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
The Owl Killers by Karen Maitland
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions by David Quammen
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller
When the English Fall by David Williams
Slade House by David Mitchell
Enjoy the last few reading weeks of 2017! I hope you found lots of new favorites this year, too!
A crack team of animated teen detectives, The Blyton Summer Detective Club, solved their last case thirteen years ago. Though they caught the culprit (a guy in a costume with an evil scheme), all four of the kids never forgot that terrifying night they spent in a haunted house.
Now young adults, the members of the detective club are not doing so well: Kerri is a bartender with a drinking problem, Andy (deemed too aggressive for the military) has escaped from prison and is on the run, Nate is in an asylum, and Peter has killed himself. Andy is the one who decides the team has to get back together and revisit the scene of their last case, and put the true mystery to rest at all costs. That way, she figures, they’ll all be able to move on with their lives.
And it turns out there’s a lot more than just a guy in a mask waiting for them at the haunted mansion.
It’s inventive, original, and funny, with truly creepy scenes, lots of monsters, a suspenseful climax, tons of action, and a great mystery. It’s like Lovecraft blended with Scooby Doo!
If you like horror that doesn’t skimp on the comedy, give this a read this Halloween!
I used a Creepypasta name generator to come up with this year’s title, as I’m sure countless horror movie screenwriters have done before me. The title I used is the one that made me laugh first. (“Marie’s Favorite Scary Books Part VI: Pull My Finger” was runner-up)
I started my creepy reading nice and early this season, so I’ve got a whole bunch of favorite freaky reads for you this time around. There are some ghost stories, some haunted houses, some cannibals, some crazy VHS tapes, and some cartoon kids solving mysteries. I think this year’s list covers a broad area of different kinds of Horror, so no matter what your taste, you might find something you like here!
Several of these will have posts of their own this month, so stay tuned! This list is also up on the Suggested Reading section of the blog, which you can find here. If you’re the type who must enjoy things in order, you can begin with the very first Marie’s Favorite Scary Books and work your way up.
Marie’s Favorite Scary Books Part VI: Get Freaky
Brother by Ania Ahlborn
It’s obvious fairly early on that this family is a family of cannibals. But the story is tragic and gruesome and sad, with one of the most downer endings I’ve ever read.
Universal Harvester by John Darnielle
Creepy and weird. It’s extremely unsettling, particularly if you’ve got a vivid imagination.
The Man in the Picture: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill
A taut and atmospheric tale of revenge.
This House is Haunted by John Boyne
A deliciously old-fashioned ghost story, with shades of The Turn of the Screw.
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
Atmospheric and disturbing, a great tale of monsters and science in the 19th century.
20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
A delightful mix of weird fiction and horror, with plenty of truly unsettling images and stories.
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
Scooby Doo meets Lovecraft in this comedy of horrors, all about a crack team of kid detectives who have grown up and have one last mystery to solve.
The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
This book is so much fun! A story within a story, with a mystery in each. I was amazed at Horowitz’s ability to click the myriad interlocking pieces into place. He unwinds his tale with wit and humor and numerous nods to classic whodunits, all the while giving the reader real mysteries to unravel. (Now I’ve got to read Moriarity and House of Silk.)
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
A group of teen detectives are all grown up, and are all very damaged. They have to go back to the scene of their last big case to solve the mystery for good. This is so clever, scary, and hilarious–it’s zany and perfect, somehow exactly like reading a cartoon! It’s a mash-up of Scooby Doo and Lovecraft, and it’s just as ridiculous and entertaining as it sounds.
Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres
Has some of the most beautiful chapters I have ever read. The book is about a village on the coast of Turkey in the dying days of the Ottoman empire; the village is idyllic, the Greek Christians and Turkish Muslims live in peace. The potter laments, after the Christians are all driven into exile, that the village is never again as happy or as lively. The epic carnage is heavily foreshadowed in the book; the players on the international stage are slaughtering each each other, and the troubles eventually reaches our sweet village on the coast. The book gives insight into the the history of the whole troubled region. Almost as good a book as de Berniere’s Corelli’s Mandolin.
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
A good read about “big data”! The author has access to Google searches — not the answers, just the text of the searches. And the amount of data is so huge, he can draw pretty precise conclusions. He uses a lot of novel and clever methods to tease information out of the data for insights into everything from economics to ethics and to race, sex, gender, and more.
I’m back from vacation! It was incredibly restful and already feels as if it happened months ago. I even managed to get most of the books I had on my list read!
From the TBR List:
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. I really hadn’t read this! Tom is a totally amoral semi-con-man who is sent to Italy to bring back Dickie Greenleaf, at his father’s request. Eventually, Tom decides he wants to be Dickie, and will do anything he needs to do to meet this goal. The slow build is great, and there’s an undercurrent of unease to up the suspense. A nice reminder to not get into boats with weirdos! Trust your instincts!
Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories by Lauren Groff. I really enjoyed her novel The Monsters of Templeton, so I wanted to try her short stories. Groff’s writing is lyrical and detailed. Just about every story is about troubled love, in one way or another–between married couples, between lovers, between friends. And each one has its own tone and style and feel. I especially liked Lucky Chow Fun (set in Templeton, the setting for her first novel) and The Dictator’s Wife.
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. I skipped to the front end of the TBR list for this one. Clever, scary, and hilarious–check back at Halloween for more!
The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill. This mystery is going to get a post all to itself. Stay tuned!
I think I’ve been thoughtlessly adding titles to my GoodReads to-read list for book club and such, because now I’ve got 755 books on the list. I’ve completely lost track of how I’m doing, but that doesn’t matter! I’m reading titles I’ve been meaning to get to, and that’s what counts.