Marie’s Favorites of 2017

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!

–Marie

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Marie’s Reading: “All Grown Up” by Jami Attenberg

all grown upIn a series of connected vignettes, All Grown Up shares Andrea’s ongoing struggles with getting her life together and overcoming her childhood. It’s funny (often darkly so) and observant.  It’s sharp, too, and there’s a strain of melancholy and dissatisfaction that runs through it.  While everyone else seems to be moving forward with traditional life milestones, Andrea is 39 and the same person in the same place as she’s always been.

And is that really a problem?

I suppose you could call Andrea unlikeable, given how she can drive you a bit nuts with her selfishness and lack of motivation, but I liked her.  Andrea is funny and has rough edges. She comes across as a real human being with issues and flaws, but also with insight and desires and a sense of humor.  I like that she does what she wants, even if she regrets it or the situation turns out badly.  I can also identify with her sensualist tendencies (there are some great passages about food and the eating thereof in this book).

How does one measure success at being a “grown-up”?  How do you know when you are one?   Do those traditional milestones (marriage, home ownership, car ownership, boat ownership) really matter at all?  Maybe you know you’re a grown-up when you reach the point where you can be there for others even when it’s hard, create connections that matter to you, and when you can hold a sick baby’s hand.

I’m excited to read more of Attenberg’s work.  She’s witty and insightful and creates emotional  and truthful moments that pack a punch for how unexpectedly they creep up on you.

–Marie