My Favorite Books of 2017


Are you exhausted by Best Books of the Year lists?

Hundreds of critics’ lists were published after Thanksgiving to promote Christmas shopping.   One wonders what happens to the books published in December.  Laura Lee Smith’s wonderful new novel, The Ice House, would have made a great gift had anyone known about it.

I have waited till the end of the year to avoid the commercial aspects of “Best of'”s.   But never fear:  I am knuckling under by limiting the list to 10.   Last year I  far exceeded that number.

MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2017.  (Click on the titles to read my posts.)

FAVORITE NEW NOVEL.   Jonathan Dee’s The Locals


FAVORITE NOVEL IN TRANSLATION. Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits

FAVORITE REDISCOVERED FEMINIST NOVEL.  Alix Kates Shulman’s Burning Questions

FAVORITE REDISCOVERED CLASSIC. Amber Reeves’s A Lady and Her Husband

FAVORITE NONFICTION BOOK. Yopie Prins’s Ladies’ Greek:  Victorian Translations of Tragedies

FAVORITE COMEDY. Barbara Pym’s No Fond Return of Love

FAVORITE SATIRE. Mary McCarthy’s Birds of America

FAVORITE CLASSIC. Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders


And I’m done!  Do tell me what your favorites of the year is, or leave us a link to your list.

15 thoughts on “My Favorite Books of 2017

  1. Here’s mine. I say they are my favorites of what I read this year, not the best books of any year, but of course since I think well of my taste (says she smiling) I think they are also superb books.

    Light the Dark:

    I also listed favorite movies & plays I saw this year:

    Dream material:

    Neither is meant commercially.

    Though I’ve read other books by some of your cited authors, I’ve read only one of your group: Precious Bane. Prins’s book called Ladies Greek on Victorian translations of tragedies would be very interesting to me. Did you blog on it?


    • I love your approach: an essay is best, but I’m too exhausted to do more than a list.
      Ladies’ Greek is excellent, and if you click on the title it will take you to my post on it.


  2. Hah – the vintage cover of the Shulman makes me laugh. Although recently I’ve found myself petting such creatures in the second-hand shops, as though they have, at last, slipped far enough into the past to have gained some nostalgic value. You’ve mentioned a couple of favourite authors, but I cannot recall whether I’ve read the specific titles you’ve mentioned – clearly it’s time to reread, even if they were, indeed, once included in a reading log in some past reading year. I admire your restraint in listing only ten: I’m not sure I would do so, but I like the tidyness of it – very much!


    • I know! Those covers! Yes, this is the first time in ages I’ve listed only 10, and every day the top 10 would include different books.

      On Thu, Dec 28, 2017 at 12:00 PM, mirabile dictu wrote:



  3. I love your list. Barbara Pym belongs on more “best of” lists. My favorite classic book I read this year was Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett. The best new book I read was Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. And the best Kat recommended book I read was Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim, which you wrote about years ago but I finally got around to last spring. Thank you for your blog!


    • Oh, I had better read Sebastian Barry! You are the second person who has recommended it this year. Yes, what is a list without Barbara Pym? And I do need to read more von Arnim.


  4. My favourite novel read this year was Margaret Millar’s Wives and Lovers (1954), made available again through Syndicate Books’ Complete Millar reissues. The most haunting book was Shadow on the Hearth, Judith Merril’s 1950 debut. The book I’m most happy at having read was Ralph Connor’s forgotten 1902 bestseller Glengarry School Days, a novel my mother mentioned often.

    Your piece on Birds of America has stayed with me. Certainly sounds like something I’d like!

    For what it’s worth, here’s my list of three favourite out of print books read this year:


    • What an excellent list! I have a couple of those Margaret Millar omnibuses and was enthralled by the two novels I’ read. And the others on your list sound intriguing. I just looked up Judith Merrill and will look for her work!


  5. Pingback: Book Stats of 2017 and Best Film & TV of the Year – mirabile dictu

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