2017 In Review: My Favorite Fiction

As the year known as 2017 finally draws to a close, it’s time for me to look back and announce to the world my favorite books of the year. Just like last year, I’ll start by talking about the outstanding fiction from 2017. Later, I’ll follow it up with another post dedicated to my favorite nonfiction books. Of course, this year just like in previous ones, it doesn’t matter when the books were published. All that matters is they’re excellent.

As for declaring an overall winner, it wasn’t easy since all 12 books are fantastic. In the end, it was tough call to make but I awarded it to The Paying Guests. As high as my expectations were for this book, I was not disappointed.

And a diverse collection of novels indeed. Set in faraway locations like Libya, Croatia and Morocco the armchair traveler in me was duly satisfied. So also was my inner historian, with one novel set in turn of the 20th century New York City, one in Stalinist Russia and another in 1920s London. Lastly, several of the below-mentioned books were first time novels. Kudos to their respective authors for a job well done!

  1. The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
  2. The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida
  3. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
  4. In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar
  5. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
  6. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
  7. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
  8. Conclave by Robert Harris
  9. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  10. The Yid by Paul Goldberg
  11. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
  12. Girl at War by Sara Nović

20 thoughts on “2017 In Review: My Favorite Fiction

  1. Many of these books are new to me, but I also read and enjoyed The Paris Wife, although I found it to be incredibly sad. I’m not really a Hemingway fan, but I really saw just how hard he worked at writing and that was admirable. Your right though, Paula McLain writes very well and did a great job of bringing that story to life 🙂


  2. Mr. Curnell,
    Amazing that we share several outstanding books this year!
    I feel, for numerous reasons, that my #1 book must go to:
    Calamity Theory by Pessl.
    This is the only novel I have ever re-read in the same year…and…had to seek it out the second time with much creative effort!
    I look forward to our Next Year of Reading – 2018 and sharing our thoughts & opinions!


  3. Such a good list. I have In the Country of Old Men and must remember to read it; thank you for reminding me of it. I also really liked The Book of Unknown Americans and fully intend to read Girl at War. Happy Holidays!


  4. Great review of The Paying Guests — I just added it to my TBR.

    The Lonely Polygamist is one of my favorites, too — it made me laugh, it made me cry — and that’s not easy to do, all in one book.


    • Thanks! The Paying Guests is a superb book. I’m confident you’ll like it.
      I could not agree with you more when it comes to The Lonely Polygamist. It took me through the whole range of emotions too.


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