I keep a running list of the books I read, with stars beside the books I really like.
I read fewer books than usual this year, for a wonderful reason: my wife and I had a baby at the end of April and she has taken up a lot of my time. (And she is welcome to it.) While she is napping, I thought I’d jot down a list of the books that I read in 2017 that I liked best.
Anyway, here are my favorite books from this year, separated into novels, story collections, and “other” (which in actual practice means graphic novels and an autobiography).
–To Walk the Night by William Sloane (one of two novels in The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror, put out by NYRB Classics.)
–Jernigan by David Gates
–The Hunter by Richard Stark
–Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
–Inverted World by Christopher Priest
–Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
–Norwood by Charles Portis
–The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
–In a Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes
–A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr (I have read this one every summer for the last three or four years)
–My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
–The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
–Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett
–Battle Born by Claire Vaye Watkins
–Sweet Talk by Stephanie Vaughn
–People Like You by Margaret Malone
–If I Loved You I Would Tell You This by Robin Black
–All That Man Is by David Szalay (arguably a novel in stories)
–For the Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander
–From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (graphic novel)
–My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris (also a graphic novel)
–Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
Looking over this list, I’d give special attention and recommendation to My Favorite Thing Is Monsters and All That Man Is. I mean, they’re all great, but these were two that amazed me and inspired me as a fiction writer, respectively.
Honorable mention, because I started it around Christmas and will be working on it another week or so, and because it is both amazing and inspiring, is Annie Proulx’s Barkskins.