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10 Favourite Books in the First Half of 2017

12th Jan, 2017

List : Best books of 2017

It is that time of the year to publish your verdict on the favourite books. And that is my favourite time of the year too. You get the cream of the layer; the best of the best to add to your carry over pile onto next year. I read some fantastic books last year.You can find my favourite books in the first half of the year here.

What makes me even more happy is how nicely the favourites of the latter half of 2017 spread across different genres; there is YA, fantasy, literary fiction, historical and even dystopian. Moreover, usually my favourite lists span from 4 star to 5 star reads. But in this list ALL are 5 star reads (with two exceptions of 4.5 stars which are almost as good as 5 stars). So YES, this has to be my favourite ‘favourites list’ so far.

Alright, onto the books!

Book List: What it means when a man falls from the sky by Leslie Nneka Arimah

1. What it means when a man falls from the sky by Leslie Arimah Nneka (2017)

This book is on top of the list for a reason. This was my all-time favourite book of 2017. AND it is a short story collection. It isn’t often that one comes across a collection that deserves a five star. But this one sure did. Each story was different and yet they all fitted together perfectly. This is a book that is on my ‘re-read list’.

Book List: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

2. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (2004)

I have an aversion towards big books. But Susanna Clarke blew me away with her magical world. I had sleepless nights reading this book about magicians’ lives, studying magic, developing spells, ego clashes between equals and publishing your discoveries. If you are a bookworm or someone in the academic or research field, this book will steal your heat! I wanted more of Strange and Norrell; this book was that good!

Book list : One hundred nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

3. One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg (2016)

Set in an imagined land in the medieval ages, One Hundred Nights of Hero is the story of women’s struggles of being heard in a man’s. It is beautifully illustrated and densely layered with many themes of religion, place of woman and the importance of stories. Here are ‘Five reasons why the world should read this book’.

Book list : The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

4. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (2017)

The Essex Serpent is peppered with delicious prose and striking imagery. Fans of the lyrical words in The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (which was a favourite of mine in the first half of 2017) will feel right at home with this book. I loved the characters and the slow way in which seasonal changes and the mindset of characters complemented each other.

Check review.

Book list : The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

5. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue (2016)

When I finished reading The Wonder by Donoghue I was overcome with a deep sense of regret for not picking it up earlier. Based on the stories of girls known as the ‘starving girls’, this book explores themes of religion, place of girls in society bound with allusions to myths. I loved it even more than the acclaimed Room, which explored the psychological impact growing up in a locked room on a toddler, by the same author.

Check review.

Book list : Song of the Sun God by Shankari Chandran

6. Song of the Sun God by Shankari Chandran (2017)

What a fabulous book! I devoured this one like a hungry wolf. This novel is one of those gems in the releases of 2017 that might have been drowned by targeted marketing by bigger names in the publishing industry. The book is a family saga about the chaos in Sri Lanka, immigration and the inevitable restlessness that finds it’s way to the minds of the family members.

Check review.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

7. Homegoing by Yaa Gyaasi (2016)

Homegoing is a family saga in 300 pages that focuses on the impact of slavery and tyranny. From what I have noticed, readers lean towards either Homegoing or The Underground Railroad by Whitehead (which is a fantastic book but didn’t quite touch me the way Homegoing did). If you have enjoyed both the books equally, let me know in the comments. I would be interested in reading your thoughts.

Check review.

Book list : Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (2015)

I am very picky about my YA reads; but when I find gems as these, I jump for joy. I loved the duology by Leigh Bardugo. The book is fast paced, the leader of the gang, Kaz, is an absolute darling and there are lots of tid bits that make you chuckle. I don’t think anyone writes dialogues as good as Leigh Bardugo. Both Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are equally good and technically both are my favourites. loved them BOTH but I loved Six of Crows a wee bit more because of the pacing.

Book list : Remnants of a separation by Aanchal Malhotra

9. Remnants of a Separation by Aanchal Malhotra (2017)

If you hail from India or Pakistan, this book is a must-read for you. The book is a collection of real life stories revolving around material objects that were of significance to individuals who lived through the Partition. This book made me cry and I had to close it and compose myself several times over the read. The book had me glued to the pages even though I am not a non-fiction enthusiast.

Check review.

Book List : Gather the daughters by Jennie Melamed

10. Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed (2017)

The story is set on an isolated island where children roam wild and free every summer. The group of families on the island live in accordance with a system of societal rules and beliefs. One day, a girl sees something, and slowly the daughters of the island gather together. Melamed puts her readers through a harrowing experience of acceptance and resistance and makes us question why the line that separates them is so blurred.

Check review.

If you liked this list, check my Ten Favourite Books in the First Half of 2017 for more recommendations on some excellent books. And if you have a thing for cover designs, head over to 14 Delicious Covers of 2017 for some eye candy.

Let's discuss

Have you read any of these or are they on your TBR? What were your favourite reads of this year?



This Post Has 75 Comments
  1. I enjoyed Anna Karenina even if it was a slog. I don’t think I ever have a need to re-read it though. I really need to get around to North and South, it’s been on my CC list since the beginning and everyone keeps writing about it and I really like the premise, I just haven’t picked it up yet.

    1. I really enjoyed North and South. It was so realistic and Gaskell does not take sides. She lets her characters on either side of the industrial classes do the talking. The romance does end abruptly but on the whole North and South is a very enjoyable novel. I hope you will get to it soon.

  2. This is such a great, eclectic list! I adored The Snow Child. Have you read her second book, To the Bright Edge of the World?

    1. I adored Snow Child. No I haven’t read the second book because I heard it doesn’t have the same lyrical charm of the first one. So I wasn’t sure of picking it up. Did you read it?

  3. That’s a great list – I have read and enjoyed some of those books too. I love Agatha Christie but haven’t read Five Little Pigs yet. It sounds like a good one!

  4. I loved snow child and the dark circle. I’ve put swimming lessons on my TBR
    loved reading your favourites

    1. I love Christie novels because we can read them in one sitting. I think you will enjoy Swimming Lessons. It has a bit of everything that readers who love different genres will enjoy.

  5. This is such a wonderful list. I loved Swimming Lessons, The Bear and the Nightingale, and The Snow Child. That also reminds me that I have Eowyn Ivey’s latest book on my Kindle and still need to read it. I haven’t read that Agatha Christie novel yet, but I usually love her books so will have to pick that one up as well. Hope you have a lovely weekend!

  6. My favourite Christie novel is And Then There Were None too! And yes, Five Little Pigs is certainly a good read. The Indian connection of short stories looks good!

    1. I think you should definitely get a collection of that. The stories are distributed among different languages, not the usual ‘only-north ignore-south’ idea. It is a huge book so if you have space in your luggage this would be an excellent addition to your shelves. I love Agatha C novels too. I want to read them all some day.

  7. Great picks! Dark Circle and Snow Child are on my TBR list (although I still haven’t read Grant’s first book) and Swimming Lessons made my list for best of 2017 so far. And Elizabeth Taylor is the reading equivalent of comfort food for me – always satisfying.

  8. There are so many beautiful covers among the books in your list! I have yet to read all the classics you’ve listed. But I do need to read Anna Karenina and North and South (especially North and South – I LOVE that BBC series!). I have a copy of the Bear and the Nightingale, and you bet I’ll be picking it up before this year ends. 😀 Wonderful list!

  9. Oh so many books on my TBR from here. I’ve only got The Snow Child though. Pfft. Have to grab The Muse and Swimming Lessons asap. Have to grab all of them asap.

  10. I really like your list! The Bear and the Nightingale and The Snow Child are two I own and would also like to read because I’ve heard the writing in both is beautiful.

  11. i finally got The Dark Circle in the mail so I shall be reading that soon(ish) and I also wanna pick up North and South. I haven’t read a classic in awhile and I’m kinda feeling in the mood for them

  12. Ooh I need to read The Bear and the Nightingale IMMEDIATELY!! *flails* And also is it terrible that I added the Muse purely on cover love?! I want it so bad! I’m glad you’ve had some lovely reads this year!! Here’s to hoping the second half of 2017 is just as awesome!

  13. The Muse is a beautiful book – outside and in. I’m so glad you liked it. I’m so excited to give “North and South” a try – I’m ashamed I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet…

  14. This is a great list, Resh Susan! I have really enjoyed reading all your posts for these books as you’ve read them, too. It’s nice to see that your passions for these books have not waned! I often find when I put together lists like this some books I adored in the moment didn’t make it in the long run. But, that’s a casualty of mood-reading, I guess. Did you find any books you highly rated earlier this year didn’t make the cut? I haven’t read any of these books yet, but I did recently pick up a copy of The Bear and the Nightingale. I love Christie’s works but I haven’t read Five Little Pigs. I think my favorite of her’s is Ten Little Indians.

    1. Thank you. Yes there are many books that I have rated 4 and 4.5 stars but not included in the list (Tea girl of Hummingbird Lane, Stay with me and many more). I only included the best that I loved among the ones I enjoyed.

  15. The ones I’ve read fro your list are The Snow Child, North and South and A Game of Hide and Seek and I agree with you totally! I have Anna Karenina and The Dark Circle buried in the TBR, I must dig them out…

  16. A lovely and interesting set of books – I have seen mention of many of them but not read any! Out of all of them, I’d be most attracted to the Indian short stories, I think. Happy second-half-of-the-year reading!

  17. The Snow Child has been sitting on my shelves for a while. I’m glad it’s on your list, so now I know it’s a good one to pick up. I should be reading it soon (or at least I want to).

    I also enjoyed The Muse and Anna Karenina is a book that I’ve been wanting to read, but have just been intimidated by it’s size! The movie is great!

    1. I have been intimidated by Anna Karenina too. But it isn’t so bad. Read a few chapters at a time and take a small break. I feel Anna K is best enjoyed like a TV show. I loved The Snow child. Hope you love it too.

  18. I am going on a bookstore hopping this weekend and have bookmarked your page. I loved the medley of your book choices. Each so unique and heterogenous in its subject and the covers are so very beautiful. Some of these books are already in my TBR and your blog adds two more to the list- Snow Child and North & South. Thank you 🙂

  19. I haven’t read very many of these books so thank you for introducing them to me! Swimming Lessons seems really interesting, and I’m definitely checking that one out further! I hope the rest of 2017 is full of amazing books for you.

    I’m new to blogging and book reviewing, and I was wondering if you had any tips for newbie bloggers and book reviewers.

    If you have the time, please check out my blog @breenysbooks. I’d love any feedback. Have a wonderful day.

    1. Swimming Lessons was my first favourite of the year so I hope you will love it too. Thanks alot for stopping by. I will be hopping over in a few days. I don’t have any advices as much – just be honest. write about what you love, interact with fellow bloggers and be consistent. You will get the hang of it soon. Good luck with your blog.

  20. Swimming Lessons AND The Dark Circle are now on hold for me at the Library. I read Anna K last winter and loved it too.

    For books that came out in 2017, The Lucky Ones is probably my favorite.

    1. I must check out The Lucky ones. I hope you will love the novels when you pick them up. Swimming Lessons has a great structure to create a suspneseful plot while The Dark Circle makes us realise how fortunate we are to live in a period with so many medical advancements

  21. I’m still absolutely desperate to read The Bear and the Nightingale, the premise reminds me so much of the middle grade Mafi has been writing, that blend of charm and magic. I’ll be hunting down a paperback copy this weekend, that cover is too lovely to be buying on eBook <3

    1. I was planning on buying an e-book myself but the husband has a weakness for pretty cover designs and ended up surprising me. You would not regret the paperback copy. It is pretty both on the inside and outside

  22. I have to admit that the one that seems to call my attention the most is the Claire Fuller. I think that she and I follow each other on Twitter and even on Instagram, but I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read any of her works yet. Seeing that she made it to your Best of 2017 (First Half) list, I’m seriously considering giving it a try.

  23. My dear Resh, your list flies soooo over my head, I feel a bit ashamed.
    (I will get therapy. Promise)
    I did smile when you confessed to liking Dame Agatha Christie… 🙂
    So do I, and I just (re)read) And then there were none in July. Love the construction.
    Be good.

      1. You really have. Tell me: how do you find them? Are there (still) good bookstores in Bombay? (Aka Mumbai, but old habits die hard) (That is where you live right?)

          1. Thank you. Good to know. I haven’t made the “jump” yet to on-line buying. Sort of dragging my feet I guess. Aren’t the delivery costs enormous in proportion to the book’s value?

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