This time last year, I wrote a post about the books that I wanted to read in 2017. From that original list of 11 books, I managed to read seven. I also found more to read as the year went on making my total up to 14.
In no particular order, here’s my favourite top 5 books that I read in 2017:
1. Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty.
I’ve previously read a few of Liane’s books plus I loved the recent HBO TV adaption of her book Big Little Lies which has just won several Golden Globe awards, so I knew this book would be a winner.
The story focuses on 6 couples at a summer BBQ where something happens that changes the lives of all of them forever. I loved how the author gave immense details about the characters and built the suspense by slowly drip feeding through details of what happened on that fateful night. I had trouble putting this book down, highly addictive!
2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
I loved this book and couldn’t believe it was a debut novel. The story focuses on Eleanor who lives a plain and simple existence, doing the same thing every day, but a chance encounter with someone at work and a simple act of kindness changes her life. We learn more about what happened to Eleanor in her past and why she behaves in the way she does. This book had me laughing out loud one minute and crying for Eleanor the next. It’s written in such a distinct voice which is both funny and sad at the same time. You can’t help but root for Eleanor, would highly recommend this book.
3. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
During the heatwave of 1976, a neighbour, Mrs Creasy goes missing from a suburban cul-de-sac. Ten year olds Tilly and Grace take matters into their own hands to try and find her. The book has brilliant detail and is well observed, it reminded me of the endless summers that I had during the school holidays. I enjoyed reading the perspective from the two girls and it was amusing trying to see them make sense of the adult world around them. But I have to admit, I was very disappointed with the ending. I had more questions than answers!
4. The Humans by Matt Haigh
This was the last book that I read in 2017 and was enthralled by its original concept and emotional details. The book is written from the perspective of an alien that came to Earth, killed and took on the life form of a professor who had recently discovered a major breakthrough, (and possible threat to mankind,), in mathematics. There’s much humour as the alien gets to grips with new ideas like wearing clothes, peanut butter and the pet dog. But it’s touching too, as he develops feelings for the family he lives with and builds relationships with them.
5. The Vets at Hope Green by Sheila Norton
I couldn’t not include my Mum’s (17th!) book that was published last year. I loved this book and thought it was one of Mum’s best yet. It tells the story of Sam who, dissatisfied with her life, boyfriend and career in London, moves to a small village in Dorset for a fresh start. It’s about making change to your life and pursuing your dreams.
Here’s a quick list of the other books I read during 2017. I’ve written a review for some of these.
- Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon
- The Power by Naomi Alderman
- The Girls by Lisa Jewell
- The Gift by Louise Jensen
- Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star
- I See You by Clare Mackintosh
- After You Left by Carol Mason
- Hot Milk by Deborah Levy
- The Girls by Emma Cline
Books I Want to Read for 2018
One of my New Year’s goals was to read more, so I’ve got to try and read more than one a month! If my children will allow it, here’s what’s caught my eye so far for this year:
- How to Stop Time by Matt Haigh. Because I loved his book, The Humans, so much, I’ve started the New Year already with reading this. It’s about a man with an extremely rare condition which means he ages incredibly slowly. Born in the 1500s, it talks about the life he has lived and how he’s coping with the present day. So far, I’m loving the emotion and details of this book.
2. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. I’ve always liked books by Lisa Jewell, but noticed her more recent novels definitely have darker themes. I enjoyed reading The Girls last year, and this one appeals too. It tells the story of Laurel who years ago lost her daughter, Ellie but has never given up hope of finding her. When Laurel meets a stranger she is swept off her feet, but it is the daughter and her likeness to Ellie that takes her breath away and brings back more questions about what happened all those years ago.
- The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. Anthony spends half his life collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise he made years ago. Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all the objects to his trusty assistant, Laura to fulfil his legacy. But his final wishes has unforeseen repercussions.
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl raise eyebrows when they move to Shaker Heights. Mia’s secret past and her disregard for the rules threatens to ruin the carefully ordered community.
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. Released on 11th Jan, there has been a lot written about this book. Based on a heart-breaking true story, it tells the story of Lale Sokolov’s job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival. When he spots and falls in love with a terrified young girl, Gita, in the line, he is determined to survive and save her life too. Not a light-hearted read, it’s bound to be emotional, but I loved The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas and think this will be as good.
- The Lido by Libby Page. Not released until April 2018, but this is being hailed as the next “Trouble with Goats and Sheep” book. It tells the heart-warming story of Kate who is 26 and Rosemary, 86 who come together to try and save the closure of the local lido. Together they show that it is more than just a place to swim.
- The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown. Set in Essex, not far from where I live, this book tells the story of Alice who returns home to find her brother Matthew changed and obsessed with witchcraft. Matthew is compiling a list of people in the village. To what lengths will Matthew obsession drive him? Especially when Alice finds herself at the heart of his plan.
- The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. Set in 1893 this book tells the story of Cora who moves from London to Essex to start a new life. But when rumours surface of the return of a mythical man eating serpent, Cora sets out to prove them wrong.
- Pets at Primrose Cottage by Sheila Norton. My Mum’s new novel will be out in full in March. Emma Nightingale needs a place of refuge, to hide away from the paparazzi obsessed with her famous ex-boyfriend. Emma finds herself in demand as a pet sitter, but dramatic new events soon put her back in the spotlight again.
- The Child by Fiona Barton. When an evening paper recalls a historic tragedy, three people find the article impossible to ignore. The child’s story will be told.
- Close to Home by Cara Hunter. When eight year old Daisy goes missing from a family party, no one claims to have seen anything. D.I Fawley knows that 9 times out of 10, it’s someone the victim knew, so who is lying?
- The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor. Released on 11th January, this twisty debut thriller has had a lot written about it. What happens when chalk figures start appearing on their own?
- Transcription by Kate Atkinson. This isn’t released until September, but I love Kate Atkinson. Juliet Armstrong is recruited by an obscure war time department for the Secret Service. After the war she joins the BBC, where her life starts to unravel.
- I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell. Maggie O’Farrell is another one of my favourite authors. This is her memoir and tells her extraordinary near-death experiences.
15. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. A story about prejudice and power. When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, the nurse who was banned from caring for the baby by his father is held to blame. The death changes the live of the nurse, her lawyer and the baby’s father in expected and unexpected ways.
Hopefully I’ll manage to get through most of these books this year! Have you read any of these? Did you like them? Are there any others that I should have on this list? Or do you have any books that you recommend? Do let me know, I’d love to hear from you.