It’s that time again when Tim and I debate our top 10 books of the year. This can include any book we read and finished in 2017, no matter when it was published. If you like counting you may have noticed that in the picture we’re both only holding nine books. That’s because Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout was also one of my favourites, and My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent was also one of Tim’s. This year we’ve read less of each other’s than in previous years: I’ve only read two more from Tim’s list (Alice, and A Separation), both of which I loved, but didn’t quite make my ten. And Tim read Life Drawing this year, and Housekeeping a long time ago.
I read 83 books this year. Below are more details about my top 10, starting with my top three (in no order). Click on the title for my full review on Goodreads:
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. This is an amazing debut. Difficult subject, but wonderful writing.
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I read Home a while ago, and didn’t love it, but picked this up on a recommendation, and wow! It was the penultimate book I read in 2017, and still made it into my top three.
Good Behaviour by Molly Keane. Another oldie, reminiscent of Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift, and a lot of William Trevor novels.
Dadland by Keggie Carew. This won the Costa Biography Prize in 2016. I was lucky enough to hear Keggie speak at a festival in France. I have to admit I didn’t expect to love this as much as I did, but it made me laugh and it made me cry.
Life Drawing by Robin Black. This had sat on my shelves for a while, and I finally picked it up this year, and loved it.
The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor. I read all of Trevor’s short stories this year, and two of his novels. This is the book that came out on top.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. When I signed copies of Swimming Lessons in New York in February, in nearly every bookshop Saunders has just been in before me, signing his. This won the Man Booker Prize this year, and deservedly so.
Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. Olive Kitteridge made my top ten books last year, and this was every bit as good.
The Lonely City by Olivia Laing. I also read To The River by Laing this year, and it was a close thing between that and this book.
The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst. I haven’t read a dud Hollinghurst yet, I loved this.
And, as always, Tim doesn’t write reviews, but here are his, with links to Goodreads, starting with his top three (in no order):
To the Back of Beyond by Peter Stamm translated by Michael Hofmann
Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh
Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Alice by Judith Hermann translated by Margot Bettauer Dembo
Both Ways is the Only Way I Want it by Maile Meloy
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Marlena by Julie Buntin
A Separation by Katie Kitamura
Driftless by David Rhodes
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
Have you read any of the books on our lists? I’d love to know whether you agree or disagree. Let me know in the comments below.
The paperback of my second novel, Swimming Lessons will be published on 9th of January in the US, and on 1st February in the UK.