Thursday, November 30, 2017

My Top Ten Books of 2017

All the end-of-year and top 10 lists for books are coming out now--and Boswell will not disappoint to add a few of ours to the chorus. Every year, I have asked the Boswell booksellers to contribute their five favorite books of the year. It's such an interesting flavor of books; it helps to remind me of what a great pool of diverse readers we have. Then, I take two books from each bookseller and put them on the Boswellian Best, which I discount 20% till the end of the year. If you want to see them gush about their favorite books, just ask them about it. I will feature each booksellers five favorite books in future blog posts.

Last year, I completely forgot to put out my own five favorite reads of 2016, so I am going to put out my personal top 10 for 2017. I personally think that this was a great year for books! I had so much fun with books that I am familiar with and those that I discovered for the first time. I read for Indies Introduce (a program where booksellers read debut books and pick ten books to feature in the forthcoming season) and discovered some amazing books I would never have picked up (in fact my number 1 and 2 books of the year come from that program). So, overall a great reading year:

Starting with a bit of horror mixed with dystopian, The Salt Line tells the tale of our world being driven behind salt lines by ticks. Now, these are not some normal ticks, these things are horrible creatures that spread death and disease around quickly. Holly Goddard Jones has some brilliantly descriptive passages detailing these bloody scenes. The story starts with a group of people going on an outing to the tick inhabited world for a bit of sightseeing. You can see where this is going, right? Just a fun, creepy read. $26.00  
I have been a fan of Kristin Cashore since her first novel, Graceling. Jane, Unlimited is unlike anything she has written to date. Jane finds herself at a crossroads, where she could go in multiple directions and the story would change greatly depending on her choice. Kristin Cashore explores each path and shows us where they lead and end, kind of like a super-sized, pumped up adrenaline choose-your-own-adventure. Brilliant concept!
$18.99 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $15.19
This book has been getting all kinds of press lately. It made both the Washington Post and New York Times Top 10 books of 2017. The power that Naomi Alderman refers to, is the electricity that women are able to discharge from themselves. As you can imagine, it changes the dynamics of the world; the power shift in society is part of the beauty of the tale—this is the book to read after Handmaid’s Tale!
$26.00 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $20.80
Lee has found herself in the crosshairs of a secret society that thinks she is the missing component of ritual they have been hoping to complete. Running from them, she finds help from Tomi, who she doesn’t trust at first but eventually does as she has no one else. The story unravels in the underbelly of Philadelphia, in art theft, hacking, drugs, urban spelunking and with a society that thinks Marcel Duchamp art holds the keys to complete understanding. Such a fast-paced thriller, it won’t disappoint!
 $26.00 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $20.80
Such an important book for anyone living near a Great Lake, or anyone interested in conservation of our water supply. We all know the tales of invasive species and water shortages that could spurt water wars in the future, but Dan Egan details all the in-and-outs that we may have missed and need to have sharpened to deepen our understanding of this pressing issue.  A must read! $27.95
Jeannie was named after her father's dead daughter, Jeanne, from a previous marriage and The Glass Eyeis the story of how Jeannie, in turn, copes with the grief of her own father’s death. Vanasco has this unique and brilliant way of structuring her narrative that leaves the reader bewildered and enlightened at the same time. She talks about the frustration of writing this book for her father, her hero, as she copes with her own mental breakdowns. I am not one for memoirs, but this is a rare gem that highlights something so sacred as a daughter’s relationship to her father.
4. The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine
Focusing on one building, where many of the Soviet elites lived with their families. It was full of luxury and shimmered with the promise of what was to come under Stalin. Yuri Slezkine details and tracks the families and their internal and external dealings. So many characters! Such a rich trove of information about life behind the Iron Curtain—but it all comes crashing down with a great purging. Inhabitants are abducted at night never to be seen from again. A story of how the revolution ultimately failed the true believers. Epic and unbelievably great! $39.95
One day Apollo is happy, with work and his wife and a child. His wife has begun to behave oddly, but that could be chalked up to depression. In one instant, his life changes as his wife disappears and his child is gone. Apollo must undertake a quest to discover where she has gone, and why she would wreck the life beyond all recognition. A magical, fairytale vibe persists throughout the book that only Victor LaValle could pull off. I have been in love with his books since his last book, The Devil in Silver. Do yourself a favor and dip into some of his dark tales.
$26.00 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $20.80
I loved this book—it’s dark, and tough to read at parts but so worth it. Stephen Florida is in his senior of college and he has big plans. He wants to win his weight class in wrestling to solidify his legacy. Everything goes awry with an injury. He spirals out of control and drives himself into isolation. Gabe Habush does an excellent job of getting inside of Stephen’s head and relaying his uncertainties and his self-destructive impulses that he has no way to stop. I highly recommend this book.
$25.00 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $20.00

Such a raw, festering wound kind of read--when it got really bad, I just wanted to itch it away. Fourteen-year-old Turtle lives with her father, Martin, outside of town, in a remote area. You will end up hating her father, but also, you will see the true paranoid brilliance in the monster that Gabriel Tallent created. As the Turtle unfolds the story for us, we are treated to brutal events that shape her life and we witness her survival instincts kick in as she begins understanding what the world could be as opposed to the one she knows. This is a gripping story I will never forget, not one single scene.
$27.00 on Boswellian Best till the end of the year for $21.60

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