Monthly Archives: December 2017

Top 10 Books of 2017

This was a good year. Not easy to pick ten, could also have been fifteen or twenty. Here goes in no particular order.

Han Kang: The Vegetarian. A deep view into Korean society, position and role of women, and a rollercoaster of mental health issues. 

Ian McGuire: The North Water. Unputdownable. A big ripping yarn. And one of the best truly bad characters in a long time.

Ben Fountain: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. A great story and a brutal commentary on what it means to send young people to war. 

Arlie Russel Hochschild: Strangers in Their Own Land. Mandatory reading if you want to learn more about what makes the non-coastal non-elites tick. Deep understanding and true empathy.

Paul Beatty: The Sellout. Funny, innovative, and super smart. A unique and important literary voice. 

George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo. A writer’s writer. Inventing a new form and it totally works. 

Andre Aciman: Call Me By Your Name. What can you say. This is how the best novels used to be and aren’t anymore. So strong.

Elif Batuman: The Idiot. A genuine Bildungsroman. Very smart, very true. 

Orhan Pamuk: My Name is Red. I’m late to this. What a story.

Robert Menasse: Die Haupstadt. Spannend, humorvoll, intelligent, wichtig. 

And the rest:

Richard Russo: Straight Man. Wonderful. 

George Plimpton: Paper Lion. Unique. 

Aleksandar Hemon: The Making of Zombie Wars. Does not disappoint. 

Paul Kalanithi: When Breath Becomes Air.  Breathtaking.

Timothy Garton Ash: The File. Very interesting.

Bert Wagendorp: Ventoux. Solide. 

Etgar Keret: The Seven Good Years. Wonderful.

Cesare Pavese: Die einsamen Frauen. Schwierig. 

Bert Wagendorp: Der Prolog. Ok. 

Benjamin Johncock: The Last Pilot. 

Charles Portis: The Dog Of the South.  So-so. 

Rick Gekoski: Outside of a Dog. Alright.

Nina Willner: Forty Autumns. Not what I expected. 

Matt Haig: Reasons to Stay Alive. Impressive. 

Bacon & Birnie: The Cycling Anthology V. Good stuff.  

Frederik Backman: A Man Called Ove. Very funny.  

Ann Cornelisen: Torregreca. Unbelievable. 

Etgar Keret: the Bus Driver who wanted to be god. Not so strong. 

Sarah Bakewell: At the Existentialist Cafe. Mixed bag.

Sonia Simmenauer: Muss es sein? Interessant. 

Julian Sayarer: Life Cycles.  Pretty good.  

Imbolo Mbue. Behold the Dreamers. Excellent.

Julian Sayarer: Interstate. Pretty good. 

Ned Boulting: Velosaurus. Not bad.

Colson Whitehead. The Underground Railroad. Impressive

Richard Grady: One day ahead. Good enough.

Ben Judah. This is London. Brilliant.

Marc Vanhoenacker: Skyfaring. Not bad. 

Tc Boyle: Terranauts. Solid.

Anne Moody: Coming of Age in Mississippi. Very interesting. 

Adam Haslett: Imagine Me Gone. Impressive. 

Phil Gaimon: Ask a Pro. Fun read.

Alex Rühle: Ohne Netz. Stark.

Karl Ove Knausgard. Kämpfen. Wow. Und jetzt reicht’s.

Richard Russo: Nobody’s Fool. Brilliant. 

Marcel Möring: Das große Verlangen. Eindrucksvoll. 

Carl Frode Tiller: Kennen Sie diesen Mann?  Schwierig. 

John Darnielle: Universal Harvester. DNF. Not for me.

Max Leonard: Higher Calling. Excellent.

Carrot Quinn: Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart.  Pretty good. 

Walther Jungwirth: Tausend Kilometer Süden.  Ganz gut. 

Olivia Laing: The Lonely City. Impressive. 

Naoki Higeshida: The Reason I Jump. Impressive.

Arundhati Roy: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Incredible.

Marilynne Robinson: Housekeeping. Strong stuff. 

Bruce Springsteen: Born to Run. Mandatory. 

Nicole Krauss: Forest Dark. Almost perfect.

Jhumpa Lahiri: In altre parole. Stupendous. 

Domenico Starnone: Lacci. Wow.

Erri De Luca: Il giorno prima della felicità. A mixed bag.

Matthew Klam: Who Is Rich? Pretty good. 

Dervla Murphy: Full Tilt. Incredible.

Michael Connelly: City of Bones.  Good enough. 

Tom Perrotta: Mrs. Fletcher. Pretty good.

Salman Rushdie: The Golden House. Wonderful. 

Painted Blazes: Hiking the Appalachian Trail with Loner. Awful. Just awful.

Leopold Sacher-Masoch. Venus im Pelz. Ja sowas.

Phil Gaimon: Draft Animals. Much fun.

Angeline Tan: Angie Across America. Ho hum. 

Chris Harrison: Head over Heel. Ok. 

Scott Bergstein: Soul of the Heel. Ok. 

Cara Nicoletti: Voracious. Great fun. 

Laszlo Bock: Work Rules. Good stuff.

Roxane Gay: Bad Feminist. Must read.