Before we get started, here’s a screenshot from Goodreads of all the books I read last year, so you can get an idea of how often I give certain star ratings.
As you can see, it follows a fairly standard bell curve shape, with most of the books grouped in the middle and a descending number of outliers on each edge. (And that pretty much exhausts my math speak for the day, everyone!) This shape was by no means intentional… I’m just pointing out that logically, most ratings will fall between a certain range.
All in all, 1% of the books I read last year received five stars and 10% received four stars, meaning that a grand total of 11% of what I read are what I would consider truly great books. I know it’s not many, but that’s exactly why that category matters to me so much.
FYI: This list reads in reverse, so my very favorite book is at the bottom. I’ve also included the one four-star book that didn’t quiiiite make the top ten list at the end of the post, since I give few enough four-star ratings that I like to mention each and every one even if they didn’t make the best of the best.
ANYWAY, I’M DONE RAMBLING ABOUT BOOKISH STATISTICS NOW.
Would definitely recommend this to college freshman or anyone else moving out for the first time! Sometimes I find how-to/self-help books such as this one either impractical or too “fluffy” and insubstantial, but The Roommate Book has some pretty solid advice. You can tell the author has a lot of experience living with others… which makes her a very reassuring guide!
I feel silly including this here because her poetry gets so much hate… I’ve heard that she plagiarized Nayyirah Waheed, but other people say she was just inspired by her so I don’t even know what to think?! I maintain that some of the vitriol she faces is due to her gender because honestly, her poems remind me a lot of William Carlos Williams’ and he doesn’t get nearly the same level of scorn sooooo like…
What a superbly constructed picture book. The artwork is GORGEOUS, the writing is lyrical and poignant, and even the paper quality is fantastic. I’d never heard of this author before but I will be sure to keep an eye out for her future work from now on.
Read this play for my Black Fiction Now course last spring! It tells the story of MLK on his last night on earth – and the angel who visits him then. We all know how it’s gonna end, but the final monologue still left me reeling.
A beautiful little book on meditation, self care, and loving yourself. It’s slow-paced with bizarre yet peaceful illustrations. I felt so calm afterward! Can’t wait to read more of Sakugawa’s work in 2018.
Oh, Ruby. ALWAYS THERE FOR ME. How tf is everything she draws so relatable? Through illustrations + short, informal essays, she ponders all sorts of topics, from depression and perfectionism to body positivity and making friends.
It feels wrong to say that I was pleasantly surprised by a graphic novel about abortion, buuut… it’s true! Because – based on the title – I thought it might be about mental health. But it wasn’t. And we need more frank writing re: abortion. I’ve heard a lot of cis men talk about the topic until they’re red in the face, but never have I read about what actually happens during a medical or surgical abortion from the point of view of someone who has had one.
Read this for Mystery/Detective Fiction this fall! I figured out who the murderer was about a third of the way through, but that actually heightened my enjoyment of the novel, rather than detracting from it. There are some very meta passages about storytelling that had my English major side going YES YES YES.
Read this for Writing & War, also this fall! I have STRONG FEELINGS about this novel’s treatment of women (that my entire class got to hear lmao) but ultimately I can’t help but adore it. The construction of the nonlinear timeline and multiple POVS just blew me away… I want to write like this someday. I actually listened to the entirety of it on tape and remembered how much I love audiobooks !!!
And last but most CERTAINLY not least, the one and only five-star book I read in 2017. Funnily enough, it was the third book I read last year, which meant I read a hell of a lot of books that in no way lived up to the standard it set. It’s very rare that a book makes me cry – I tend to cry much more easily during movies – but actual tears ran down my face while reading this. My heart was shattered by the end.
Here are my other four-star books from 2017!
- Lift Off: From the Classroom to the Stars by Donovan Livingston
What are the ten best books that YOU read in 2017? Have you read any of my top ten? What did you think?!