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The Best Fiction and Nonfiction Books of 2017

Posted 5 months ago by April S

Posted in Business & Investing, eBooks & eAudiobooks, Fiction, Literature, Poetry & Graphic Novels, History, Politics, & Biography, Movies, Music, & Audiobooks, Mystery & Thrillers, New, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science, Medicine, & Technology and Teen | Tagged with best books 2017, Best Books of the Year, best fiction, best nonfiction, book recommendations, booklists, books to read, Detective and Mystery Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Families Fiction, family relationships, Historical Fiction, Humorous Fiction, leadership, Literary Fiction, notable books, Political Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Short Stories, Spy Fiction, Suspense Fiction, World War I Fiction and World War II Fiction

So many books, so little time. What were some of the best books of the year and what makes them the best anyway? Books may end up on best seller lists when the subject is extremely topical like current events. However, after reviewing so many booklists, the selections often seem random at first glance. How do you find gems among the thousands of books published each year? You might rely on a highly trusted source like the "100 Notable Books of the Year" by The New York Times. Or maybe you just browse Amazon's best seller lists and hope for the best. Well, my approach was a little more involved and it took a lot of time ... time most people don't have to spend on picking a few good books to read. The books featured below were selected after reviewing major book award websites, book reviews, and a wide variety of trusted booklists to narrow down the selections to only include the "best of the best" fiction and nonfiction books from the past year. Yet, it's really still a matter of what interests the individual reader.

Now, the challenge is to find the time to read them!

Best General Fiction Books of 2017

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

"Spectacular sophomore work...a magnificent, multilayered epic that’s perfect for eager readers and destined for major award lists." ~ Library Journal (starred review)

Amazon rating: 4.4

Goodreads rating: 4.14

Winner of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Fiction Book with over 39,000 votes.

#1 book of the year - BookPage and LibraryReads.

Named one of the best or notable books of 2017 - Amazon (top 20), Esquire, The Guardian, NPR, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: Fighting an ugly custody battle with an artistic tenant who has little regard for the strict rules of their progressive Cleveland suburb, a straitlaced family woman who is seeking to adopt a baby becomes obsessed with exposing the tenant's past, only to trigger devastating consequences for both of their families.

Also available in Large Print, Audio, eBook, and eAudio.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
Looking for more noteworthy fiction books from the past year?

The 17 Best Fiction Books of 2017 - Bustle

The Best Fiction Books of 2017 - Chicago Review of Books

Best of 2017: Best Fiction Books - Entropy

Best Fiction of 2017 - Goodreads Choice Awards

The Best Fiction of 2017 - The Guardian

Best Fiction of 2017 by Category - Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: The Best Fiction - Los Angeles Times

Top 10 Novels of 2017 - Time


Best Historical Fiction Books of 2017

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

“Profound, funny and vital . . . the work of a great writer.” ~ Chicago Tribune

Amazon rating: 3.6

Goodreads rating: 3.89

Winner of the Man Booker Prize.

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

One of the best books of 2017 - Amazon (top 20), BookPage, Esquire, Goodreads, The Guardian, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal (top 10), Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, O Magazine, Time (top 10), and The Washington Post (top 10).

Book summary: A long-awaited first novel by the National Book Award-nominated, New York Times best-selling author of Tenth of December traces a night of solitary mourning and reflection as experienced by the 16th President after the death of his 11-year-old son at the dawn of the Civil War.

Also available in Large Print, Audio, eBook, and eAudio.

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Looking for more noteworthy historical fiction from the past year?

22 of the Biggest Historical Fiction Books of 2017 - BookBub

Best Historical Fiction of 2017 - Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Historical Fiction of 2017 - Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: Historical Fiction - NPR

The Best Historic Fiction of 2017 - Overdrive


Best Literary Fiction Books of 2017

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

"A tour de force ... Ward is an attentive and precise writer who dazzles with natural and supernatural observations and lyrical details ... she continues telling stories we need to hear with rare clarity and power." ~ O, the Oprah Magazine

Amazon rating: 4.4

Goodreads rating: 4.14

Winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction.

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

One of the best books of 2017 - Amazon, BookPage, Esquire, Kirkus Reviews, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review (top 10), NPR, Publisher's Weekly (top 10), Time (top 10), The Washington Post.

Book summary: Living with his grandparents and toddler sister on a Gulf Coast farm, Jojo navigates the challenges of his tormented mother's addictions and his grandmother's terminal cancer before the release of his father from prison prompts a road trip of danger and hope. By the National Book Award-winning author of Salvage the Bones.

Also available in Large Print, Audio, eBook, and eAudio.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
Autumn by Ali Smith
Looking for more noteworthy literary fiction from the past year?

Anticipated or Best Literary Fiction of 2017 - Goodreads

Best Literary Fiction of 2017 - Kirkus Reviews

Fall 2017 Announcements: Literary Fiction - Publisher's Weekly


Best Mystery / Thriller Books of 2017

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

“The tension has never been greater… A meticulously built mystery that follows a careful ascent toward a breaking point that will leave you breathless.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

Amazon rating: 4.6

Goodreads rating: 4.46

One of the best books of 2017 - Amazon, Goodreads, Library Journal, LibraryReads, LibraryReads, NPR, and The Washington Post.

Starred review - Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.

Book summary: A suspicious figure that appears on the village green on a cold November day leaves a dead body in its wake, compelling Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec to pursue an investigation that has difficult consequences.

Also available in Large Print, Audio, Pocket Audio, eBook, and eAudio.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Ill Will by Dan Chaon
White Tears by Hari Kunzru
The Force by Don Winslow
Looking for more noteworthy mysteries & thrillers from the past year?

The Year's Best Crime Novels, 2017 - The Booklist Reader

Best Mystery & Thrillers of 2017 - Bookriot

The Best Crime and Thriller Books of 2017 - Panmacmillan

Best Books of 2017: Mystery/Thriller - Publisher's Weekly

The 10 Best Thrillers and Mysteries of 2017 - The Washington Post


Best Science Fiction / Fantasy Books of 2017

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi Alderman

"I was riveted by every page. Alderman's prose is immersive and, well, electric, and I felt a closed circuit humming between the book and me as I read." ~ Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times Book Review

Amazon rating: 4

Goodreads rating: 3.91

One of the best books of 2017 - Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, and The Washington Post.

Starred review - Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.

Book summary: In a novel of speculative fiction, an award-winning author contemplates a world where teenage girls now have immense physical power—they can cause agonizing pain and even death, drastically resetting the balance of the world.

Also available in eBook and eAudio.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
Looking for more noteworthy science fiction and fantasy novels from the past year?

The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2017 - Barnes & Noble

The 9 Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books Written by Women in 2017 - Bustle

Best Fantasy and Science Fiction of 2017 - Goodreads Choice Awards

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017 - The Guardian

Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017 - Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: SF/Fantasy/Horror - Publisher's Weekly


Best Short Story Collections of 2017

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

“The Refugees will haunt its readers, especially in these times, when refugee stories need to be told, shared, and told again, ad infinitum.” ~ A.V. Club

Amazon rating: 4.4

Goodreads rating: 3.95

One of the best books of 2017 - BookPage, Esquire, Goodreads, Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times Book Review, and NPR.

Starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, and Publisher's Weekly.

Book summary: A collection of stories, written over a twenty-year period, examines the Vietnamese experience in America as well as questions of home, family, and identity. By the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Sympathizer.

Also available in eBook.

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang
Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
Five Carat Soul by James McBride
Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Looking for more noteworthy short story collections?

7 Short Story Collections to Read in 2017 - Barnes & Noble

13 Short Story Collections Out This Fall to Help You Escape Reality for a Few Pages - Bustle

Best New Short Story Collections of Fall 2017 - The Washington Post


Best Teen / Young Adult Novels of 2017

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

“Family issues are neither airbrushed nor oversimplified. From the first page to the last, this compassionate, funny, moving, compulsively readable novel about what makes a family gets it right.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

Amazon rating: 4.8

Goodreads rating: 4.38

Winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

Named one of the best or notable books of the year by Kirkus Reviews, NPR, The New York Times Book Review, and Publisher's Weekly.

Starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publisher's Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Book summary: Feeling incomplete as an adopted child after placing her own baby up for adoption, teen Grace tracks down her biological siblings and finds herself struggling with the dynamics of being a middle child between an embittered older brother and an outspoken younger sister.

Also available in eBook.

The book of Dust : La Belle Sauvage / Philip Pullman
The hate u give / Angie Thomas
Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson
Turtles all the way down by John Green
Looking for more noteworthy teen / young adult novels from the past year?

Best Young Adult Fiction of 2017 - Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction of 2017 - Goodreads Choice Awards

The 30 Best Young Adult Books of 2017 - Paste

The 17 Best Young Adult Novels of 2017 - POPSUGAR

25 of the Best Young Adult Books of 2017 - Seventeen


Best General Nonfiction Books of 2017

The lost city of the monkey god : a true story / Douglas Preston

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston

"Breezy, colloquial and sometimes very funny...A very entertaining book." ~ The Wall Street Journal

Amazon rating: 4.4

Gooreads rating: 3.92

One of the best books of 2017 - Amazon (top 20), Goodreads, New York Times Book Review, and Publisher's Weekly.

Book summary: Recounts how the author and a team of scientists discovered a legendary sacred city, the Lost City of the Monkey God, hidden deep in the Honduran jungle.

Also available in Large Print, Audio, Pocket Audio, eBook, and eAudio.

The apparitionists : a tale of phantoms, fraud, photography, and the man who captured Lincoln's ghost / Peter Manseau
Irresistible : the rise of addictive technology and the business of keeping us hooked / Adam Alter
Nomadland : surviving America in the twenty-first century / Jessica Bruder
Word by word : the secret life of dictionaries / Kory Stamper
Looking for more noteworthy nonfiction from the past year?

Best Nonfiction of 2017 - Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Nonfiction of 2017 by Category - Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: The Best Nonfiction - Los Angeles Times

The 20 Best Nonfiction Books of 2017 - Paste

Best Nonfiction Books of 2017 - Publisher's Weekly

50 Notable Works of Nonfiction in 2017 - The Washington Post


Best Biography / Memoir Books of 2017

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

"Evident throughout are humor and rage, respect and loving irreverence." ~ Oprah Magazine

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

Amazon rating: 4.5

Goodreads rating: 4.36

One of the best books of 2017 - Amazon (top 20), BookPage, Goodreads, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Los Angeles Times, NPR, O Magazine, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: The National Book Award-winning author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian presents a literary memoir of poems, essays and intimate family photos that reflect his complicated feelings about his disadvantaged childhood on a Native American reservation with his siblings and alcoholic parents.

Also available in Audio, eBook, and eAudio.

The bright hour : a memoir of living and dying / Nina Riggs
Hunger : a memoir of (my) body / Roxane Gay
Leonardo da Vinci / Walter Isaacson
Priestdaddy / Patricia Lockwood
Looking for more noteworthy biographies and memoirs from the past year?

Best Biographies & Memoirs of 2017 - Amazon

Best Books of 2017: Memoir & Autobiography - Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Biographies of 2017 - Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: Biography & Memoir - NPR

Best Memoirs of 2017 - O Magazine

5 Best Memoirs of 2017 - The Washington Post


Best Business and Leadership Books of 2017

Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein

Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein

“Goldstein is a talented storyteller, and we root for her characters as, moment by moment, they try their hardest.” ~ The New Yorker

Amazon rating: 4.4

Goodreads rating: 4.25

Winner of the 2017 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year.

Best Business Book of 2017 - Business Insider, CNBC, The New York Times Book Review, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: A Washington Post reporter’s intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors’ assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class. Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America’s biggest political issues human. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers to show why it’s so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class. For this is not just a Janesville story or a Midwestern story. It’s an American story.

Also available in eAudio.

The power of moments : why certain experiences have extraordinary impact / Chip and Dan Heath
The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World's Greatest Teams by Sam Walker
Insight : why we're not as self-aware as we think, and how seeing ourselves clearly helps us succeed at work and in life / Tasha Eurich
The new rules of work : the modern playbook for navigating your career / Alexandra Cavoulacos, Kathryn Minshew
Looking for more notable business and leadership books?

The 7 Best Lessons from the 7 Best Business Books of 2017 (so far) - Success

13 of the Best Business Books of 2017 - CNBC

The 19 Best Business Books of 2017 - Business Insider

The Best Business and Leadership Books of 2017 - Omnivoracious

Best Business Books of 2017 - Financial Times


Best History Books of 2017

Killers of the Flower Moon : the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI / David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

“A master of the detective form…Killers is something rather deep and not easily forgotten.” ~ Wall St. Journal

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

Amazon rating: 4.6

Goodreads rating: 4.14

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon (top 20), Goodreads, Kirkus Reviews, LibraryReads, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, Paste, Publisher’s Weekly, The Smithsonian, Time, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

Also available in Large Print, Audio, eBook, and eAudio.

Code girls : the untold story of the American women code breakers of World War II / Liza Mundy
The future is history : how totalitarianism reclaimed Russia / Masha Gessen
Greater Gotham : a history of New York City from 1898 to 1919 / Mike Wallace
The radium girls : the dark story of America's shining women / Kate Moore
Looking for more noteworthy history books from the past year?

Best History Books of 2017 - Amazon

Best History Books of 2017 - History Today

Best Books of 2017: History - Financial Times

Best American History Books of 2017 - Kirkus Reviews

The Ten Best History Books of 2017 - The Smithsonian


Best Poetry Books of 2017

Half-light : collected poems 1965-2016 / Frank Bidart

Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart

"Art of first order . . . Truly remarkable." ~ Piotr Florczyk, New Orleans Review

Winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Poetry.

Amazon rating: 5

Goodreads rating: 4.5

Positive reviews from Booklist (starred review), The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, and Publisher's Weekly (starred review).

Book summary: Gathered together, the poems of Frank Bidart perform one of the most remarkable transmutations of the body into language in contemporary literature. Few writers have so willingly ventured to the dark places of the human psyche and allowed themselves to be stripped bare on the page with such candor and vulnerability. Over the past half century, Bidart has done nothing less than invent a poetics commensurate with the chaos and appetites of our experience.

Depression & other magic tricks / poems by Sabrina Benaim
The sun and her flowers / Rupi Kaur
When I grow up I want to be a list of further possibilities / Chen Chen ; foreword by Jericho Brown
Whereas : poems / Layli Long Soldier
Looking for more notable poetry collections from the past year?

The 18 Best Poetry Collections of 2017 - Bustle

The Best Poetry Books of 2017 - Chicago Review of Books

Best of 2017: Best Poetry Books & Poetry Collections - Entropy

The Best Poetry Collections of 2017 - The Washington Post


Best Science Books of 2017

Astrophysics for people in a hurry / Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

“With wry humor, keen vision, and abundant humanity, Neil deGrasse Tyson distills the big questions of space, time, and reality into short, insightful chapters you can enjoy with your morning coffee.” ~ Discover

Amazon rating: 4.6

Goodreads rating: 4.14

Winner of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Science & Technology Book with over 42,000 votes.

One of the best books of 2017 - Amazon, Business Insider, Goodreads, and Kirkus Reviews.

Book summary: Offers witty, digestible explanations of topics in cosmology, from the Big Bang and black holes to quantum mechanics and the search for life in the universe.

Also available in Audio, eBook, and eAudio.

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson
Homo Deus - a brief history of tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
Why time flies : a mostly scientific investigation / Alan Burdick
Why we sleep : unlocking the power of sleep and dreams / Matthew Walker
Looking for more great science books?

7 Favorite Science Books of 2017 - Brain Pickings

The Very Best Science Books of 2017 - Business Insider

The Best Science Books of 2017 - Science Friday

The Ten Best Science Books of 2017 - The Smithsonian


Notable Booklists from 2017

Best Books of 2017 - BookPage

50 Best Books of 2017 - Esquire

Best Books of 2017 - Part One and Part Two - The Guardian

19 Best Books of 2017 (so far) - Harper's Bazaar

LJ's Top 10 Books of 2017

LibraryRead's Favorite Books of 2017

NYT's 100 Notable Books of 2017

NPR’s Guide To 2017’s Great Reads

Best Books of 2017 - O Magazine

PW's Best Books of 2017

Best Books of 2017 - The Washington Post


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