I turned fewer pages than usual in 2017, but while my quantity was down, my quality was definitely up. In fact, there were some books I absolutely loved.
Here are my favorite reads from the year that just ended:
"Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi. This book, played out over three decades in Africa and the U.S., is a fantastic achievement. Two girls are born in 18th-century Ghana to the same father and different mothers. The book traces the lives of their descendants — one line stays in Africa for most of the story, and the other family is transported to America through the slave trade. "Homegoing" is a moving, epic journey that sheds light on how events beyond our control can shape lives for generations.
"How the Light Gets In" by Louise Penny. This entry in Penny's Three Pines series wrapped up various storylines in a quite satisfactory manner. Every book in this series has something different and magical about it, and this one is no different. However, this was the clear standout.
"Sleeping Giants" and "Waking Gods" by Sylvain Neuvel. Both of these books explore the journey of scientists unearthing a giant robot, piece by piece, across America. In the first book, they finally have it assembled into a humanoid shape and must examine the mystery of who buried the pieces and why. In the second installation, they must fight against the forces who want it back. A cliffhanger ending has me looking forward to the final chapter, due this year.
"A Closed and Common Orbit" by Becky Chambers. This book tells the story of two of the supporting characters from Chambers' previous book, "A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet" (also highly recommended). Lovelace is an AI (artificial intelligence) who restarts with no memory of her previous life and must learn to navigate in a world that frowns upon her kind. As with the best sci-fi books, it will make you think about what it means to be truly human.
"Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch. This buzzy novel left me creeped out — in a good way. Jason Dessen wakes up in a world that's not his own, where he isn't married to his wife, his son doesn't exist, and he's one of the world's brightest scientific minds. This alternate version of himself has made an amazing, earth-shattering discovery that stands to ruin everything the original Jason loves.
"The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin. A cozy book that follows Fikry's journey from the lonely, bachelor owner of a bookshop to a happy father.
"Britt-Marie Was Here" by Fredrik Backman. Another entertaining read that revolves around a woman in her 60s starting over and learning to reclaim her independence in a small, quirky town.