With the end of 2017 somehow vanishing in a hectic whirl of work and gluttony, I’ve barely had a chance to reflect on all the excitement it contained.
It was a funny ol’ year. The weather was chaotic, but not as chaotic as the government. The news was filled with international posturing of a kind barely seen since the iconic but lesser known Mr Men story – Mr Ineptitude Goes to War. 2017 was a year for incredulous face-palming it seems.
One thing that didn’t disappoint were the books I read. I think I vanquished around a hundred of them in my conquest to remain delighted. So here are some of the books I most enjoyed in 2017.
Daughter of Eden by Chris Beckett
The third and concluding part of Chris Beckett’s enthralling Eden series. Daughter of Eden is a gripping and satisfying finale to the amazing sci-fi journey exploring society and humanity in a beautifully realised castaway-esque setting.
The final book of the series focuses on the power of stories, and the importance of understanding how your perceptions of the world are framed by the narrative in which you are raised.
Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes by Tamim Ansary
Taking that idea of the power of perceived narratives, Destiny Disrupted is a mesmerising book that challenges our views on the story of human history.
This is easily one of the most interesting and enthralling non-fiction books I’ve read, challenging the common narrative of Western development and taking the readers on a fascinating journey through history with an Islamic perspective.
I devoured it once and am eager to get back and do so again in the near future.
Panopticon by Jenni Fagan
Two parts harrowing, one part hilarious, and 100% fantastic. Panopticon follows the troubled journey of Anais Hendricks through the Scottish care system as she wrestles with her crippling mistrust of a system and society that has consistently failed her.
Apart from being a fantastic read, there are too many novels that don’t fully commit to the brutal language of their setting. There’s fuck aw’ chance of that in Panopticon, the most honestly sweary book I’ve read in ages.
The combination of voracious reading and a terrible memory means I can barely recall half the books I read this year. I remember they were good, so that’s something. If I had time there would be more to mention. N.K. Jemisin’s The Stone Sky was a fantastic end to the intriguing broken-world fantasy of the Broken Earth series. Dave Hutchinson’s Fractured Europe series began with the amazing Europe in Autumn before rocketing on to greater heights in its weirdly twisted dystopian future. And for sheer escapist reading pleasure, Sebastien D. Castell’s Greatcoats series was unadulterated fantasy action joy.
Any recommendations to add to my 2018 book shelf?