2017 in Books

Best Books Of 2017

2017 was a great reading year for me. I read 47 books this year. Though this year was full for me in terms of school, life, writing etc, I somehow still read. A few numbers from goodreads:

Shortest book: 99 pages (Just Like A Caucasian)

Longest book: 592 pages (The Identicals)

Average number of books read per month: 3.9

I read and loved many authors for the first time this year, including Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Rachel Khong, Gail Honeyman, Hala Alyan, Elif Shafak and Ayobami Adebayo. This year I also talked more about books than I thought was possible. I reviewed books tirelessly, on goodreads, The Book Banque and this blog. Perhaps, because I was reviewing on other platforms, I didn’t write as many reviews for this blog as I’d wanted.

Best of all, in 2017, I connected with many book lovers and also connected a few book lovers to each other via BOOK’D and Instagram. It’s hard to remember exactly how I felt after reading every book I did in past year, but I remember vividly how these books made me feel. This is exactly why they are my favorites.

My 2017 Favorites

And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile. This was the first book I completed in 2017. I enjoyed Ile’s narrative and his use of language in conveying the grief of losing a child and the camaraderie of family. I reviewed this book here.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett is probably my most recommended novel of the year because this novel shook me. Bennett’s storytelling feels like servitude, just like good storytelling should. She was an eager vesselĀ  for the carriage of Nadia and Aubrey’s story. A tale of friendship, loss and motherlessness that will rock you. Reviewed here.

Ayobami Adebayo’s Stay With Me is my most “stanned for” novel of the year. A few people have argued that it is just an average story and yet I say, that is what makes this book even better. Adebayo takes a plot we have heard many times and weaves it into magic. Stay with me is gripping and enthralling; you will not be able to stop flipping the pages.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is a book I knew I would love before I even started reading. Still, I was unprepared for the twist in this one. My favorite part of this book is Eleanor herself. Uptight, seemingly boring and naive Eleanor Oliphant shows that sometimes the determination to live is all you need to keep going. Reviewed here.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Image via explosivebagel.com

Hala Alyan’s Salt Houses is a trip around the world with the unforgettable Yacoub family. Lyrical prose, complex characters, enough love, loss and hope to last a lifetime. Reviewed here.

salt houses hala alyan
image via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books.

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons was one of my final reads of the year. I’d been nervous to read it because I really wanted to like it and I worried that I wouldn’t. However, when I did read it, I was blown away. Clemmons’ writing forces you to slow down and take in the entire book. Although I didn’t like that there’s quite a bit of foul language in certain parts, the grief and loss is palpable. It reads a lot like poetry.

How To Be Married : Jo Piazza’s book on her first year of marriage is insightful and enlightening. She shows that her marriage is a priority over a lot of things that many people today place more value on instead and I think that’s important to make a marriage work. Reviewed here.

The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso is full of dry humor. It’s always a pleasure to read stories that focus on often ignored demographics. Reviewed here.

Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun is unique. This short story of an older woman navigating aging and still maintaining her essence is a breath of fresh air.

Moonflower by my friend Esther Edoho was a wonderful way to close out the year. It is a quiet meditation on life, love and the not-so mundane intricacies of relationship. A must read, really. Full review here.

best books of 2017

Reading Goals for 2018

In 2018, I don’t have a specific number goal, but I’d like to read just as much as I did this year, maybe a little slower, though. Savor each experience. Hitting the numbers is great, but I’m seeking a more immersive experience for every book I read in the next year. I hope to keep reading new authors and engaging with different narrative styles. It is my desire to read more African fiction, to buy more hard copy books and to write more reviews here.

How did you read in 2017? What are your reading goals for 2018? If you have any great African lit recommendations, send them my way please! x