(BPT) – When you open the covers of a book, you enter another world – a world of thought and experience. If the narrative engages your mind and emotions, making the time fly, reading a great book can change you and your outlook on the world, even if just a little.
If you’re looking to add more of these brain-changing, soul-defining experiences to your life, an excellent place to begin is the Best Books of 2017 unveiled by the team of book editors at Amazon.com. Over the course of the year, these editors read hundreds of thousands of pages and compile book recommendations to help readers find their next favorite book. They publish lists of the best books for each month, and then, finally, their picks for the best books of the year. (In case you were wondering, yes, these editors get paid to read books for a living.)
Towards the end of the year, the team of six – men and women with different backgrounds and literary passions – get together to wrangle over the final list of 10 selections, culling a large pool down to a brief list of stand-outs, says Sarah Harrison Smith, editorial director at Amazon.com.
‘There’s a little quarreling,’ she says with a laugh. ‘But what’s unique about the list is the range of genres, from historical fiction to romance to mysteries, representing everything from challenging literary works to fun page-turners. We choose the books on the list based on how they compare to other titles published this year. We only recommend the books we enjoyed most.’
Turn to this top 10 book list to help refresh your reading list, then read and share – whether that means giving someone a book you love as a gift this holiday season or simply sharing some thoughts in an online review. If you’d like a little help sticking to your reading goals, sign up for the annual Reading Challenge on GoodReads.com and share your successes along with all those great titles you’ve read with your friends and family.
1. ‘Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI‘ by David Grann
Grann’s account of a 1920s investigation into the murders of oil-rich members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma has the grim excitement of film noir, the heady intellectual pleasure of well-told history, and writing worthy of The New Yorker, where Grann is on staff. Though “Killers of the Flower Moon’ is set in the past, the bigotry, greed and corruption Grann exposes feel relevant to our times.
2. ‘Little Fires Everywhere‘ by Celeste Ng
In this tightly woven, emotionally fraught novel set in a picture-perfect suburb of Cleveland, Ng addresses timely issues of motherhood, privilege and race.
3. ‘Beartown‘ by Fredrik Backman
Backman explores community, loyalty and its limits in this eminently readable, compassionate novel set in a small town that comes together over ice hockey and then comes apart over allegations of sexual violence.
4. ‘Exit West‘ by Mohsin Hamid
In this fable-like tale, in which two lovers flee their war-ravaged homeland to seek refuge abroad, Hamid upends our cultural assumptions and stakes an optimistic claim for the enduring pleasures of imagination and narrative, even in the midst of war.
5. ‘Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow‘ by Yuval Noah Harari
Harari’s look at humanity’s possible future (the dark, technocratic version) is fascinating, provocative and illuminating.
6. ‘Lincoln in the Bardo‘ by George Saunders
Saunders’ wildly imaginative, ribald and poignant first novel, narrated almost entirely by ghosts, veers from hilarious to heartbreaking.
7. ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies‘ by John Boyne
In this sweeping and magnetic novel set in post-war Ireland, Boyne dexterously expands the story of one man’s life into a portrait of cultural change.
8. ‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me‘ by Sherman Alexie
In Alexie’s extraordinary memoir of his whip-smart, sometimes cruel mother, he connects her turbulent life to the American Indian experience of violence and oppression.
9. ‘Sourdough‘ by Robin Sloan
Sloan’s delightful novel about a software engineer who finds her true calling when she is bequeathed a sourdough starter with magical properties has an inspiring message about the importance of finding work you love.
10. ‘The Dry‘ by Jane Harper
In her gripping debut novel, the only mystery on this year’s list, Harper masterfully evokes the atmosphere of a drought-stricken farm town where lies told in the past may be linked to the violent deaths of a young local family.