Top Ten Tuesday: The Best Books I’ve Read In 2017 So Far

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

Reading has been one of my favorite past-times for as long as I can remember. I always have a book downloaded onto my smartphone in case I find myself with a few spare minutes while I’m out and about.

So as soon as I read this week’s topic, I knew I wasn’t going to have any trouble filling out the list. All of the odd-numbered suggestion in this list are also books I’ve reviewed for Long and Short Reviews as well. Click on their titles if you want to read my reviews of them.

1. Death on the Trek by Kaye George.

This is the second mystery in a series about a small group of Neanderthals who keep running into murderers while at the same time trying to survive in a harsh and unforgiving landscape where the earliest humans also live. It should be read in order, but it was even better than Death in a Time of Ice. I was already a fan of Ms. George’s beautiful writing style before she began this series, but I only love her work more now that she’s telling stories about one of the most fascinating parts of human history.

2. The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell by Kamau Bell. 

This was one of the funniest and most thought-provoking memoirs I’ve ever read. I especially enjoyed his anecdotes about awkward experiences he’s had because I can relate to them so much. Haha!

3. Don’t Tell Jessi by Traci Jo Stotts. 

Bullying is such an important topic to discuss, and Ms. Stotts did an excellent job of exploring why it happens and how much damage it causes.

4. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.

I have to admit that this wasn’t always an easy thing to read. There were scenes that made me hold my breath because I was sure something terrible was going to happen to the characters at any moment. With that being said, I really enjoy it when authors keep me on the edge of my seat like that.

5. A Colorless Blue by M.W. Muse. 

I don’t normally read many stories about teens dealing with cancer, but this one was fantastic because of how relatable the main character, Skye, was. She wasn’t always brave about all of the treatments she had to go through, and that made me want to keep reading.

6. The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida. 

Autism is interesting to me in general, but this was a particularly worthwhile read because it was written by someone who has a severe form of it. The way that Naoki sees and understands the world is so unique…and also challenging for his parents at times!

7. The Golden Tup by Leslie W. P. Garland.

I’m actually a huge fan of all of Mr. Garland’s stories, but this was the best one I’ve read from him this year. The thought of a young couple being accused of killing their child is definitely a gruesome one, but the deeper I wandered into the plot the more I wanted to know about what really happened that fateful night.

8. The Book of Joan: A Novel by Lidia Yuknavitch.

Yes, the main character has the same name as the original Joan of Arc for a reason. Science fiction is one of those genres that has always caught my attention. What I liked the most about this tale was how it wove so many different themes and older stories together to create something fresh and new.

9. High Summons by Eli Celata. 

This series had such an incredible beginning. I loved how dangerous magic is in this universe as well as the fact that Jon was nearly an adult before he had any inkling that he’d been born with a gift that most people don’t have. The various demons he met were really frightening as well.

10. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

Who else has a weakness for multi-generational novels? I’d read them all of the time if there were more of them. It’s so interesting to watch a family change over time as new members are added and old ones that were introduced as children begin to age and die off.

What are some of the best books you’ve read so far in 2017?


  1. Yes! I too have a weakness for multi-generational novels & I’ve been eyeing off Pachinko for a while now. Have you read Do Not Say We Have Nothing? I think you might enjoy it too – it was my favourite read of 2016.

    You’re the fourth person (including myself) to rave about Exit West. I plan on reading his earlier work soon too.

    • Astilbe says:

      No, I have not read Do Not Say We Have Nothing yet, but I just added it to my TBR list. Thank you very much for the recommendation.

      It’s nice to see that we both loved Exit West. I’m also hoping to read more of Mohsin Hamid’s work soon. He’s a great writer, isn’t he? 🙂

  2. Ooh, I have Pachinko on my TBR and really excited to read it now I’ve seen it make your top reads list.

  3. I keep forgetting about The Reason I Jump. I don’t know how, because it looks amazing, and I’m definitely going to need to give it a read. Also seeing a lot of people recommending Exit West today, which I hadn’t heard of before… *runs to Goodreads*

    • Astilbe says:

      I hope you enjoy both of them. There are several books on my TBR list that people keep recommending and that I’m pretty sure I’m going to love once I have enough time to get around to them. 🙂

  4. I’ve read The Reason I Jump and liked it, and Pachinko is on my audiobook TBR. I am definitely going to look into High Summons- sounds great!

  5. What an interesting list! Neanderthals and murders, I have to check that one for the very reason that there are Neanderthals!. Here’s my TTT if you want to check.

    • Astilbe says:

      I know, right? Neanderthals definitely don’t show up in stories enough. I get excited every time it happens, especially when the book is also really good in general.

      I will pop over to see your list in a few minutes. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. I loved Exit West, too but it seems that a lot of people had a hard time connecting with it. Too bad…a great story.

    • Astilbe says:

      How interesting, Susie. I haven’t met many people who read it and didn’t like it, but we all have books that we don’t connect with for whatever reason. At least you and I enjoyed it, though. 🙂

  7. Great list! Pachinko’s on my TBR so I’m glad to see you enjoyed it. I’ve heard really interesting things about The Book of Joan, too. =)

  8. I read books on my smartphone too! 😀
    The Reason I Jump has beautiful covers! And sounds interesting too, I’ll add it on my TBR.

  9. Death on the Trek sounds really interesting. I just read another book set in an Ice age type clime and it was fun. This one is new to me, thanks!

    • Astilbe says:

      You’re welcome, Greg. What was the other book set in an ice age that you read recently? I’m always on the lookout for more books set in that time in history!

      • It was Ivory and Bone. The sequel is Obsidian and Stars. I just read both, liked em. Probably would give them 3 stars- good, not mind blowing or anything. One issue I had with them was the characters talked kind of modern, which threw me. Referring to the cooking area as a kitchen, for example. It kinda took me out of the Ice Age setting you know? Might just be me though.

        Other than that they weren’t bad.

  10. I haven’t read any of these yet, but High Summons sounds very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I haven’t read any of these yet, but High Summons and A Colorless Blue already caught my eye 🙂 I’ll have to check them out, and the rest of your list as well!

  12. I hadn’t heard of any of these – thanks for this list. I love the cover for The Reason I Jump.

    • Astilbe says:

      You’re welcome. The cover for The Reason I Jump was actually what originally made me pick it up. Haha.

  13. Great list! A bunch of these are actually on my TBR. 🙂 Here’s my T10T for this week!

  14. High Summons sounds interesting. I love fantasy books! Dangerous magic sounds right up my street!

  15. There’s a few books on here that are on my TBR… and now I’m more excited to read Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, of which I currently have a hold on at my library.

  16. I love The Reason I Jump. Such a powerful book! 🙂

  17. All new books to me, I shall check them out so my tbr can grow! Thank you for sharing.

  18. These all sound so good! Exit West is on my immediate TBR pile–so hopefully I will be getting to it soon. High Summons is new to me, but it sounds like something I would really like. And I really want to read Pachinko. Thank you for sharing!

  19. I haven’t read any of these, but I’m glad that you’ve read so many amazing books this year. Hope you enjoy the rest of your reading in 2017!

  20. I actually haven’t heard of a single one of these books! /o\ But The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell sounds hilarious and perfect for me. xD

    • Astilbe says:

      How interesting. I always like it when that happens. I hope you enjoy The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell.

  21. I’ve seen Exit West on quite a few lists, and now I’m beginning to think I need it! Great List!
    Thanks for stopping by The Local Muse

    • Astilbe says:

      You’re welcome. I hope you like Exit West. So many blogs were talking about it this week which was really nice.

  22. Interesting list! I haven’t had the chance to read any of the titles, but they look like fun.

  23. All of these are new to me but I really want to check out The Colorless Blue. Thanks for sharing this list!

  24. I am really looking forward to reading Exit West and I LOVED Pachinko. It was so unique

  25. The People of the Wind Mystery series looks totally fascinating and cool – definitely adding that to my TBR.

    Also, I do love a good multi-generational novel and Pachinko is already on my TBR. Glad to see you liked it a lot!!

    • Astilbe says:

      Yeah, The People of the Wind series is wonderful. I hope you enjoy it, and have fun with Pachinko as well.

  26. There a lot of books on your list that I haven’t heard of it so it looks like my TBR is going to be doing some growing. Awesome list!

    I’m new to blogging and book reviewing, and I was wondering if you had any tips for newbie bloggers and book reviewers.

    If you have the time, please check out my blog @breenysbooks. I’d love any feedback. Have a wonderful day.

    • Astilbe says:

      Thank you very much, Breeny. I Hope you enjoy my recommendations.

      I visited your site, and I think it looks great. I never would have guessed that you were new to blogging. You have such a crisp, clean layout, and I really like the fact that you use plenty of graphics and break your posts into small paragraphs.

      The only thing you might want to consider adding to it are links to other blogs that you enjoy in the book blogging niche. Not every site does this, but it’s something that I really love finding because it’s such a good way to discover sites I’d never know about otherwise.

  27. ooh! Exit West is on my TBR list! I’m getting more excited to read it. I’m a bit hesitant to pick Pachinko and The Reason I Jump, because some people I know who’ve read it don’t really like it. But seeing them on your list, maybe I’ll try to pick em up 🙂

    • Astilbe says:

      Have fun with Exit West!

      I totally understand your hesitation about The Reason I Jump and Pachinko. There are a few books out there that I’ve put off reading because people close to me disliked them so much. It’s completely your decision whether or not to try them, of course, but I sure enjoyed them. 🙂

  28. I’ve not heard of any of these but High Summons sounds like something I might enjoy. That’s another book for my TBR list then 🙂

  29. High Summons sounds pretty great, it sounds like something I might like.

  30. All of these are unfamiliar books and authors, but ‘Colorless Blue’ looks interesting. The title is unique, and the cover stunning, which is what made me stop and take a closer look. Glad you enjoyed all of these – and thanks so much for stopping by Finding Wonderland! 🙂

  31. Huge apologies for being so far behind on my blogging! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog for this TTT!

    I always love seeing what books people have loved in a list like this and although I haven’t read any of these yet there are a few here I’d love to check out. Particularly The Reason I Jump.

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