There are only 10 days left of 2017. That means lots of reminiscing about the events of the last year and book bloggers are compiling lists of the best books they have read over the last 365 days. I love reading Best Reads of the Year posts because they contain the best of the best and bloggers get so excited about them.
2017 was a pretty decent reading year for me. 2016 was a year of reading classics but 2017 was for getting deeper into my favourite genres. I read books I wasn’t entirely sure on or knew nothing about going into them, and even though it yielded mixed results I am glad I did it. I might have kissed a few book frogs this year but I definitely found a few princes who are now new all time favourites.
So here are the top 5 books I read in 2017 in no particular order.
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Can I just write a lot of excited screaming and that can be my explanation for why this book is on my list? Dear god, this was amazing! I think it is officially one of my all time favourite novels. It is just 700 pages of complete brilliance. Yes, it is horrifically violent and gory, but the writing is beautiful, fast paced and really gets inside your head. I might read it again at some point because I absolutely adored it.
Battle Royale is about a class of teenagers who wake up on an island and are told that only one of them will be leaving. To survive and win they must kill their classmates. It is told through a changing narrative that switches between the various students in the class so you get to witness the psychological fear and confusion in detail. This was The Hunger Games before The Hunger Games existed.
I think my favourite thing about this book was how realistic it was. It was gory and violent but surprisingly a lot of the focus was on the dead bodies when it came to describing situations. It was as if the different narrators are more focused on their classmate being dead rather than having god like knowledge of a quick violent event that just happened. That is how situations in real life play out. Horrible things happen so quickly and then you are just left standing there staring at the messy aftermath trying to piece together what just happened.
An amazing book and definitely a new all time favourite.
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G Wells
This is the second year in a row H.G Wells has made it to my Top Reads of the Year list. War of the Worlds was on last year’s list.
The Island of Doctor Moreau is a Victorian science fiction novel about a man who is shipwrecked and picked up by a scientist called Dr Moreau who takes him to his island. There he discovers the island’s inhabitants are human animal hybrids created by the doctor. Madness ensues.
I honestly wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. Yes, I am a bit of a junkie for H.G Wells books but this one was the very last one on my list of his works to read. It seemed a little boring and strange even by my standard, but I was so surprised when I actually read it. It was so dark! It was an examination into what makes us human and whether or not other creatures feel pain and suffering. Wells work is always groundbreaking and wonderful so definitely don’t skip this one if you are interested in reading his novels.
I went from not expecting much to it being my second favourite H.G Wells book.
The Birds by Daphne du Maurier
This years list is full of pleasant surprises. I picked up The Birds because I needed something short to read. I wasn’t expecting much. I had seen the film, and even though it was a classic, I wasn’t a fan of it. I decided to give the book a go anyway. This is probably stating the obvious but, the book is 100 times better than the film.
The plot of The Birds is pretty basic. Every bird in the world goes mad and decides to eat human flesh instead of their regular food. You are dragged along through the chaos by following every day people who are trying to survive in the madness.
For a book with such a simple idea The Birds is scary in its own way. Imagine not being able to go outside or having to sit indoors while birds fly at your windows by the hundreds trying to get inside. This book had a War of the Worlds feel to it so it was safe to say that I enjoyed it. I will be picking up more of Du Maurier’s work next year because I loved this book so much.
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
This is a bit odd but…I am not going to tell you anything about this book other than it is brilliant and you have to read it. Don’t even read the back of the novel if you get it, go into it completely blind. Trust me, you wont regret it.
This is a very well known book and film, so much so that the big twist at the end is constantly spoiled. It is even written on the back of the novel sometimes. So if you don’t know anything about Rosemary’s Baby don’t spoil it on yourself by reading the back or talking to anyone about it. Keep it secret, keep it safe. ….At least until you finish reading it.
I have read a few of Levin’s books now but this one is my favourite. Since I refuse to give out spoilers I can’t say why. Levin just does a brilliant job with writing horror that takes place in a normal every day situation and leaves you wondering if things are really happening or not.
This is the worst review because I refuse to spoil things. Just read Rosemary’s Baby and enjoy it. A bit of a warning, this book is very much a product of its time so some of the attitudes to things are a bit worrying by today’s standards.
The Shining by Stephen King
A Stephen King novel actually made my top read list?!?!
I have made it no secret on here that I am not a fan of Stephen King. So much so that I ran a series a few months ago called “A King Hater Reads King” where I read a different Stephen King book a month and wrote about it to try to give him a chance. I will bring that series back, I promise. I just got so swamped with other books that rereading Cujo was pushed to the side. But anyway, I actually found a Stephen King book I enjoyed that wasn’t Carrie or It!
I think my reason for enjoying this book so much wasn’t that it was scary or a good horror novel, it was just straight up entertaining. It wasn’t too long winded and the scenes with Jack descending into madness were some of the best character narration I have read. …Even if he does spend two pages hating on a snowplough for no reason and another page monologuing about disinfectant. Those parts are just unintentionally hilarious. It wasn’t the scariest book I have read but it was definitely one of the funniest horror novels I have read, so it deserves a place on this list.
As always feel free to follow me on GoodReads and let me know below what was the best book you have read this year.