We read and reviewed about 250 books this year. Listed below are those I thought were the best.
In looking through the past year I am surprised to see that I gave fourteen five-star ratings. My 4.5 and 4.75 star ratings get rounded up in places like Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble when I post the review there, but only 14 actual five star review. And of those, seven of them are in the non-fiction category. What does this say? I suppose it means that when I read non-fiction I am looking to be informed and a respectable amount of research and the ability to convey that gets my attention. With fiction, on the other hand, I am looking for so much more. Characters, story, plot, conflict, rising action, dialog … there’s a lot more that might narrowly miss the mark.
For the sake of my looking for the best book, I’ve only considered those books that received a 4.25 rating or higher. No book in the romance/erotica category received a rating that high. Two books that might be considered romance to some degree, The Ferryman Institute and The Strange Disappearance of Atticus Finch did rate better than 4.25.
Not everything was published or released in 2017 – these are the books read and reviewed here in 2017.
I was surprised to look back and see that I only gave out one 5 star rating in one of my favorite categories. My selection for the best science fiction? Necrotech by K. C. Alexander.
1) Winter World by Chuck Dixon
2) Rise of Io by Wesley Chu
3) Dragon Engine by Andy Remic
That’s a powerful line-up and a set of books well worth reading!
The difference between science fiction and fantasy can be pretty tough to determine sometimes. Andy Remic’s Dragon Engine could easily be considered fantasy, but I’ve selected a few different titles for my fantasy picks.
Again only one book received five stars. My best book for 2017 in fantasy is an easy pick: Dusk or Dark or Dawn of Day by Seanan McGuire.
1) The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire
2) Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
3) Final Girls by Mira Grant
4) The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman
The mystery genre is a little bit new to me and here too we might find cross-over with other genres. In fact, my only five star rating could also be considered a western. My best mystery for 2017 is one of the Longmire books, The Highwayman by Craig Johnson.
1) Michaelangelo’s Ghost by Gigi Pandian
2) Striver’s Row Spy by Jason Overstreet
3) Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon
No ‘best’ for the year.
The Highwayman, which was also the best mystery.
1) Great Short Stories by Contemporary Native American Authors – Bob Blaisdell, editor
2) Gunman Notorious 4.25
In YOUNG ADULT books there was nothing that received a five star rating but I’ve selected I Am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff as my choice for the best of 2017.
1) The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
2) Arena by Holly Jennings
3) Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty
Two GRAPHIC NOVELS garnered five stars and they are pretty even as I think back on them, but I’ve selected Future Quest, Vol. 1 as my favorite with Betty Boop as a close second.
In CHILDREN’S books the selection was easy for me. I’ve selected The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden by Philippa Dowding as the best for 2017.
AstroTwins: Project Rescue by Scott Kelly
For a SHORT STORY COLLECTION/ANTHOLOGY category, I could look again to the Contemporary Native American Authors but Dead on the Bones by Joe R. Lansdale is my pick.
1) The Very Best of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Volume 2
2) Slipping by Lauren Beukes
LITERARY FICTION is a rather generic category for anything that doesn’t fit well in other genres. Here I’ve picked Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood, the retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as the best for the year.
1) Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sanchez
2) The Ferryman Institute by Colin Gigl
And finally NON-FICTION. So many good books to pick from but my choice for the best really popped out at me when I looked the list over. The best non-fiction I read this year was a memoir/autobiography, Infinite Tuesday by Michael Nesmith.
1) Four of the Three Musketeers by Robert S. Bader
2) Waldorf Astoria Bar Book by Frank Caiafa
3) Paperbacks From Hell by Grady Hendrix
4) Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs by Lynn Frierson Faust
Nine ‘bests’ and a respectable load of runner-ups. So what was the best of the best? What is the overall best book that I found? It’s not an easy selection as all these ‘bests’ are deserving, but The Best Book Found in 2017…
The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden by Philippa Dowding
That’s a lot of great reading. Congratulations to these authors, editors, and publishers, and thank you.