Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books Of 2017 (So Far)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is top ten best books I’ve read so far this year.

Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed with my reading this year. Very few books have impressed me. I have many theories about this, but I’m hoping that my end-of-year best books list looks completely different from this one. I’m not going to put any rereads on the list because that seems like cheating. Also, the list would be entirely rereads. So, here we go . . .

Best Books Of 2017 (So Far)

10. Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.  
Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.  
But some can never stop searching for answers.  
Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. Along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

9. Witness – Karen Hesse

The year is 1924, and a small town in Vermont is falling under the influence of the Ku Klux Klan. Two girls, Leanora Sutter and Esther Hirch, one black and the other Jewish, are among those who are no longer welcome. As the potential for violence increases, heroes and villains are revealed, and everyone in town is affected. With breathtaking verse, Karen Hesse tells her story in the voices of several characters. Through this chorus of voices, the true spirit of the town emerges.

8. The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir – Ruth Wariner

Ruth Wariner was the thirty-ninth of her father’s forty-two children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turned a blind eye to the practices of her community, Ruth lives in a ramshackle house without plumbing or electricity. At church, preachers teach that God will punish the wicked by destroying the world and that women can only ascend to Heaven by entering into polygamous marriages and giving birth to as many children as possible. After Ruth's father—the man who had been the founding prophet of the colony—is brutally murdered by his brother in a bid for church power, her mother remarries, becoming the second wife of another faithful congregant.  
In need of government assistance and supplemental income, Ruth and her siblings are carted back and forth between Mexico and the United States, where her mother collects welfare and her step-father works a variety of odd jobs. Ruth comes to love the time she spends in the States, realizing that perhaps the community into which she was born is not the right one for her. As Ruth begins to doubt her family’s beliefs and question her mother’s choices, she struggles to balance her fierce love for her siblings with her determination to forge a better life for herself.

7. The Book of Strange New Things – Michel Faber

It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.  
Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival.  

6. Revolver – Marcus Sedgwick

In an isolated cabin, fourteen-year-old Sig is alone with a corpse: his father, who has fallen through the ice and frozen to death only hours earlier. Then comes a stranger claiming that Sig’s father owes him a share of a horde of stolen gold. Sig’s only protection is a loaded Colt revolver hidden in the cabin’s storeroom. The question is, will Sig use the gun, and why?

5. The Optician of Lampedusa – Emma-Jane Kirby

The only optician on the island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean is an ordinary man in his fifties, who used to be indifferent to the fate of the thousands of refugees landing on the coast of the Italian island. One day in the fall of 2013, the unimaginable scale of the tragedy became clear to him, and it changed him forever: as he was out boating with some friends, he encountered hundreds of men, women and children drowning in the aftermath of a shipwreck. The Optician and his seven friends managed to save 47 people (his boat was designed to hold ten people). All the others died. This is a poignant and unforgettable account about the awakening of conscience: more than that, it brings home the reality of an ongoing refugee crisis that has resulted in one of the most massive migrations in human history.

4. Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm – Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm

This is a beautiful treasury of some of the most famous stories of the Brothers Grimm, reproduced in their original form. Among many others, the stories include: “The Travelling Musicians,” “The Golden Bird,” “Tom Thumb,” “Snow-Drop,” “The Frog-Prince,” and “Ashputtel.”

3. Guts: The True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books – Gary Paulsen

Guess what—Gary Paulsen was being kind to Brian. In Guts, Gary tells the real stories behind the Brian books, the stories of the adventures that inspired him to write Brian Robeson's story: working as an emergency volunteer; the death that inspired the pilot's death in Hatchet; plane crashes he has seen and near-misses of his own. He describes how he made his own bows and arrows, and takes readers on his first hunting trips, showing the wonder and solace of nature along with his hilarious mishaps and mistakes. He shares special memories, such as the night he attracted every mosquito in the county, or how he met the moose with a sense of humor, and the moose who made it personal. There's a handy chapter on "Eating Eyeballs and Guts or Starving: The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition." Recipes included.

2. The Ghosts of Heaven – Marcus Sedgwick

Four linked stories boldly chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet's obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book's final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time.

1. Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War – Steve Sheinkin

On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these documents had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, they revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicians claiming to represent their interests. A provocative book that interrogates the meanings of patriotism, freedom, and integrity.

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?


  1. I managed to do ten but could have added a few more-I've had a lot of 4 and 5 star books this year and one five star series of 7 books which is great, so choosing was hard. Best would be Extinction Horizon series or the first two Game of Thrones books.

  2. It's been a tough reading year for me, as well! I only have 1 5-star read. I mean, I'm pretty stingy with my stars, but even so. I don't know if it's that I'm rating tougher or what.

  3. I haven't read any of these, but The Sound of the Gavel and Most Dangerous sound particularly interesting!

  4. I love the cover for Sleeping Giants but I have yet to read it! And I keep on seeing it wherever I go xD Anyway, great list!

    My TTT

  5. I've already added Most Dangerous to my wishlist but I need to add The Sound of Gravel. That sounds super interesting!!

  6. I need to read the next Sleeping Giants book. The Book of Strange New Things sounds quirky and different, I'm not familiar with that one.

  7. Oooh, I haven’t heard of most of these. I’ll have to look them up! Great list. Here’s my T10T for this week!

  8. I have been dying to read Sleeping Giants for months now. I think it's time I move it up my TBR.

  9. Kill Your Friends - John Niven. It's like a pimp slap to the p.c. police.

    Anyway, I finally started Sleeping Giants.

    You have two from Marcus Sedgwick in your top six. Is he your new J.K. Rowling?

  10. Great list!!! I need to reread the Brothers Grimm again!

    Here’s my TTT!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  11. I'm so excited that Witness and Guts made your list! I really truly plan to read Revolver and Most Dangerous this summer. So far this year I've been a big fan of Ramona Blue and The Upside of Unrequited, both of which seem a little...light? for you, though they did have substance. Americanah was really good too. I liked the MG books The War that Saved My Life, Flying Lessons, and The Other Boy. Strange the Dreamer, Goodbye Days, The Smell of Other People's Houses, If I Was your Girl, Jane Steele, Girl in Pieces, I Hunt Killers, and Encyclopedia of Early Earth are the other books I've really enjoyed so far this year.

  12. Ohh I really want to read Sleeping Giants!! I've heard it's really pretty and uniquely formatted inside too?! I also have read Ghosts of Heaven but confess I didn't really understand it.😂

    Sadness you've had a sucky reading year so far though. *cries softly for you* Mine hasn't been amazing? But it's been okay!! I've read some books that've absolutely KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF and I think that's made the others a little subpar.😂😂

  13. This list was hard for me. I've had a good reading year but while I've liked the majority of the books none have really wowed me. Hopefully the 2nd half will be better for both of us! Sleeping Giants looks good and The Sound of Gravel looks tough but amazing.

  14. I MUST read Sleeping Giants! I have it and have heard great things, and I need to get to it ASAP! I also want to read Ghosts of Heaven, so I am excited to see it on your list too! I don't know what the best book I read this year was- it has been a slow year for me. I think Defy the Stars, if I had to choose!

  15. Sleeping Giants is such a good book, the second book in the series is just as good!

  16. I liked Sleeping Giants and have an arc of the second book that I really should get to soon. I haven't had the chance to read any of the other books that made your list.