My Favorite Best of 17 Book Lists

For the third year in a row, I’m publishing a round up of top books read in the previous year.

Best selling lists are interesting and fascinating, but aren’t as helpful as a curated list from someone you admire, know or trust.

Modern Mrs Darcy

Beautiful Hope

Sarah from Orthodox Motherhood

Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom

I have not kept up with 800CEORead this year.  I even had some trouble digging up this year’s list. Their short list includes their eight top books of the year in each category.

Sarah from Read Aloud Revival posted her list.

And a list posted on facebook by my friend, Karla, with her commentary.

1. Davita’s Harp by Chaim Potok. Ok, this is first because I love Potok, so I guess this one is in particular order. I first read this just after college, long before I knew we would live in Spain. Upon rereading it, I discovered that this book about a young girl growing up in a Jewish community in New York is full of connections to the Spanish Civil War, making it even more meaningful to me this time round. Potok is a treasure.

2. Miss U: Angel of the Underground. Autobiography of an American nurse in the Philippines during World War 2 who helped smuggle goods to men in prison camps. Couldn’t put it down. Contains graphic war violence and torture.

3. Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas. Story of growing up in American in an Iranian family. Full of cross-cultural humor.

4. Sky Unwashed by Irene Zabytko. Moving novel set around the Chernobyl disaster about old women and their little town.

5. Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg. Well-written true family story from the states of Georgia and Alabama during the depression years.

6. Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither by Sara Baume. A book about an outcast man who takes in a one-eyed dog. Beautifully written, a bit quirky, and downright sad. I didn’t want it to end.

7. In the Land of Invisible Women by Ahmed Qanta. This fascinating look inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was written by a Muslim woman doctor who grew up in the UK, trained in the US, and spends 2 years practicing medicine in Saudi (pre-9/11). Intriguing.

8. Telling Room by Michael Paterniti. This is the story of a small village in northern Spain and a feud over cheese.

9. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. This spy novel from World War 1 is also a mystery book. It was riveting and based on real women. Be warned, there are some pretty graphic torture scenes.

10. Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. I first saw the miniseries, then went looking for the books. There 11 books in three trilogies (I know, that leaves 2 books – they are brief linkage books that aren’t technically in the trilogies.) I fell down the Galsworthy rabbit hole and read them all. Period literature, family saga, the self-destruction of an obsessed man – I really enjoyed them.

11. Pearls of Great Price by Yazz. This collection of women’s stories of faith was written by a friend of mine. Lovely book. Great to hand to a friend who is searching spiritually. Unfortunately at the moment it seems to be only available on and not, but it has just been released, so hopefully you will all have access to it soon.

Honorable mention:
East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Push Not the River is the first of a trilogy of historical novels by James Conroyd Martin. I enjoyed all 3.

Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg is the first in a series of Swedish immigrants to the US. I hope to read the rest of them.

Check out last year’s round up.

And the Best of 15.

What were your favorite books from 2017?


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