So what were my favorite books of the year? Here are my top 6 (though it is acutally a list of 7 because I couldn't choose so I made a double feature out of one pick).
#6Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty
Then I watched the HBO series which is up for all kinds of awards. The book was better and I still don't understand why they reset the story in California instead of Australia, but I enjoyed the show and found myself even more invested in their lives. Yes, this is chick-lit...but it is chick-lit at it's finest!
#5The Rules of Magic
by Alice Hoffman
I sobbed as I read some of the final pages, but closed the book with a smile on face. It's that good!
For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.
Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the '60s, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood-red hair; shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people's thoughts; and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.
From the start, Susanna sets down rules for her children. No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And, most importantly, never, ever fall in love. But when her children visit their aunt Isabelle in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City, each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.
The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered and sometimes feared aunts in Practical Magic while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love
I'm still pondering this story and cannot wait to read Practical Magic (of which this is the prequel) and then to watch the movie.
#4The Ocean at the End of the Lane and The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
Both were such rich stories with memorable characters that I suspect I will read them again at some point in time. I think they would make great reads when you find yourself in a reading slump.
#3The Kitchen House
by Kathleen Grissom
Then we read The Kitchen House and it's characters snatched me out of my modern day complacency. To read of how people treated one another -- slavery, indentured servitude, even in family and in a marriage -- it was moving and convicting and heartbreaking. "Man's inhumanity towards man." Belle's story stripped me bare. Lavinia's story grieved me. And yet, I closed this book with hope for the world to come.
Sidenote: Jim and I recently watched Matthew McConaughey in Free State of Jones and I had flashbacks to The Kitchen House. I'm not a huge fan of his, but this one was good.
#2The Turquoise Table: Finding Community and Connection in Your Own Front Yard
by Kristin Schell
#1A Gentleman in Moscow
If you want a book that sweeps you away to another time and place, this is your book. I have honestly never desired to visit Russia...but after reading this book I took a virtual tour of the Hotel Metropol and dreamed of visiting.
This one had the most satisfying ending! I absolutely adored it.
And because it was so hard to cut this list down to 6(ish), here are my honorable mentions for 2017:
- Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
- Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett
- Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
- The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin (the book...not the movie!)
- Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang (was narrowly knocked off my The Rules of Magic)