Reading is my ultimate favorite hobby. I’m the kind of person to go on walks while reading a book, do chores while reading a book, and read a book in the shower (this is something I actually do). However, I am also the kind of person to re-read the same books over and over again… Harry Potter every Christmas, Pretty Little Liars every summer, etc.
This year I made it a personal goal to break that habit a bit by reading books I’ve never read before in between my usual seasonal series re-reads. Thus we have my top five books of the year, based on my absolute favorite new books I gave a chance to in 2017.
5. Bleaker House by Nell Stevens
I was first drawn to Bleaker House when I read an excerpt by Nell Stevens in a Vogue magazine. I fell in love with her articulation of words and could hear my own voice as a writer relating to her work. Based on her three month stay on Bleaker Island with absolutely no distractions and a need to write a novel, Nell Stevens’ memoir is a puzzle-like structure with an artistic look into her own mind and I would recommend it to any creative who feels as if they are stuck.
4. The House of Seven Colors by Madeline Sunshine
Strange as it may seem to see this one on my list, it has earned its spot. The House of Seven Colors was my absolute favorite book as a child, and, over the years, it ended up somewhere else. My mom scoured the internet to search for this book as a Christmas gift to me and still won’t tell me exactly what she had to go through to get her hands on it. My recommendation here isn’t for this book, exactly, but for everyone to go out and track down their favorite book from their childhood. Embrace the magic of youth.
3. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Plain and simple, the world needs more books like this. I was happily surprised to find an LGBTQ+ romance novel integrated into my school library and on every recommended reading list. I think many will find comfort in Simon’s uplifting and human experience in a setting that is so normal it’s easily recognizable. I’m counting the days for the movie premiere of “Love, Simon,” modeled after this novel.
2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I had been wanting to read The Bell Jar for quite some time and I’m glad I finally did. Incredibly well written and deep, this book tells the story of a young woman and her descent into psychosis, heavily modeled after Sylvia Plath’s own story. After reading this novel twice in a row to fully consider every parallel, it surpassed The Great Gatsby on my list of favorite classics.
1. Hot Milk by Deborah Levy
Hot Milk wins my spot for best book of the year. This is a bit ironic, as I didn’t like the book at first and thought it was hard to get into, with no definitive plot. But, much like The Bell Jar, I immediately re-read the book and saw it in a different light. Each and every sentence can be viewed with deeper meanings and every person can take something different from this novel. I’d also recommend this for anyone looking for an interesting LGBTQ+ read, as Hot Milk takes on the subject in a way I’ve never experienced in a novel before. A round of applause for Deborah Levy!
P.S – I bought this book largely for its title, not gonna lie
Let me know in the comment section below what books you loved in 2017!