I’m going to ignore how terrible a year it was, in so many ways, and just look at the books and film I enjoyed this year.
I just about made my target of 105 books read in 2017, the longest of which was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It is a big big book, over 1,000 pages. But I loved it. I’d reread it again, but maybe not this year.
I didn’t review every book I read, but of those that I did 34 were by women, and 21 by men1 . Six were by Irish authors, I think I need to do better there, 21 by UK authors, and 23 by US ones. Which leaves only 5 from other countries. That I certainly need to do better on. Only three books were by LGBTQ authors2 and only 10 featured LGBTQ characters. That’s less than one fifth.
As for my favourite book of the year…
Let’s see I really enjoyed The Secret Horses of Briar Hill with its wonderfull fairy tale feel and winged horses.
I also reread Good Omens and I adore that book.
Then there was Keeping the world away which was a wonderful tale about women and women’s lives through the story of a painting.
H is for Hawk is a definite contender, a book about grief and depression that is so beautifully written.
And of course there is Guards! Guards! which is just a fantastic book.
I also loved Gnomon, which was another big book, 700 pages of alternating stories woven together to talk about politics and society, surveillance and democracy.
The high mountains of Portugal was a real surprise, another collection of tales about life and people and the nature of humanity.
And then there was The Power, which reimagined a society where women had the physical power and how that changed everything, but nothing all at the same time.
All systems red was another book with a great narrator, who doesn’t love a murderbot who wants to do nothing but watch the soaps.
And for something utterly different there was the wonderful River of Teeth which took for its starting inspiration a plan to introduce hippos to the US.
I also reread Sunshine in 2017, one of the greatest urban fantasy books I think.
How do you compare that to the violent, visceral sci-fi that is The Stars are Legion?
Or that to the wonderfully good-hearted, character driven children’s book that is The Dragon with a chocolate heart?
In short, you can’t. And any of those books could be my favourite read of 2017, so you pick one and tell me why it is better than any of the others!
Filmwise, well Moonlight and Detroit were both such awesome awesome films. But there was also Dunkirk, and Logan, and Hidden Figures. There was Blade Runner 2049, and Fate of the Furious and A Monster Calls. I think you could argue for any one of those. Personally Moonlight and A Monster Calls were my standouts of 2017, but again there were plenty of great films.
Have you any favourites? How do you even decide what your favourite was? Or can you? As you can see, I, usually, cannot.