Top Ten Tuesday: My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2017

December 12, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is: Top 10 Favorite Books of 2017

I know there are a lot of bloggers out there who are going to ONLY list 2017 new releases. However, I rarely read releases from this year. My To Read list is just far too long! Instead, I’ll be listing out the top books I read this past year. Many of them are probably your old favorites. That’s great! At least I finally found it.

You’ll also notice throughout this list that there are very few links back to my posted reviews. The books listed below all earned 5 stars from me this year. However, I have a bit of a mental block when it comes to writing reviews of books I enjoy that much. Rarely do I find the mental space to articulate in a way suitable to me how this book influenced me. This gives me an outlet to present my favorite books from 2017 without the pressure of writing an articulate review!

Without further ado…

All titles below are links to the book’s Goodreads page.


Top 10 Books I Read in 2017


Half A War (Shattered Sea #3) by Joe Abercrombie


Half a War is the conclusion to the Shattered Sea trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Over the course of the past 18 months, David and I have listened to the entire trilogy during our long road trips to our parent’s houses. We fell in love with these characters and their story. To this day, we still randomly share our favorite quotes with each other. And John Keating is now our favorite audiobook narrator!

Highly recommended for anyone interested in a unique fantasy trilogy.


American Gods by Neil Gaiman


I love Gaiman’s writing. What blows me away about American Gods is that Shadow has no idea what is going on. As our protagonist, you think that would put a damper on the reader’s engagement. Nope! Instead, I was completely enraptured. I haven’t seen the show and I have no intention to– this is perfect just the way it is.

Strongly recommended for lovers of the written word who enjoy getting lost in a story.


Dumplin’ (Dumplin’, #1) by Julie Murphy


Dumplin’ is a book which found me at the perfect time. When I read it, I was in need for something empowering, uplifting, and fun. Dumplin’ was all that and more. I know that this book is a candidate for a re-read where I might give a lower star-rating in the future. But that’s okay. Julie Murphy connected deeply with me during this read. And that’s all that matters.

Strongly recommended for anyone who needs to let go of societal expectations.

My Review: Dumplin


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman


This one is a bit of a cheat. I’m currently around 84% complete with Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. However, I already know this is going to be one of my favorite reads of 2017 no matter what happens in this last 15%.  A huge thank you to Ottavia @ Novels and Nonfiction for recommending this to me! I am in love with this audiobook.

Highly recommended for anyone who has suppressed memories or feels like they are supposed to be an outsider.


Anne’s House of Dreams (Anne of Green Gables #5) by L.M. Montgomery


I would be remiss if at least ONE Anne of Green Gables book wasn’t on here! While I will always have a soft spot for Anne of Green Gables herself, I have connected the most to this book out of the entire series. Part of it probably has to do with where I stand in my life — I am about to get married and start this chapter of my own life. But I also think Montgomery found the right balance between Anne as the focus of these novels and the world around her.

Highly recommended for all Anne Shirley fans!

My Review: Anne’s House of Dreams


Hattie Big Sky (Hattie, #1) by Kirby Larson


I’m amazed this is the only epistolary novel which made this list! I love epistolary novels. This historical fiction tells the tale of homesteading in America during World War I. I instantly fell for these well-crafted characters, and I hope you will too. This story pulled me in quickly and kept me turning the pages long into the night. 

Highly recommended to all fans of historical fiction or epistolary novels.


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


Every time I look at this book I get chills. The Alchemist moved me so much I still can’t figure out how to write my review! Coelho’s writing left me pondering about things beyond the pages of his book which isn’t something I do often after reading. I know it doesn’t float everyone’s boat, but I think there is magic in that too. I love being one of the people who truly connected with the text.

Recommended for anyone who is looking to explore spiritual quests with an open mind.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison



One of my most recent reads, The Goblin Emperor was an unexpected gem. I am typically not a fan of political fantasy. However, this goes far beyond what you’d expect. Truly, this is a magnificent character study in a well-defined setting. Plus, Kyle McCarley is now a must-listen audiobook narrator on my list.

Highly recommended for those who love character studies or are looking for a standalone fantasy novel.


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston


A recommendation from Melanie @ Grab the Lapels, I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did. Hurston’s writing grabbed me from the start. I am thankful I listened to the audiobook if only to help me understand the weaving of colloquial southern black dialects and poetic prose more closely.

Highly recommended to those who get lost in the beauty of language.

My Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God


Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier


Rebecca is my first foray into gothic literature– how had I avoided this genre so much before?! The pacing is perfect. The setting clearly cut. The characters imperfect and cloaked in mystery. I didn’t realize this would be a mystery or a ghost story. And in many ways, Rebecca is both those things and neither of those things.

Highly recommended to everyone. Literally everyone.
Well, except perhaps my 2-year-old niece.



Looking at this list, I see that non-fiction and poetry didn’t particularly blow me away this year. That’s a bit disappointing, honestly. I hope that next year I’ll be able to find more which catch my eye. I know I like those genres, I just can’t seem to select books on my own which inspire me.

Another fascinating trend is that 7 of the 10 books listed I consumed in audio format. That’s a trend I’ll definitely want to explore more going into 2018. Perhaps there is something about how I connect to books in audio form vs. reading the text with my eyes? More to come on that in 2018.

What do you think?

  • Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday? Share your links below!
  • Which books from this list have you read? What are your favorites?
  • What are your favorite books of 2017? Why?
  • What non-fiction and poetry books blew you away this year? What are your favorite audiobooks? Share your recommendations for my 2018 TBR!


  • Captain's Quarters December 13, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Extremely nice well rounded list. The ones I have read I love and many of these are on the ports fer plunder list. Arrrr!
    x The Captain

    • Jackie B December 14, 2017 at 11:07 am

      I *adore* you have a Ports Fer Plunder list. That makes me so happy!! Which of these books on both of our lists are you most excited to read? Why?

      • Captain's Quarters December 15, 2017 at 10:58 am

        Well the ones I have read are american gods, anne’s house of dreams, the goblin emperor, their eyes were watching god, and rebecca. I own all of them, adore them, and keep copies in me cabin on the hopes of rereadin’ them in the future. The alchemist was just ok and I have no urge to read dumpling. I am hard pressed to read contemporaries without fantasy or sci-fi bents. The hattie book is now on the list. I had never heard of it before but am all for epistolary novels. The oliphant book’s title keeps me hooked and so I keep readin’ the synopsis. I don’t know exactly why the synopsis appeals so much but I just feel like it is a must read. And then it appeared on this list so. Yup have to read it. And I love Joe Abercrombie and haven’t read this series but do own the first and second books. I have to be in the right mood for it and it hasn’t happened yet. But it will someday. So I be looking forward to it. My ports fer plunder list is back over the 1000 mark. And I added 10 orbit books today based on one newsletter. Yikes!
        x The Captain

        • Jackie B December 22, 2017 at 4:57 pm

          I love it when we can read these sorts of lists and there is a lot of overlap. While there is excitement in learning about other books people have enjoyed and growing my TBR, I really love discussing books with people. Finding out we’ve read the same books is super exciting!

          Wow! I’m impressed you own all 5 of these books. It’s great not to be alone in this. I’m sure I’ll also re-read all those books some day (if I can ever manage a single re-read O_o).

          I didn’t expect to enjoy Dumplin as much as I did. I can understand why you would pass on reading it. It feels like contemporaries are more miss than hit for me lately. But I keep going back with the hopes I’ll find some I absolutely love! I guess I need to find someone who loves similar books compared to me to pick recommendations?

          Hattie Big Sky is totally worth it. Though, my favorite epistolary novel is The Guernsey Literary and Potato-Peel Pie Society. What are your favorite epistolaries? I’d love to get more recommendations!

          Over 1000 ports to plunder?! You are an ambitious Captain! What are you looking forward to the most?

  • Helen Murdoch December 13, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    I loved Dumplin’; I thought the characters and the plot were fantastic. I have Eleanor Oliphant on my TBR list.

    • Jackie B December 14, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad that books on my Top 10 list resonate with you, Helen! Dumplin is just a breath of fresh air to me; I adore it.

      I hope you get to Eleanor Oliphant soon. I’m in love with this book. Do you enjoy audiobooks? Think it’s very well executed (as long as you can keep track of when Eleanor is speaking to people versus in her head).

  • Laila@BigReadingLife December 13, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Yay, what a fun list. My year-end lists are also not necessarily just this year’s releases. (I’ll do one in a couple of weeks.) Glad you enjoyed Rebecca so much! I’m pretty sure it’ll be on my Best Of list too.

    • Jackie B December 14, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      I love the year-end wrap up posts. It’s so fun to see what everyone has accomplished and how excited everyone is for the new year. I can’t wait to see what makes your cut!

  • Grab the Lapels December 13, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    I’m definitely on board with Rebecca, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Anne’s House of Dreams, The Alchemist, and Dumplin’ (which I’ll be reading in January because I talked my book club into it!!). I read The Alchemist in Literary Interpretation of Film in college. I remember I had to rewrite a scene from the book for an assignment, so I was VERY overdramatic about it. American Gods… I’m not on board with. I think you and I discussed how my copy was the 10 year anniversary edition that was not edited for content so it RAMBLED. There was hundreds of extra pages, but Gaiman noted that the anniversary edition was how he really envisioned the novel.

    • Jackie B December 14, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      I’m so excited that you talked your book club into reading Dumplin! I hope that you find it as empowering as I did. It is a breath of fresh air compared to the world around us and its current state– far too much negativity in the world. It felt great to see someone combat it!

      Hahaha! I’d love to read that scene you rewrote from The Alchemist. What did you think of the book overall? It struck a chord with me, but I feel like I’m in the minority here. Again– hope as a theme in books makes me so happy.

      I recall us talking about American Gods earlier this year, yes! I did read the 10-Year anniversary edition, but I loved the pacing. The rambling felt… appropriate? I think I want to read the original published text soon so I can compare the two. I wonder if I’ll find the more condensed version a better read? I heard some things were changed as far as the story is concerned, as well. Little things, though, nothing huge. I wonder if I’ll even notice those.

      • Grab the Lapels December 14, 2017 at 6:42 pm

        I remember being surprised that The Alchemist ended where it began. Like, it was cheating. But I think I liked the book otherwise. It’s been 14 years

        • Jackie B December 22, 2017 at 4:50 pm

          Do you ever reread books? When I recall books I loved long ago I always get nostalgic for a re-read. Recently, I’ve really wanted to dig into The Ancient One by T.A. Barron– it was a favorite of mine in childhood.

          • Grab the Lapels December 22, 2017 at 5:45 pm

            Sometimes. I read Rebecca in 2016 and then read it aloud to my husband in 2017. I also love to read The Rabbi’s Cat books 1 & 2 repeatedly. They are graphic novels by Joann Sfar. Since I started GTL in 2013, I sure do reread a lot less. I’ve keep some books from college that I’d like to reread (because I had to cram through them in school).

            • Jackie B December 31, 2017 at 2:26 pm

              I haven’t read anything by Joann Sfar, but I’ve heard great things about The Rabbi’s Cat. The art just never captured me enough for me to pick it up, I guess. Not I must!

              I understand the want to re-read college books. There are books I read in school which I never really appreciated. I either read them too young (like Animal Farm before studying Russian history at all…) or I was so over being told what to think of the book that I feel I need another go at it. Good to know I’m not alone!

              And wow! You’ve been blogging since 2013. I’m super impressed.

              • Grab the Lapels December 31, 2017 at 2:40 pm

                Thanks, Jackie! I’m surprised that I’ve never taken a hiatus either. A lot of the drive to keep going comes from carefully culling bloggers who like posts but don’t write/talk to me. I used to try and follow everyone, but I got overwhelmed and saw no more traffic to my posts as a result. When no one would come, I sure felt like quitting! It would be silly to me to say I blog for myself because if that were the case, I would just leave some notes on Goodreads.

              • Jackie B January 4, 2018 at 4:16 pm

                I don’t think it’s silly to say that you blog for yourself, honestly. I find that it’s more meaningful to connect with other readers through blogs than via Goodreads. There is something a bit impersonal about Goodreads; it’s harder to have a dialogue with the message board format and lack of tiered comments. Plus, I like the flexibility of being able to talk about non-book things once in a while. I love knowing that the people I interact with across the globe are REAL, too!

                I’m still struggling to figure out the balance on my blog hopping and following. I hope to take a page out of your book this year and see if I can be more meticulous about my community. Thanks for the tip!

  • Krysta December 13, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Yes!! I’m glad Anne made it onto the list! I haven’t read Dumplin’ yet, but it’s good to know you enjoyed it so much!

    • Jackie B December 22, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Thank you, Krysta! It was a fun list to compile. What a great trip down memory lane– It’s astounding how much we can forget over the course of the year. It’s nice to recall I had some really positive reading experiences earlier in the year.

      I look forward to hearing your thoughts around Dumplin! I hope that I’m not alone in loving it.

  • Shouni December 14, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Wonderful list, Jackie! These all sound wonderful! My favorite would have to be Anne’s House of Dreams. Their Eyes Were Watching God is also a great book, I think I would’ve liked it a lot more if I had also listened to the audiobook since the dialect was hard for me to read at times. Dumplin’ is on my list of books to read so hopefully I’ll get to that soon.

    • Jackie B December 22, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Thank you so much, Shouni! I love reading everyone’s different top lists of the year because I find so much diversity between the blogs I follow. There are always amazing new books to read.

      I can imagine how Their Eyes Were Watching God would be challenging if you are reading all the dialect. There is a ton of it in there! But I’m glad you enjoyed it just the same; that can be a deal breaker for most casual readers.

      I look forward to hearing what you think of Dumplin when you get to it. It was just the right book for me in the moment!

  • Lashaan (Bookidote) December 14, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    American Gods was quite the read! The first Gaiman novel that I read from him too (I did read a couple comics from him before though). I also read and enjoyed The Alchemist back in high school. We read it in French though. I’ve been meaning to read it in English for quite some time now. 😀 Great list!

    • Captain's Quarters December 15, 2017 at 11:00 am

      I wish I could read in another language. I know smatterings of words due to all the ports I have been in and the people I know. I can read French menus, signs, and ask for directions in that language. I want a babel fish so badly!
      x The Captain

      • Jackie B December 22, 2017 at 4:58 pm

        It would be amazing if we had a proper Babel Fish! I always wonder when I read books in translation how much I’m missing out on— both in terms of context and poetic merit.

    • Jackie B December 22, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      Your first Gaiman novels was American Gods?! That’s quite an undertaking. Do you know if you read the original published version or the Author’s Preferred text? What did you think?

      I love that you read The Alchemist in French! It’s original language is Portuguese. I wonder how different your experience would be reading it in English this time… I’m very curious.

      • Lashaan (Bookidote) December 23, 2017 at 6:13 pm

        Original one. 🙂 It was a massive ride. I liked the theme of immigration that was presented. Loved the characters and the twists. Still found it a bit rocky and sometimes super slow-paced. It definitely showed me why Gaiman was a fantastic writer. Still plan on trying out more of his books, if not all of them. 😀

        Doubt I could read Portuguese even if I do have a little bit of Spanish in my baggage. French was pretty decent though. And I read it a very long time ago so I think a reread in English would be very ideal right now. 🙂

        • Jackie B January 5, 2018 at 12:52 pm

          Yes to all your thoughts on American Gods. I also appreciate the theme of The Other and how those labels are presented; that not everything is what it seems. The slow-pacing really worked for me for some reason, but I read the Authors-Preferred Text which is a couple hundred pages longer, so perhaps the pacing was evenly super-slow?

          There are a lot of great Gaiman novels out there. I enjoyed all his MG/YA texts, particularly which is a Jungle Book retelling, only a bit creepier. 😉 I am about to pick up Neverwhere and I couldn’t be more excited!

          I look forward to reading you future reflections on The Alchemist and seeing how French vs. English, younger vs. older thoughts compare.

  • Annemieke December 16, 2017 at 6:34 am

    I saw The Goblin Emperor in someone’s haul earlier this year and knew that it had to be on my list. I still haven’t gotten it though yet but I think I will really like that one. I have had the first Half a War book on my ereader for quite a while now. I really need to start it.

    • Jackie B December 22, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      They are (obviously, as per this post) some of my all-time favorites. And they are VERY different books. The Goblin Emperor is more of a character study while The Shattered Sea trilogy is really more classically fantasy. One of my friends said that she recently DNF’d Half a King because she couldn’t get into it… If you find that is the case, and you are able to find the audiobook, I STRONGLY recommed it. I just picked up a book from the library solely because he is the narrator. I literally didn’t read the synopsis. O_o

  • Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf December 22, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    I’m impressed you narrowed down the Anne books to just one! That was one of my favorites too! Definitely just added several books to my TBR from your list too 🙂

    • Jackie B December 22, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      XD Well, I narrowed this down to just one otherwise the whole list would be Anne books! But seriously, I only have two Anne books which I gave 5 stars (thus far). I wanted to highlight the less-well-known one, as the other is Anne of Green Gables itself.

      What books did you add to your TBR? I’m so curious!

      • Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf December 23, 2017 at 4:56 pm

        Haha fair enough! I gave Rainbow Valley and Rilla 5 stars as well 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying them! I added Eleanor Ophilant, Hattie Big Sky, and need to move up The Alchemist (sounds fascinating!)

  • theorangutanlibrarian December 27, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Awesome list!! I am crazy excited for Eleanor Oliphant!! I actually got it for Hanukkah and am crazy excited for it!! And Anne is a great choice (and I feel like it’s been a huge part of your reading year based on your blog 😉 ) Their Eyes Were Watching God is truly beautifully written and I love it. Also, Rebecca is one of my mum’s favourite books, so she gave it to me as soon as she possibly could and I’ve been in love with Du Maurier ever since 🙂

    • Jackie B January 2, 2018 at 11:16 pm

      Thank you so much! I cannot wait to hear what you think of it. I get so nervous when my favorite blogger are picking up my favorite books– what if I over hyped it for them? What if I’m just plain WRONG?! GASP! But, seriously– That’s a great Hanukkah present. XD

      Yes, I did feel like I needed to select an Anne book after co-hosting the #AnneReadalong2017. But they are also so beautiful. I love how they remind me to appreciate the little things and the people around me.

      I haven’t read any other du Maurier books yet! Any recommendations?

      • theorangutanlibrarian January 3, 2018 at 11:13 am

        You’re welcome!! haha no worries!! I think we all get like that with our favourite books. It really was 😀

        Totally get that!! Aw that’s lovely!!

        Ooh yes!! I always liked the Frenchman’s Creek and the King’s General- if I remember correctly, and it was a long time since I read them so I might not, they were historical romances. And Jamaica Inn and My Cousin Rachel were really atmospheric too.

        • Jackie B January 5, 2018 at 10:31 am

          Oh wow! I didn’t realize du Maurier was so prolific! It looks like I have my work cut out for me next year. Yay! Thanks for all the recommendations.

  • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks December 28, 2017 at 9:18 am

    I liked American Gods, but to me it’s still… only half as good as the other stuff Gaiman has written 🙂 I forget, have you read any of his other books?

    Dumplin’ rocked 🙂 are you waiting for the next one? Apparently, it’s about Millie (yay!) and Callie (boo..? o.o)

    I wanted to read Eleanor Oliphant, but ended up not getting the ARC, and when I don’t, I’m often reluctant to buy, cause HEY HO, 500 other books 😀

    I haven’t even heard of Hattie Big Sky!

    As for The Alchemist… I kind of liked it when I was a teen, but after that I just sort of felt eye-rolly 😀 it’s full of this candied dime store wisdom, I just don’t know. It’s a bit much. It’s just.. when you start reading more ‘spiritual’ books, this one becomes so pop. Although it’s a good initiator, I guess 🙂

    And yay for Rebecca! Amazing book. Read The Thirteenth Tale yet? YOU MUST.

    I don’t think I’ll be doing my own list of favorite reads though… Because it’s just so hard to pick!!

    • Jackie B January 5, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      I’ve actually read quite a few Neil Gaiman books. I’ve already read about half of his The Sandman graphic novels, but once they started to get really gruesome I had to stop. I don’t particularly enjoy the details of violence and the graphic nature of it… well… Neverwhere and Stardust are on my 2018 To Read list. What is your favorite Gaiman novel?

      I am super excited for Puddin’! I hope it’s just as empowering and lighthearted as the last novel.

      Bah. Not getting approved for ARCs when you are in Lithuania sounds frustrating. Mostly because it’s so hard to get a lot of these books where you are, I imagine. I just borrowed a copy from the library. Edelweiss must be soooo critical to you. Are you still requesting books on NetGalley? Or just wrapping up reading those ARCs?

      I don’t read a lot of spiritual texts, fiction or non-fiction. I don’t have much to compare The Alchemist to in this case. I understand how it might be “candied dime store wisdom”, but it really resonated with me. I’m not much of a philosopher. Perhaps you could recommend some other texts you found more fulfilling?

      No! I’m such a slacker! I haven’t read The Thirteenth Tale yet! Oy. What am I doing with me life?! XD I guess I must put together a 2018 TBR to help me keep track of all these books people have asked me to read which I haven’t gotten to yet. Oops.

      Okay, if you aren’t doing a list at least tell me what book from 2017 is the one which sticks out in your mind the most. What book do you recommend the most to others?

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom January 4, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    I’ve read 3 books off this list! I read The Alchemist back in 2016 and really took a lot away from it. I also had a hard time writing my review, so instead I listed out a few things I learned from the book 🙂 I listened to it via audiobook and it still remains one of my favorite narrations.

    • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom January 4, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Anne House of Dreams is one of my favorites in the series thus far too. I really enjoyed the first book, Anne of the Island (#3), and House of Dreams the most.

    • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom January 4, 2018 at 7:32 pm

      I struggled with the MC in Their Eyes Were Watching God. The writing was exquisite and the audiobook was beautifully narrated, but I just couldn’t get past my frustrations. Maybe I’ll try again some day.

      • Jackie B January 5, 2018 at 3:52 pm

        That’s actually a really great alternative to writing a proper review. I should get more creative when I’m thinking about my reviews…. A list of learnings from The Alchemist similar to what I learned from Anne should be easier than trying to explain how it impacted me. I, too, listened to the audiobook! I think that helped me stay focused. I haven’t sought out books narrated by Larry Amos Jr… is that who narrated your version? What other books did he narrate you’d recommend/

        Yes! Great minds think alike; 1,3,5 are my favorites for sure. It’s been such a wonderful adventure getting to know Anne Shirley Blythe and her family.I will be sad when it’s all over.

        I’m intrigued that you found Janie Starks challenging. There are far too many books in the world for you to try again some day just because others loved it and you didn’t. It’s okay to not get it with some books! Do you recall what you struggled with when it came ot Janie?

  • Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads January 14, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    DUMPLIN’ YESSS!! I freaking love that book so much! I’m both super excited and very nervous for the movie adaptation. I hope it does it justice!

    • Jackie B January 20, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      I think Jennifer Aniston will be an AMAZING Rosie Dickson. I am really excited for the film, but I am also a bit anxious they won’t do it justice. I want the focus to still be on what Willowdean is going through and NOT on the pagent itself, right?

      • Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads February 2, 2018 at 1:26 pm

        Yesss, same here. I feel that way every time a book (especially one I really loved) gets a movie adaptation. It’s way too easy for Hollywood to switch the main focus of the story so that you get something almost completely different out of the movie than you did from the book.

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