Our Favourite Books So Far in 2017

Chloe

2017 has seen the release of some fantastic books - and we're only halfway through the year! Our staff look back on their favourite books published so far this year.

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HELEN, bookseller & special orders extraordinaire

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay [Fiction/ Short Stories]

"I'm making an effort to read more short stories this year. Gay's collection of stories were written early on in her career while at university. This book explores the lives of women who because of sex, race, class or attitude have been labelled difficult. Sex and sexual trauma are common themes throughout the collection where just occasionally a dark twist moves to a happy ending." 

Depends What You Mean by Extremist by John Safran [Non-Fiction/ Culture]

"With his unique humour, Safran pushes boundaries as he explores the rise of political extremism in mainstream Australia over the past two years. After reading the book I certainly feel more informed and amused but slightly more confused about the current Australian political climate. Think I'll stick to supporting the Animal Justice Party."

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CHRIS, bookseller & social media manager

"I haven't read as much as I'd like to this year (unless you count reciting Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site every night for 9 months), but here are my favourite fiction and nonfiction titles:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders [Fiction]

I've been a George Saunders fan forever, and it's so pleasing to see the wider literary world finally paying him his dues! Lincoln in the Bardo is Saunders at his best: inventive, heartfelt and utterly absorbing. 

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann  [History]

Arguably the best narrative journalist working today, Grann has uncovered a fascinating and horrifying slice of American history that will stay with you long after you turn the final page." 

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TRENT, bookseller & sci-fi/fantasy expert

Bourne by Jeff Vandermeer [Sci-Fi/ Fantasy]

An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen [Fiction/ Sci-Fi]

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders [Fiction]

"All of these novels are rich, imaginative novels each exhibiting a deep humanity (which is something remarkable in Krissy’s work considering it is exploring the nascence of a post-human future). Also, Jeff’s book has a giant floating bear, and is the best giant floating bear book ever written."

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CHLOË, bookseller & Where the Wild Things Are website manager

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin  [Fiction]

"This book is strange, intriguing, unusual, and addictive. It's very short but packs a big punch. I always judge books on three factors - my initial reaction, its level of addiction, and the lasting impression it makes on me. This book won me over in all of these areas due to it's unsettling and dreamlike quality, as well as it's well-paced plot."

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay [Fiction/ Short Stories]

"These short stories are very powerful and, at times, disturbing. They almost read like mini-mysteries, with each woman's life and issues slowly unfolding. These stories are a beautifully written collection highlighting the plight of misunderstood women. I couldn't put down the book until I had finished them all."

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer [Sci-Fi/ Fantasy]

"I just loved this book. It has fantastic world-building and beautiful characters that continue to grow and reveal new dimensions. The plot is truly intriguing, original, and satisfying. Filled with mutant creatures and a terrifying vision of a plausible dystopian future, I found myself completely immersed in this book until the very last page." 

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KRISSY, bookseller & events manager

A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley Hay [Fiction]

Bright Air Black by David Vann [Fiction]

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders [Fiction]

Anaesthesia by Kate Cole Adams [Science]

Torpor by Chris Kraus [Fiction]

The Unaccompanied by Simon Armitage [Poetry]

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter [Fiction]

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MADDY, bookseller & events co-ordinator

Anaesthesia by Kate Cole Adams [Science]

"This book opened my mind to the limitless possibilities of non-fiction. It's a raw and revealing memoir, a deeply researched scientific investigation, and poses some mind blowing spiritual and philosophical questions. It's also beautifully written and so readable. Loved every second of it." 

Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong [Fiction]

"I was curious to see what a fiction book from one of my favourite food writers (Rachel Khong was the editor of the now sadly defunct Lucky Peach magazine) and it wholly exceed expectations. Funny, moving, sometimes caustically clever, Khong takes a small, sad story of a recently heartbroken woman moving back home to help look after her ailing father and turns it into something sweetly resonant and human." 

The Gulf by Anna Spargo-Ryan [Fiction]

"Anna Spargo-Ryan's tale of Australian suburban family, poverty and crime through the eyes of a teenage narrator is unflinching, sometimes brutal, but ultimately a story of resilience. I was drawn in by how well Spargo-Ryan conjured the derelict hopelessness of so many small towns, and how sensitively handled but horrifically real the depiction of domestic and family violence was." 

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FIONA, boss lady

Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me by Bill Hayes [Memoir]

"This book is one of the most moving and inspiring books I have read for a long time. It's a hymn to New York, to photography to Oliver Sacks and to taking risks in life. I love it so much I have had to stop myself foisting it upon everyone who comes into the shop even if they really came into buy a cookbook!"

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose [Fiction]

"The winner of this year's Stella Prize for women writers is the imaginatively written and thought provoking novel The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose. Inspired by the life of performance artist Marina Abramovic it's already proved very popular with our book clubs."

Music and Freedom by Zoe Morrison [Fiction]

"This book is a beautiful debut novel about music, marriage and the power of creativity to transform our lives. It's a novel that tugged at my heart and has stayed with me since I finished the last page."

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KEV, boss man

To Become A Whale by Ben Hobson [Fiction]

"There is much to like about Ben Hobson's debut novel To Become a Whale. Set around Noosa and Tangalooma whaling station in 1961, Hobson tells the story of 13-year-old Sam Keogh whose mother has died and is now living with his insular father who decides that it's time for Sam to become a man within the whaling community. You cannot help but feel for Sam in this emotionally fraught father-son story where Hobson conveys more by what is left unsaid then said. You can sense the tension and imagine the landscape in this beautifully told story."

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami [Fiction/ Short Stories]

One Pan Roasts by Shuster Molly [Cooking] 

"Over the past few weeks, I have been working my way through One Pan Roasts by Molly Shuster and each recipe is a dead-set winner. Many of the dishes take no time to prepare or to cook and there is very little cleaning up. I can't recommend this book more highly."

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SARAH, bookseller & book buyer

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle [Fiction]

Refugees by Tiet Thanh Nguyen [Fiction]

Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me by Bill Hayes [Memoir]

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami [Fiction/ Short Stories]