JAF's Top 3 Reads of 2017

As we get comfortable in this new, yet to be established year that is 2018, we at JAF Ink wanted to offer your our humble selections for our favourite three reads of the year that just slipped away. To avoid bloodshed (we like to settle things with duels) we decided that each of us would get to create our own lists instead of trying to agree on 3 collectively. This, somehow, still ended up being a difficult endeavor, because all books deserve love and attention.

So without further ado, and with acknowledgments that there were many books that could have been on the list but then it would no longer be a top '3' but probably a top a million, here are JAF's Top 9 Books of 2017.

J of JAF:

In an attempt to list the top 3 books of 2017, I've decided to list the books I thoroughly enjoyed, the ones that made me laugh, gave me that fuzzy feeling inside, or found myself thinking about long after I put the book down. My fellow bookdragons, I present to you my top 3:

  • If you're looking for comedy where you least expect it: We are legion, We are Bob by Dennis E. Taylor.

  • If you're looking for a magical ride into faerie then hop on this fantastic read: Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

  • For the advice you truly need right now in your life, (and don't even know it): The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

A of JAF:

In 2017 (according to goodreads) I rated seven of the 56 books I read a whooping 5/5 🌟 (or, as we like to rate overhear at JAF headquarters, 5/5 🐲. These highly rated selections included everything from a memoir to high fantasy, and many genres in between. So, when I picked my top three out of the seven, it was more to give a diverse option for those who might not have read the books/are looking for recommendations, than an actual indication of favoritism. Because I am bad at picking favorites. But, for the sake of this list, I am putting aside my inherent dislike of recommending (for fear of the other person severally disliking the recommendation and forever associating me with said dislike... it's a rabbit hole we don't want to go down), and picking just three books.

Scratch that, I'm listing all of them.

  • If you're looking for short stories - The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo - A selection of dark, original fairytales reminsicent of the Brother's Grimm, set in the wonderful Grishaverse. Full review here!

  • If you're looking for a good cry - A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness - Beautiful and heartbreaking, a story about dealing with pain and loss and guilt.

  • If you're looking for poetry - No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay - Beautifully written, a combination of memoir-like pieces and flowing poetic language.

Honorable Mentions: Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Anderson, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

F of JAF:

Being an indecisive book dragon through and through I hate curating a "top anything" list. I like things to to be safely cushioned by context and careful consideration. I prefer to engage in conversation about theme, structure, content rather than simplify the overall experience. Yet, in the spirit of being a good sport i have narrowed down my list to three books I thoroughly enjoyed this year and would pass on to friends of mine.

  • If you want to humanize your heroes: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind - while I had several issues with the book- which wasn't the books fault, really, so much as the people involved in the film industry themselves being just skeezy loathsome humans- this is somewhat of an archival treasure of a time period in Hollywood and is definitely worth the read.

  • If you're looking for a story highlighting the community versus the individual: The Mothers by Brit Bennett- A beautiful debut novel that left a lasting impression. A story about community, love, ambition, and the struggle of letting go of the past to move into the future.

  • For any "third culture kid" or anyone who calls home several places: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This was a reminder of how simultaneously big and small the world really is. The story is honest, direct, filled with real vulnerable characters trying to find their place in the world.

May your 2018 be filled with many more fantastic reads.

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