My five star reads of 2017
It’s been years since I’ve read as many books as I’ve read this year. Forty-six, for the record (plus an additional three I gave up on). It’s felt good reading so much. Especially fiction — I’ve loved rediscovering the joy of novels in recent times after years of mostly non-fiction books.
People are often interested in the books I read and so I thought I’d share my top books from this year. I’ve given each book I read a starred rating upon completion, and what I share below are the books that I gave five stars.
In the order I read them, these are:
The Pastor by Eugene Peterson
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
What Is The Bible by Rob Bell
How To Stop Time by Matt Haig
The Theology of Ordinary by Julie Canlis
The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher Heuertz
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
Do I have a favourite from this list of nine? I’m glad you asked. Homegoing is my answer. I loved this book on so many levels. The story is rich, compelling, and deeply moving. Here’s what I wrote about it at the time:
I read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi over Easter weekend and it has gone straight to the top of my list of favourite books for 2017.
It’s the story two half sisters are born into different villages in Ghana in the eighteenth century, each unaware of the other. One marries an English slave trader, living in comfort at Cape Coast Castle. The other is captured and imprisoned in the very same castle, and then sold into slavery.
Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem.
It’s an extraordinary novel that shines a powerful light on the legacy of slavery. Gyasi’s approach, with each chapter essentially a new story based around a single character from the next generation, is bold and evocative.
Having been to Ghana on several occasions, and also having visited Cape Coast Castle — one of the most heartbreakingly moving experiences of my life — the book carried extra personal resonance.
It is a rich and emotive book, wonderfully written. Despite the backdrop of slavery though, it avoids feeling heavy.
Highly recommended if you’re after an intelligent, beautiful novel with depth, meaning, and emotion.
What have been your favourite reads of 2017?