The Top 47 from the Best Books of 2017 List of Lists

This is my community service to book-bloggers – a list of the books that appear most frequently on all of the lists (32 of them) I listed on Best Books of 2017 – A List of Lists.

So here it is, the 2017 Commonly-Agreed-by-the-People-Who-Publish-Best-of-2017-Book-Lists-Before-December-31 top 47 books.

Books that made five lists –

01. The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst
02. Winter by Ali Smith
03. Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
04. Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong
05. The Answers: A Novel by Catherine Lacey
06. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
07. The Dinner Party and Other Stories by Joshua Ferris
08. Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin
09. The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch
10. The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
11. The Locals by Jonathan Dee
12. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah
13. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
14. Five Carat Soul by James McBride
15. A Separation by Katie Kitamura
16. Hunger by Roxanne Gay
17. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
18. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Books that made six lists –

19. Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh
20. My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
21. The Idiot by Elif Batuman
22. All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
23. The Burning Girl by Claire Messud
24. What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

Books that made seven lists –

25. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
26. Reservoir 13: A Novel by Jon McGregor
27. 4321 by Paul Auster
28. White Tears by Hari Kunzru
29. Ill Will by Dan Chaon
30. Borne by Jeff Vandermeer
31. The Leavers by Lisa Ko
32. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

Books that made eight lists –

33. Autumn by Ali Smith
34. Marlena by Julie Buntin
35. The Power by Naomi Alderman

Books that made nine lists –

36. Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss
37. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Books that made ten lists –

38. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
39. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Books that made eleven lists –

40. American War by Omar El Akkad

Books that made twelve lists –

41. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Books that made thirteen lists –

42. Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

Books that made fourteen lists –

43. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
44. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Books that made 15 – 19 lists – 

45. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
46. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesym Ward

The book that made 23 lists (!) – 

47. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

I’ve read three (Strout, Rooney and Hamid) and own a further nine (Egan, Saunders, Ward, Lee, Ko, Batuman, Attenberg, Nguyen and Adebayo).

Do you agree with the critics – will any of these titles make your ‘Best of 2017’ list?

50 responses

    • Each year I flirt with the idea of reading the complete list from the previous year… needless to say I haven’t done it yet although I think this year’s list is far more appealing than the 2016 list.

  1. Thanks for doing this – I always love this post! I definitely did not agree with the critics this year and am doing a post on that topic with a bit of a different spin soon.

    • Funny, because I noticed when I was collecting the images from Goodreads that you disagreed with quite a few of the critics choices! I’ll look forward to your post.

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    • There were dozens and dozens of one-offs. Too many to list! Most years I’ve started at books that appear on four lists but this year there seemed to be agreement between critics and had I included the books on four lists it would have been too long – I figured 47 books was enough to keep readers busy!

  3. Woop! I’ve read fifteen of these in total (some of the ones that made five or six lists were higher-profile in the States, I think). Borne, Reservoir 13, The Power and Lincoln In the Bardo are all going to be on my Best of 2017 list, for sure.

  4. Thanks for tallying these up, this is really interesting – I was not a great fan of Lincoln in the Bardo which won’t be appearing in my books of the year list, but I definitely want to read Sing, Unburied, Sing which I have heard nothing but good things about. I have read 12 of the books you have listed above, although some were available in the UK earlier so I read them late last year.

  5. Love this!! I’ve read 2: The Essex Serpent and Stay With Me, both of which are on my 2017 favorites list. I’ll also be getting Autumn, Winter, and Little Fires Everywhere for Christmas. I really want to read The Power, Exit West, Hunger, and The Hate U Give in 2018…

  6. I love this list, thank you! I agree with the praise for Anything is Possible and The Power, but was a little mixed about Manhattan Beach. I’d have liked to see The Hate U Give on more lists. I’m planning to read a lot of these — next up, Little Fires Everywhere!

    • Little Fires seems to be one of those books that crept up on people – most seemed ‘surprised’ by how much they enjoyed it/ or that it wasn’t what they expected.

  7. I’ve read six of these, and have another couple sitting waiting. I do get all panicky when I see all these fabulous books laid out like this – THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME! Few more Aussie books would have been good – like The Good People (and other prize winners that I’ve not read yet).

    • I was very disappointed that there were no Aussies on the list but interestingly, even the Australian lists I worked from were very different from each other – little consensus on ‘favourites’. A fair bit of love for Helen Garner’s True Stories, Laguna’s The Choke, and de Krester and Carey’s latest but other than that little similarity between the lists.

  8. Lincoln in the Bardo, Home Fire, exit West & The Essex Serpent will be in my top 10 list this year for sure. If I ever get around to Pachinko & the Strout they would probably be on there too!
    The Roy didn’t work for me, so won’t be on my list.

    Thanks for compiling this incredible list of lists 🏆😊

    • My pleasure 🙂

      I’m in the minority on Exit West (didn’t like it at all). But loved the Strout and enjoyed the Rooney very much at the time (although it hasn’t really ‘stayed’ with me).

  9. This is thorough and amazing. Though my blog languishes, my reading is doing alright…

    I’d second My Absolute Darling, The Essex Serpent, Her Body and Other Parties as best of books, and remove Ill Will. I really wanted to like Lincoln in the Bardo, but I didn’t even finish it… :/

  10. I love that you did this! I have a thing for lists about stats for other lists (I’m a math major, I know I am weird) But I haven’t heard of, let alone read, any of the books on the list 🙁 oh well, maybe next year haha

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  12. Wow- way to blast through the multitude of Best Of lists! Thank you! Having said that none of these is making my list this year. Lincoln in the Bardo came the closest, but I must be an outlier because a number of these were full-on DNFs for me. Which just goes to show how subjective reading can be.

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  14. Books I’ve read:
    Winter by Ali Smith
    The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
    Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
    Autumn by Ali Smith
    Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
    Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (well, currently reading)

    Books I own or have borrowed but haven’t read yet:
    4321 by Paul Auster
    The Power by Naomi Alderman (it’s next on the pile)

    Books I want to read:
    Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong
    Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
    The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
    Reservoir 13: A Novel by Jon McGregor
    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
    Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

    My 2017 top five:
    Autumn by Ali Smith
    Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
    The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
    Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
    Winter by Ali Smith

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