Happy 2018, everyone! I wish you all a new year filled with love, joy, and good books. Here are my top 5 picks for general fiction and mystery/thriller for 2017.
TOP 5 FOR GENERAL FICTION
A story that has a much more critical and satirical approach of the Vietnam War’s aftermath. It follows the story of a communist spy. The novel illustrates how war and conflict divides both people and countries. It reveals how people are capable of showing compassion and yet are also capable of acting with absolute savagery.
Kindred illustrates the complexities and nuances of slavery and the racial attitudes of the time. It definitely makes for an important and powerful read. The story centers on Dana who travels back in time to Maryland, circa 1815.
Margaret Atwood imagines a future where all people have a preordained societal position in her award-winning novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, first published in 1985. One walks away from reading The Handmaid’s Tale with a clear understanding of a person’s innate capacity for hope and the love that encompasses it.
The Things We Lost in the Fire, written by Mariana Enriquez, is an anthology of stories set in modern Argentina. Enriquez illustrates how history can shape a society and how important it is that we are aware of it. The Things We Lost in the Fire is a vivid and visceral book. Each of the stories reminds us that the ghost of the past will always linger.
In Thi Bui’s graphic memoir, The Best We Could Do, she traces her family’s journey from a war-torn Vietnam to the United States. She illuminates the human experience through breathtaking art and narrative. Thi Bui examines what it means to be a parent, to be human, to be alive, and to be free. Her story reveals that the consequences of war is far more than the casualties and the torn-down buildings. For those who lived through the war, their history becomes the essence of who they are.
TOP 5 FOR MYSTERIES/THRILLERS
Oslo detective, Harry Hole, is going up against a vicious killer in Jo Nesbo’s seventh book The Snowman. The story contains all the elements of a good thriller: atmospheric, dark, and gritty; a flawed hero; complex characters; and loads of clever diversions that keeps the reader guessing and turning the page.
Kunihiko Hidaka is found dead in a locked room by Osamu Nonoguchi, his childhood best friend, and Rie Hidaka, his wife. It’s a classic murder mystery set-up. But, what makes Malice a compelling story is the fresh and original way Higashino has come up with unpredictable plot twists.
Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
Detective Inspector Kurt Wallander is investigating a violent crime of an elderly farmer and his wife. Dark, fast-paced, and gritty—the first book in the Wallander series won’t certainly be your last.
Penance by Kanae Minato
Four girls find one of their friends murdered, but none of them remembers the face of the killer. The grieving mother vows that the four girls will pay for her daughter’s death. Kanae Minato’s Penance expertly explores psychological trauma and vengeance.
Ella Nygard witnessed her mother being murdered in front of her. As a result, she suffers from PTSD. Her memories of what happened are scattered. After moving back to her parents’ home, Ella soon begins to put back the pieces and starts to remember. What My Body Remembers is a compelling story with an unexpected twist