Friday, July 7, 2017

Halfway Through 2017: Top Ten

Right about the time that I was packing up my car to hit the road, everybody posted lists of top ten books so far in 2017.  So I'm a little late to the party, but I really have had some great reads in the last few months and I'd like to share them...the trouble being, of course, that it's hard to choose just ten.  In fact, I'm not going to choose ten; I'm jolly well going to choose eleven.  But they're in chronological order, not in order of 'the best' or anything.

1. Eneas, an Old French romance.  Hard to find, but a must for anyone interested in medieval romances, because this is the first time anybody blended adventure with romantic love.  It's the story of Aeneas translated into the French chivalric mode, and it's crammed with wonders too. 
2. When Books Went to War, by Molly Guptill Manning.  I've been lucky to find some great non-fiction reading in the last several months!  This is about how the US got books to its soldiers, who needed them badly.  They loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn best of all!


3. Stasiland, by Anna Funder.  Another great history read, Funder explores the vanished world of East Germany, where every citizen was surveilled.


4. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston.  I can't believe I'd never read this jewel of American literature before.  Wow.

5. Bovo-Buch, by Elia Levita Bachur.  Another knightly romance...but this one is Yiddish.  And very fun to read.

6. Germania, by Simon Winder.  A 'wayward' exploration of German history, full of odd bits of treasure.

7. The Biggest Estate on Earth, by Bill Gammage.  An astounding account of how Aborigines managed the entire continent of Australia as a game park.  Plus, many many tree names.




8. The Heart of Midlothian, by Sir Walter Scott.  The story of Jeanie Deans, my new favorite heroine.  Slow start, great novel.


9. Last Things, by Marissa Moss.  A graphic novel of her husband's ALS.  Heartbreaking.


10. Mrs. Miniver, by Jan Struther.  A farewell to the sane world of pre-WWII England.  I did recently get to watch the movie, which is almost entirely different and takes place during the war, with Dunkirk and bombing and so on.


11.  The Accusation, by Bandi.  A collection of short stories smuggled out of North Korea.


There are a bunch of great things I didn't put in, though, like the entire Lord of the Rings cycle and Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy (I just realized that I meant to!) and Stolen Words, yet another history book about WWII and Jewish literature, and Connie Willis' Crosstalk.  But it's too late now, I have to stop somewhere!

6 comments:

Gin Jenny said...

I love this list! I am really excited to read Stasiland, which looks fantastic.

maphead said...

LOVED When Books Went to War! Stassiland is good too! Great list!

Ruth said...

I had Their Eyes Were Watching God on my 2017 list, too. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Have you seen the film version? It was pretty good.

Jean said...

Stasiland IS fantastic; I only wanted more bizarro stories of German communism.

Ruth, I have not seen the film. I probably should sometime! (If it's me, the answer is nearly always that no, I have not seen the film. I'm bad at watching movies....)

Esther | Chapter Adventures said...

These are such unique reads, Jean. I always find interesting books in your blog. I wish I could find them here, but I'm sure that's going to be tough. Still, it's always cool to learn about them, so thanks for the list!

Jean said...

Thanks Esther, it's good to see you! Yeah, a lot of these might be hard for you to find....but just think of all the interesting books you have access to that I would have a hard time getting!