The Best Books I Read in 2017

My 2017 Reading Summary

Books read: 80

Five-star ratings: 10

Four-star ratings: 40

Three-star ratings: 19

Two-star, One-star, and not rated: 11

Fiction: 60

Non-fiction: 20

My Rating System

I follow the guidelines. A three-star rating means I liked a book and thought it was better than average although not a book I would enthusiastically recommend. The curve is naturally skewed because truly awful books rarely get published, despite the revolution in independent publishing that literally allows anyone to publish any piece of writing for a relatively low cost. I also factor in my reading experience and ability to filter out the worst books from my reading list and populate that list with books I expect will be better than average.

I put a lot of stock in the consensus of reviews, especially when a book has received enough reviews that the rating will be representative of a large number of readers and not skewed by “friends-and-family” reviews.  F-and-Fs are reviews that seem to be written by people who know the author and either want to, or are coerced into, giving a glowing review because of personal pressure or sense of obligation. Those reviews are pretty obvious when a book has less than ten or twenty reviews, especially when there exists a one- or two-star review that takes the author to task for poor editing, proofreading, or in some cases, inferior craft. A few books received no-stars– not because they were worse than one-star books, but because I chose not to rate them for personal or professional reasons.

The Finalists

The Captain Class: The Hidden Force that Creates the World’s Greatest Teams by Sam Walker

Blood on the Tracks (Sydney Rose Parnell #1) by Barbara Nickless

NO EXIT by Taylor Adams

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Story Fix: Transform Your Novel from Broken to Brilliant by Larry Brooks

The Fifth Witness (Mickey Haller #4) by Michael Connelly

drumroll . . . and . . .

The Best Book I Read in 2017 is:

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

cymbal crash

Choosing the best book from the eighty books I read this year was tough. The Captain Class, Blood on the Tracks, and No Exit were strong contenders. I chose The Nightingale because of the masterful prose and superlative structure which allowed the intense emotion of the story to shine, especially at the end. The Nightingale is genuinely deserving of its accolades. If you need more convincing, check out my review.

My Questions for You: What was the best book you read in 2017? How many books did you read in 2017?  What do you think of my finalists?


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