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Weird But True: This Lesser Known Fiction Genre is Making A Comeback

When it comes to your leisure reading, are you looking for something a little different? Perhaps you enjoy elements of the supernatural and fantastical but are tired of the same old clichés of most genre fiction? Why not give Weird Fiction a try!

Weird fiction is characterized primarily by its blending of science fiction, fantasy, horror and just about every other fiction genre to create something entirely new. The name “weird fiction” was coined by H.P. Lovecraft in a 1927 essay titled “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” which sought a division between traditional horror at the time and Lovecraft’s own work. The genre has since grown further apart from its close connection with horror and has become an umbrella term for books that can’t easily be placed in any other category.

If you’re new to weird fiction, below you’ll find some great reads to get you started. Keep in mind that nearly all weird fiction still contains some elements of horror, so if you tend to be squeamish these may not be the books for you.

Weird Fiction Books

The Wine-Dark Sea by Robert Aickman (book)
The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All and Other Stories by Laird Barron
Weaveworld by Clive Barker
Fledgling by Octavia Butler
The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington / Leonora Carrington ; introduction by Kathyrn Davis ; translations from the French by Kathrine Talbot ; translations from the Spanish by Anthony Kerrigan

 

The Wine-Dark Sea by Robert Aickman

Amazon: 4.1 | Goodreads: 4.13

“In these 11 stories, the occasion may be a walking tour of Northern England, a birthday present of a Victorian dollhouse or a stay at a Swedish sanatorium for insomniacs, but it simultaneously traps the characters with dread and opens them up to a new awareness of a greater, deeper and more dangerous world. A remarkable collection by an author who deserves to be better known.” ~ Goodreads

 

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron

Amazon: 4.1 | Goodreads: 4.02

“Barron returns with his third collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All. Collecting interlinking tales of sublime cosmic horror, including “Blackwood’s Baby,” “The Carrion Gods in Their Heaven,” and the World Fantasy Award–nominated “Hand of Glory,” The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All delivers enough spine-chilling horror to satisfy even the most jaded reader.” ~ Amazon

 

Weaveworld by Clive Barker

Amazon: 4.6 | Goodreads| 4.13

“Barker turns from his usual horror to epic-length fantasy for this account of the Fugue, a magical land inhabited by descendants of supernatural beings who once shared the earth with humans. The Fugue has been woven into a carpet for protection against those who would destroy it; the death of its guardian occasions a battle between good and particularly repulsive evil forces for control of the Fugue. Weaveworld is rich with memorable characters, exciting situations, and pockets of Barker’s trademark horror.” ~ Goodreads

 

Fledgling by Octavia Butler

Amazon: 4.2 | Goodreads: 3.9

“Fledgling, Octavia Butler’s new novel after a seven year break, is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly inhuman needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: She is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted – and still wants – to destroy her and those she cares for and how she can save herself. Fledgling is a captivating novel that tests the limits of “otherness” and questions what it means to be truly human.” ~ Goodreads

 

The Complete Stories of Lenora Carrington with an introduction by Kathyrn Davis

Amazon: 3.6 | Goodreads: 4.25

“Published to coincide with the centennial of her birth, The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington collects for the first time all of her stories, including several never before seen in print. With a startling range of styles, subjects, and even languages (several of the stories are translated from French or Spanish), The Complete Stories captures the genius and irrepressible spirit of an amazing artist’s life.” ~ Goodreads

 

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Windeye by Brian Evenson
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Fisherman by John Langan

 

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Amazon: 4.2 | Goodreads: 4.02

“From familiar fairy tales and legends – Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves – Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories.” ~ Amazon

 

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Amazon: 4.1 | Goodreads: 4.13

House of Leaves is a multilayered intersection of wild ideas, ten years in the making, from Mark Danielewski. It is also the story of a seemingly normal house gone wild. The novel intertwines the narratives of two haunted individuals: Zampano, a blind man whose strange manuscript is found in his apartment when he dies, and Johnny Truant, the tome’s discoverer and narrator of House of Leaves.” ~ Fantastic Fiction

 

Windeye by Brian Evenson

Amazon: 4.3 | Goodreads: 4.03

“A woman falling out of sync with the world; a king’s servant hypnotized by his murderous horse; a transplanted ear with a mind of its own. The characters in these stories live as interlopers in a world shaped by mysterious disappearances and unfathomable discrepancies between the real and imagined. Brian Evenson, master of literary horror, presents his most far-ranging collection to date, exploring how humans can persist in an increasingly unreal world. Haunting, gripping, and psychologically fierce, these tales illuminate a dark and unsettling side of humanity.” ~ Goodreads

 

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Amazon: 3.9 | Goodreads: 3.89

“First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.” ~ Goodreads

 

The Fisherman by John Langan

Amazon: 4.2 | Goodreads: 4.01

“When Abe and Dan, two widowers who have found solace in each other’s company and a shared passion for fishing, hear rumors of the Creek, and what might be found there, the remedy to both their losses, they dismiss it as just another fish story. Soon, though, the men find themselves drawn into a tale as deep and old as the Reservoir. It’s a tale of dark pacts, of long-buried secrets, and of a mysterious figure known as Der Fisher: the Fisherman. It will bring Abe and Dan face to face with all that they have lost, and with the price they must pay to regain it.” ~ Goodreads

 

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

 

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

Amazon: 4.4 | Goodreads: 3.91

“People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there. Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. . But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping. A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?” ~ Amazon

 

Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Amazon: 3.9 | Goodreads: 3.97

“A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader’s imagination.” ~ Amazon

 

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

Amazon: 3.9 | Goodreads: 3.55

“Opening the flaps on this unique little book, readers will find themselves immersed in the strange world of best-selling Haruki Murakami’s wild imagination. The story of a lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plotting their escape from a nightmarish library, the book is like nothing else Murakami has written. Designed by Chip Kidd and fully illustrated, in full color, throughout, this small format, 96 page volume is a treat for book lovers of all ages.” ~ Goodreads

 

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

Amazon: 4.1 | Goodreads: 3.94

“From the author of the Southern Reach Trilogy (aka: Area X) comes a story about two humans, and two creatures. The humans are Rachel and Wick – a scavenger and a drug dealer – both with too many secrets and fears, ready with traps to be set and sprung. The creatures are Mord and Borne – animal, perhaps plant, maybe company discard, biotech, cruel experiment, dinner, deity, or source of spare parts.” ~ Provided by the publisher

 

Still not sure where to start?

Weird fiction anthologies will give you the opportunity to sample the work of various weird fiction authors and see what most interests you.

If you’re feeling brave, try the work of authors like Thomas Ligotti, Kathe Koja, Jon Padgett, Michael Cisco and so many others in the following collections.

 

The Year's Best Weird Fiction - Volume One edited by Laird Barron

The Year’s Best Weird Fiction: Volume One edited by Laird Barron

Amazon: 4.2 | Goodreads: 3.92

“Welcome to the weird! Acclaimed author and editor Laird Barron, one of weird fiction’s brightest exponents, brings his expert eye and editorial sense to the inaugural volume of the Year’s Best Weird Fiction.” ~ Goodreads

Also available in eBook (hoopla).

 

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

Amazon: 4.25 | Goodreads: 4.13

The Weird features 110 stories by an all-star cast, from literary legends to international bestsellers to Booker Prize winners: including William Gibson, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, Angela Carter, Kelly Link, Franz Kafka, China Miéville, Clive Barker, Haruki Murakami, M. R. James, Neil Gaiman, Mervyn Peake, and Michael Chabon. “ ~ Goodreads

Jeff Vandermeer, author of the bestselling Area X Trilogy (which is being adapted to film in 2018) and editor of numerous Weird Fiction anthologies, describes what makes Weird Fiction a genre that is greater than the sum of its parts:

Here, in what is actually our infancy of understanding the world—this era in which we think we are older than we are—it is cathartic to seek out and tell stories that do not seek to reconcile the illogical, the contradictory, and often instinctual way in which human beings perceive the world, but instead accentuate these elements as a way of showing us as we truly are. Unruly. Unruled. Superstitious. Absurd. Subject to a thousand destabilizing fears and hopes.


Want to learn more about Weird Fiction?

The Weird: An Introduction – Weird Fiction Review

Weird Fiction – Goodreads

A Beginner’s Guide to the New Weird Genre – Book Riot

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Juliette H. at ToledoLibrary.org/blog/weird-but-true-this-lesser-known-fiction-genre-is-making-a-comeback.

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What to Read-Watch-Listen to Next!

Feel like there’s nothing interesting to read/watch/listen to lately? The Toledo Lucas County Public Library has offered a Give 3, Get 3 suggestion service to the public since summer of 2015. Using the form on our website, anyone can submit up to three books, movies or musicians they’ve enjoyed reading/watching/listening to and a real, live librarian will suggest three (or more!) other authors/titles, movies/television programs or tunes to try. We love a challenge and if what we initially send doesn’t resonate, you can send us additional criteria or preferences to help us refocus our efforts. Connecting readers/listeners/viewers with something they haven’t yet read/heard/seen is what we love doing most. Make our day and ask!

Here’s what is on my radar this week:

Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Likely to be the hit of the season, based on Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, best-selling biographer Isaacson weaves a narrative that shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and a playful imagination.

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

In his long-awaited return, the author of best-selling The Fault in Our Stars shares the story of sixteen-year-old Aza. She never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

The Book of Dust La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman

Pullman returns to the parallel world of the best-selling His Dark Materials series for a thrilling parallel epic adventure.

Braving the wilderness : the quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone / Brené Brown, PHD, LMSW

Braving the Wilderness: the Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown

Popular TED-talker Brown contends that one of the major crises in today’s culture is the feeling of being disconnected, which evidences itself in unrealistic people-pleasing standards, and the erosion of civility. She has developed an enthusiastic, practical guide to achieving a healthy sense of interconnectedness within one’s culture and community.

The Last Kingdom (DVD)

The Last Kingdom: Season One

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

This is a sleeper hit (based on a wonderful historical fiction series by Bernard Cornwell about England in the time of Alfred the Great) with wonderful characters and beautiful production values – a good match for Vikings and Game of Thrones fans.

Check out the Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell (Aka: Saxon Stories, The Saxon Tales and/or Warrior Chronicles).

Book 1: The Last Kingdom

Book 2: The Pale Horseman

Book 3: The Lords of the North

Book 4: Sword Song

Book 5: The Burning Land

Book 6: Death of Kings

Book 7: The Pagan Lord

Book 8: Empty Throne

Book 9: The Warriors of the Storm

Book 10: The Flame Bearer

Originally posted at: ToledoLibrary.org/blog/what-to-read-watch-listen-to-next by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Amy H.

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Podcasts: What are They and Why Should I Care?

I have a confession to make; I can’t stop listening to podcasts. For years now, people have asked me what book I’m reading/listening to and most of the time I shamefully mumble something about not having much time, or finding it difficult to discover new books I like. This, however, is a bold-faced lie. The truth is that podcasts have taken over my life. I listen to them when I’m cleaning, driving, getting ready, falling asleep, waking up, cooking (ok, that’s a stretch – more like microwaving). Just ask my husband who so graciously hid his eye rolls for almost an entire year when every other sentence out of my mouth was “I was listening to This American Life…”

To all of you who are reading this asking, “What’s a podcast?” – my response is: only the greatest invention to be popularized by the smartphone. Imagine being able to listen to your favorite radio broadcast at any time, in any place. Or consuming bite-sized documentaries that are delivered to your phone automatically and captivate from the first minute. And the best part is that anyone (even you!) can make and distribute a podcast, making the range of content available absolutely remarkable. I know what you’re thinking, “But Allison, how do we know what is worth listening to and what’s not if anyone can make anything?” Never fear. That’s what I’m here for.

Below you will find a list of some of the best freely-available podcasts around. They cover a breadth of topics to suit anyone’s interests as well as provide an easy route to discover something new. Most smartphones have a podcast app preloaded on the device at purchase where these titles can be found. They can also be found on the respective websites for each cast.

And once you’ve listened through this list and decided to become a podcaster yourself, come on down to the King Road or West Toledo branch libraries where our recording studios are waiting to turn your podcast idea into my next obsession.

General Interest

This American Life

No list of podcasts would be complete without This American Life. One of the longest running NPR offerings, Ira Glass’s iconic radio show looks at different aspects of life in America (and sometimes beyond) and offers new perspectives on ideas of all kinds. So many people you’ve probably heard of have contributed to TAL including David Sedaris, David Rakoff, Sarah Vowell, John Hodgeman, and many (many, many more). Personal favorites of mine are episodes 107: Trail of Tears and 199: House on Loon Lake.

Listen Alikes:

Invisibilia

Strangers


True Crime

Serial

If you’ve heard of any of these, chances are it’s Serial, the smash-hit from 2014 that dove deep into a murder that took place back in 1999. Because it’s unsolved? No. A man named Adnan Syed is currently serving time for the crime. But should he be? Sarah Koenig investigates and tells the story episode by episode, sometimes only hours after she has learned new developments herself. If you want a story that is all but guaranteed to hook you, this is where you should start. (Seriously, before this no one would have guessed that cell phone records could be so enthralling.) This one requires serial listening (Get it? 😉 ) so you’ll want to start with Ep. 1: The Alibi.

Listen Alikes:

In the Dark

Criminal


Science and Technology

Radiolab

Polar opposites and conversational wizards Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich explore all things science in a way that feels a little closer to performance art than information sharing. From the beautifully haunting contributions of the late Oliver Sacks in episodes such as “Oliver Sacks’ Table of Elements” to episodes like “The Ceremony” that are just plain creepy, Radiolab is a show for those people who are fascinated by the intricacies of the world we live in.

Listen Alikes:

99% Invisible

Every Little Thing


Myth and Folklore

Lore

I like to call this “Are You Afraid of the Dark: Adult Edition.” Lore takes true stories that frighten and disturb and turns them into campfire-style tales. Recently made into a TV show as well, it is best if listened to on a long night drive or with the lights dimmed. Fans of The Twilight Zone will appreciate its anthology-style storytelling and the added bonus is that these stories actually happened. Where to start? Ep. 2: The Bloody Pit


History

Revisionist History

Malcolm Gladwell is very likely a familiar name to you from his best-selling books Blink, The Tipping Point, and What the Dog Saw. In Revisionist History, Gladwell takes all the energy and enthusiasm he has for storytelling and applies it to ideas that we think we already understand. His brand of thinking deeply on topics that seem obvious on their surface works especially well in the podcast format. Check out “Hallelujah,” in which Gladwell examines the idea of genius and how it emerges in individuals.

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

A podcast about the Supreme Court of the United States? Really? Yup. And it’s even better than you could ever imagine. From tales of its inception to the cases being argued today, More Perfect delves deep into the backstories of the people behind the cases and offers an in-depth view on how the court arrives at its decisions. Personal favorites of mine include “Kittens Kick the Giggly Blue Robot All Summer,” which looks at the very early years of the court while it was still finding its place in our system of law and “The Political Thicket,” in which we see just a glimpse of the pressure that serving on the court entails.

Listen Alike:

Stuff You Missed in History Class


Current Issues

Embedded

Embedded reporting is a long-standing tradition within the journalism field, but with Embedded (the podcast), Kelly McEvers takes this to the next level. By focusing in on a story currently in the news and placing herself in the center of the action, McEvers provides a unique type of insight into issues that can seem too big to be ever fully understood. In the gripping episode “The Capital,” McEvers ventures to the murder capital of the world, El Salvador, and spends 24 hours in the capital city, San Salvador, where she witnesses first-hand the gang violence that grips the nation. It’s edge-of-your-seat listening and just one example of an overall stellar body of work. Intrigued? – Check out the entire list of casts.

Listen Alikes:

The Daily

Reveal


Sports

30 for 30

What? Think I forgot about you, sports fans? Never. 30 for 30 will be familiar to you as a fan of sports/watcher of ESPN. The TV show has established itself as the most excellent avenue to the behind-the-scenes (off-the-field?) stories of the athletes we love. The jump to podcast was only natural and has only improved the long-form sports story. Whether it’s the tale of Madden and his videogame domination or the fight to open Wrigleyville up to night games, 30 for 30 is a must-listen for any die-hard fans who seek to know more about their favorite teams/players/sports than what you can get from just watching the main event.

Listen Alike:

The Bill Simmons Podcast


If you like the podcasts featured above, you may also like these great radio programs available at your local library …
NPR driveway moments [spoken CD] : radio stories that won't let you go. Moms
NPR driveway moments for dads [spoken CD]
NPR funniest driveway moments [spoken CD]
NPR driveway moments. Love stories. [spoken CD]

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Allison F. at http://www.toledolibrary.org/blog/podcasts-what-are-they-and-why-should-i-care.

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Spend 2018 at the Library!

Spend the New Year with us! We have the resources, materials and programs to help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions and so much more. If you’re still searching for some focus in 2018, check out our partner blog A Year Of, featuring a list of memoirs from authors who spent a year doing some creative and inspiring things!

At the Library, you can:

– Learn how to save money
– Improve your health and wellness
– Make new friends
– Find a new job
– Learn to use your new device
– Ace the school year
– Discover a new hobby

The Library events listed below run from January – March 2018.

Save Money
Why pay for monthly video or music streaming services when you can stream them for free using your library card? Access thousands of TV shows, movies, and music through hoopla and Overdrive – You can even download Kindle Books!

Contact our Business, Technology and Sciences Department at 419.259.5209 to learn more about our Living Better Spending Smarter program.

Subscribe to our Read/Watch/Listen list on investing for ongoing book recommendations!

Improve Health & Wellness
Have you resolved to improve your health in 2018? Let’s do it together! We’re offering adult yoga and meditation classes on Jan. 20 and 27, Feb. 3 and 10 and March 10.

Learn about healthy eating at Open Book with Whole30 author Melissa Hartwig on Jan. 9 or join us at one of our Cooking for 1 or 2 programs on Jan. 23, Feb. 2, and March 6, 14 and  26.

Subscribe to our many Read/Watch/Listen lists for ongoing book recommendations on topics including cooking, fitness and self-help!

Make New Friends
Start the New Year by making new friends! We are connecting people who share a love of things like reading, cooking, science fiction, crocheting and knitting and more with groups that meet regularly. See a list of our ongoing groups at ToledoLibrary.org/librarygroups.

We host regular book groups at our Birmingham, Heatherdowns, Holland, Kent, Maumee, Oregon, Point Place, Reynolds Corners, Sanger, Sylvania (currently at King Road), Waterville and West Toledo Locations.

Additionally, we offer adult groups on the following topics and locations: baseball (Sanger), cooking (Waterville), crocheting and knitting (West Toledo), English as a second language (King Road), mysteries (Sanger), science fiction (West Toledo) and writing (Point Place). Contact each location for more details.

Find a New Job
Do you want to start the New Year with a new job? We’re a great place to start on your road to looking for a new career. We can help you with email, online job search and application, how to create and update your resume and more.

At Main Library and Kent Branch, we offer one-on-one meetings to help you get ahead. Our Mobile Technology Center will also provide assistance (by request) at area shopping centers. To make an appointment, call Main Library, Kent Branch or contact Outreach Services at 419.259.5350 for the Mobile Technology Center.

Learn to Use Your New Device
Did you get a new tablet, phone or laptop over the holidays? If you need help learning how to make the most of it, visit our Audio Visual Department at Main Library every Tuesday at 2 p.m. for walk-in device advice!

We also offer a variety of technology training programs on everything from computer basics for beginners to more specific help sessions on programs like Google Docs.

Visit our events calendar for upcoming programs.

Ace the School Year
Does your student need some help making the grade? Join us at our Homework Help Centers, available at 14 of our 20 locations.

View the schedule on our Education page.

Our many educational online databases can also provide help with early literacy, homework, reading, test prep, career, business, science and technology.

Discover a New Hobby
Learn a new hobby or craft in 2018! Learn on your own through book tutorials – check out ongoing recommendations found on our Arts, Crafts and Hobbies Read/Watch/Listen list or join us at one or more of the following craft programs:

Cricut Crafts – Jan. 10 | 6:30 p.m. | Oregon Branch
Yarn-It! – Jan. 19 | 4 p.m. | Oregon Branch
Cake Decorating Workshop – Jan. 29 | 6 p.m. | Waterville Branch
Design Basics (business cards) –  Feb. 3 | 2 p.m. | King Road Branch

We always have new programs popping up, so visit our online events calendar for more future fun!

Originally posted at http://www.toledolibrary.org/blog/start-the-new-year-with-yoga-at-the-library by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Heather H.

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Best Fiction & Nonfiction Books of 2017

So many books, so little time. What were some of the best books of the year and what makes them the best anyway? Books may end up on best seller lists when the subject is extremely topical like current events. However, after reviewing so many booklists, the selections may seem random at first glance. How do you find gems among the thousands of books published each year? You might rely on a highly trusted source like the “100 Notable Books of the Year” by The New York Times. Or maybe you just browse Amazon’s best seller lists and hope for the best. Well, my approach was a little more involved and it took a lot of time … time most people don’t have to spend on picking a few good books to read. The books featured below were selected after reviewing major book award websites, book reviews, and a wide variety of trusted booklists to narrow down the selections to only include the “best of the best” fiction and nonfiction books from the past year. Yet, it’s really still a matter of what interests the individual reader.

Now, the challenge is to find the time to read them!

Best General Fiction Books of 2017

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng“Spectacular sophomore work…a magnificent, multilayered epic that’s perfect for eager readers and destined for major award lists.” ~ Library Journal (starred review)Amazon rating: 4.4

Amazon: 4.4 | Goodreads: 4.14

Winner of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Fiction Book with over 39,000 votes.

#1 book of the year – BookPage and LibraryReads.

Named one of the best or notable books of 2017 – Amazon (top 20), Esquire, The Guardian, NPR, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: Fighting an ugly custody battle with an artistic tenant who has little regard for the strict rules of their progressive Cleveland suburb, a straitlaced family woman who is seeking to adopt a baby becomes obsessed with exposing the tenant’s past, only to trigger devastating consequences for both of their families.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
Looking for more noteworthy fiction books from the past year?

The 17 Best Fiction Books of 2017 – Bustle

The Best Fiction Books of 2017 – Chicago Review of Books

Best of 2017: Best Fiction Books – Entropy

Best Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

The Best Fiction of 2017 – The Guardian

Best Fiction of 2017 by Category – Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: The Best Fiction – Los Angeles Times

Top 10 Novels of 2017 – Time


Best Historical Fiction Books of 2017

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders“Profound, funny and vital . . . the work of a great writer.” ~ Chicago TribuneAmazon: 3.6 | Goodreads: 3.89

Winner of the Man Booker Prize.

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon (top 20), BookPage, Esquire, Goodreads, The Guardian, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal (top 10), Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, O Magazine, Time (top 10), and The Washington Post (top 10).

Book summary: A long-awaited first novel by the National Book Award-nominated, New York Times best-selling author of Tenth of December traces a night of solitary mourning and reflection as experienced by the 16th President after the death of his 11-year-old son at the dawn of the Civil War.

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Looking for more noteworthy historical fiction from the past year?

22 of the Biggest Historical Fiction Books of 2017 – BookBub

Best Historical Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Historical Fiction of 2017 – Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: Historical Fiction – NPR

The Best Historic Fiction of 2017 – Overdrive


Best Literary Fiction Books of 2017

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward“A tour de force … Ward is an attentive and precise writer who dazzles with natural and supernatural observations and lyrical details … she continues telling stories we need to hear with rare clarity and power.” ~ O, the Oprah Magazine

Amazon: 4.4 | Goodreads: 4.14

Winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction.

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon, BookPage, Esquire, Kirkus Reviews, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review (top 10), NPR, Publisher’s Weekly (top 10), Time (top 10), The Washington Post.

Book summary: Living with his grandparents and toddler sister on a Gulf Coast farm, Jojo navigates the challenges of his tormented mother’s addictions and his grandmother’s terminal cancer before the release of his father from prison prompts a road trip of danger and hope.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
Autumn by Ali Smith
Looking for more noteworthy literary fiction from the past year?

Anticipated or Best Literary Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads

Best Literary Fiction of 2017 – Kirkus Reviews

Fall 2017 Announcements: Literary Fiction – Publisher’s Weekly


Best Mystery / Thriller Books of 2017

Glass Houses by Louise Penny
Glass Houses by Louise Penny“The tension has never been greater… A meticulously built mystery that follows a careful ascent toward a breaking point that will leave you breathless.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

Amazon: 4.6 | Goodreads: 4.46

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon, Goodreads, Library Journal, LibraryReads, LibraryReads, NPR, and The Washington Post.

Starred review – Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.

Book summary: A suspicious figure that appears on the village green on a cold November day leaves a dead body in its wake, compelling Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec to pursue an investigation that has difficult consequences.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Ill Will by Dan Chaon
White Tears by Hari Kunzru
The Force by Don Winslow
Looking for more noteworthy mysteries & thrillers from the past year?

The Year’s Best Crime Novels, 2017 – The Booklist Reader

Best Mystery & Thrillers of 2017 – Bookriot

The Best Crime and Thriller Books of 2017 – Panmacmillan

Best Books of 2017: Mystery/Thriller – Publisher’s Weekly

The 10 Best Thrillers and Mysteries of 2017 – The Washington Post


Best Science Fiction / Fantasy Books of 2017

The Power by Naomi Alderman
The Power by Naomi Alderman“I was riveted by every page. Alderman’s prose is immersive and, well, electric, and I felt a closed circuit humming between the book and me as I read.” ~ Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times Book Review

Amazon: 4 | Goodreads: 3.91

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, and The Washington Post.

Starred review – Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.

Book summary: In a novel of speculative fiction, an award-winning author contemplates a world where teenage girls now have immense physical power—they can cause agonizing pain and even death, drastically resetting the balance of the world.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
Looking for more noteworthy science fiction and fantasy novels from the past year?

The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2017 – Barnes & Noble

The 9 Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books Written by Women in 2017 – Bustle

Best Fantasy and Science Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017 – The Guardian

Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017 – Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: SF/Fantasy/Horror – Publisher’s Weekly


Best Short Story Collections of 2017

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen“The Refugees will haunt its readers, especially in these times, when refugee stories need to be told, shared, and told again, ad infinitum.” ~ A.V. Club

Amazon: 4.4 | Goodreads: 3.95

One of the best books of 2017 – BookPage, Esquire, Goodreads, Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times Book Review, and NPR.

Starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly.

Book summary: A collection of stories, written over a twenty-year period, examines the Vietnamese experience in America as well as questions of home, family, and identity. By the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Sympathizer.

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang
Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
Five Carat Soul by James McBride
Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Looking for more noteworthy short story collections?

7 Short Story Collections to Read in 2017 – Barnes & Noble

13 Short Story Collections Out This Fall to Help You Escape Reality for a Few Pages – Bustle

Best New Short Story Collections of Fall 2017 – The Washington Post


Best Teen / Young Adult Novels of 2017

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway“Family issues are neither airbrushed nor oversimplified. From the first page to the last, this compassionate, funny, moving, compulsively readable novel about what makes a family gets it right.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

Amazon: 4.8 | Goodreads: 4.38

Winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Named one of the best or notable books of the year by Kirkus Reviews, NPR, The New York Times Book Review, and Publisher’s Weekly.

Starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Book summary: Feeling incomplete as an adopted child after placing her own baby up for adoption, teen Grace tracks down her biological siblings and finds herself struggling with the dynamics of being a middle child between an embittered older brother and an outspoken younger sister.

The book of Dust : La Belle Sauvage / Philip Pullman
The hate u give / Angie Thomas
Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson
Turtles all the way down by John Green
Looking for more noteworthy teen / young adult novels from the past year?

Best Young Adult Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

The 30 Best Young Adult Books of 2017 – Paste

The 17 Best Young Adult Novels of 2017 – POPSUGAR

25 of the Best Young Adult Books of 2017 – Seventeen


Best General Nonfiction Books of 2017

The lost city of the monkey god : a true story / Douglas Preston
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston“Breezy, colloquial and sometimes very funny…A very entertaining book.” ~ The Wall Street Journal

Amazon: 4.4 | Goodreads: 3.92

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon (top 20), Goodreads, New York Times Book Review, and Publisher’s Weekly.

Book summary: Recounts how the author and a team of scientists discovered a legendary sacred city, the Lost City of the Monkey God, hidden deep in the Honduran jungle.

The apparitionists : a tale of phantoms, fraud, photography, and the man who captured Lincoln's ghost / Peter Manseau
Irresistible : the rise of addictive technology and the business of keeping us hooked / Adam Alter
Nomadland : surviving America in the twenty-first century / Jessica Bruder
Word by word : the secret life of dictionaries / Kory Stamper
Looking for more noteworthy nonfiction from the past year?

Best Nonfiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Nonfiction of 2017 by Category – Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: The Best Nonfiction – Los Angeles Times

The 20 Best Nonfiction Books of 2017 – Paste

Best Nonfiction Books of 2017 – Publisher’s Weekly

50 Notable Works of Nonfiction in 2017 – The Washington Post


Best Biography / Memoir Books of 2017

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie“Evident throughout are humor and rage, respect and loving irreverence.” ~ Oprah Magazine

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

Amazon: 4.5 | Goodreads: 4.36

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon (top 20), BookPage, Goodreads, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Los Angeles Times, NPR, O Magazine, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: The National Book Award-winning author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian presents a literary memoir of poems, essays and intimate family photos that reflect his complicated feelings about his disadvantaged childhood on a Native American reservation with his siblings and alcoholic parents.

The bright hour : a memoir of living and dying / Nina Riggs
Hunger : a memoir of (my) body / Roxane Gay
Leonardo da Vinci / Walter Isaacson
Priestdaddy / Patricia Lockwood
Looking for more noteworthy biographies and memoirs from the past year?

Best Biographies & Memoirs of 2017 – Amazon

Best Books of 2017: Memoir & Autobiography – Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Biographies of 2017 – Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: Biography & Memoir – NPR

Best Memoirs of 2017 – O Magazine

5 Best Memoirs of 2017 – The Washington Post


Best Business and Leadership Books of 2017

Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein“Goldstein is a talented storyteller, and we root for her characters as, moment by moment, they try their hardest.” ~ The New Yorker

Amazon: 4.4 | Goodreads: 4.25

Winner of the 2017 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year.

Best Business Book of 2017 – Business Insider, CNBC, The New York Times Book Review, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: A Washington Post reporter’s intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors’ assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class. Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America’s biggest political issues human.

The power of moments : why certain experiences have extraordinary impact / Chip and Dan Heath
The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World's Greatest Teams by Sam Walker
Insight : why we're not as self-aware as we think, and how seeing ourselves clearly helps us succeed at work and in life / Tasha Eurich
The new rules of work : the modern playbook for navigating your career / Alexandra Cavoulacos, Kathryn Minshew
Looking for more notable business and leadership books?

The 7 Best Lessons from the 7 Best Business Books of 2017 (so far) – Success

13 of the Best Business Books of 2017 – CNBC

The 19 Best Business Books of 2017 – Business Insider

The Best Business and Leadership Books of 2017 – Omnivoracious

Best Business Books of 2017 – Financial Times


Best History Books of 2017

Killers of the Flower Moon : the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI / David Grann
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann“A master of the detective form…Killers is something rather deep and not easily forgotten.” ~ Wall St. Journal

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

Amazon: 4.6 | Goodreads: 4.14

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon (top 20), Goodreads, Kirkus Reviews, LibraryReads, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, Paste, Publisher’s Weekly, The Smithsonian, Time, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

Code girls : the untold story of the American women code breakers of World War II / Liza Mundy
The future is history : how totalitarianism reclaimed Russia / Masha Gessen
Greater Gotham : a history of New York City from 1898 to 1919 / Mike Wallace
The radium girls : the dark story of America's shining women / Kate Moore
Looking for more noteworthy history books from the past year?

Best History Books of 2017 – Amazon

Best History Books of 2017 – History Today

Best Books of 2017: History – Financial Times

Best American History Books of 2017 – Kirkus Reviews

The Ten Best History Books of 2017 – The Smithsonian


Best Poetry Books of 2017

Half-light : collected poems 1965-2016 / Frank Bidart
Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart“Art of first order . . . Truly remarkable.” ~ Piotr Florczyk, New Orleans Review

Winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Poetry.

Amazon: 5 | Goodreads: 4.5

Positive reviews from Booklist (starred review), The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, and Publisher’s Weekly (starred review).

Book summary: Gathered together, the poems of Frank Bidart perform one of the most remarkable transmutations of the body into language in contemporary literature. Few writers have so willingly ventured to the dark places of the human psyche and allowed themselves to be stripped bare on the page with such candor and vulnerability. Over the past half century, Bidart has done nothing less than invent a poetics commensurate with the chaos and appetites of our experience.

Depression & other magic tricks / poems by Sabrina Benaim
The sun and her flowers / Rupi Kaur
When I grow up I want to be a list of further possibilities / Chen Chen ; foreword by Jericho Brown
Whereas : poems / Layli Long Soldier
Looking for more notable poetry collections from the past year?

The 18 Best Poetry Collections of 2017 – Bustle

The Best Poetry Books of 2017 – Chicago Review of Books

Best of 2017: Best Poetry Books & Poetry Collections – Entropy

The Best Poetry Collections of 2017 – The Washington Post


Best Science Books of 2017

Astrophysics for people in a hurry / Neil deGrasse Tyson
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson“With wry humor, keen vision, and abundant humanity, Neil deGrasse Tyson distills the big questions of space, time, and reality into short, insightful chapters you can enjoy with your morning coffee.” ~ Discover

Amazon: 4.6 | Goodreads: 4.14

Winner of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Science & Technology Book with over 42,000 votes.

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon, Business Insider, Goodreads, and Kirkus Reviews.

Book summary: Offers witty, digestible explanations of topics in cosmology, from the Big Bang and black holes to quantum mechanics and the search for life in the universe.

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson
Homo Deus - a brief history of tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
Why time flies : a mostly scientific investigation / Alan Burdick
Why we sleep : unlocking the power of sleep and dreams / Matthew Walker
Looking for more great science books?

7 Favorite Science Books of 2017 – Brain Pickings

The Very Best Science Books of 2017 – Business Insider

The Best Science Books of 2017 – Science Friday

The Ten Best Science Books of 2017 – The Smithsonian


Notable Booklists from 2017

Best Books of 2017 – BookPage

50 Best Books of 2017 – Esquire

Best Books of 2017 – Part One and Part Two – The Guardian

19 Best Books of 2017 (so far) – Harper’s Bazaar

LJ’s Top 10 Books of 2017

LibraryRead’s Favorite Books of 2017

NYT’s 100 Notable Books of 2017

NPR’s Guide To 2017’s Great Reads

Best Books of 2017 – O Magazine

PW’s Best Books of 2017

Best Books of 2017 – The Washington Post


Note: Some websites may restrict access to their content after you access them multiple times (i.e., The Washington Post and similar publications).

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger and Adult Services Librarian April S. at http://www.toledolibrary.org/blog/the-best-fiction-and-nonfiction-books-of-2017.

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