We're calling it: All the good books to read in 2017 were written by women. Between Zinzi Clemmons's powerful portrait of a woman coping with the loss of her mother to Elif Batuman's poignant coming-of-age story, there's no denying that women were behind some of this year's most notable books. And we're not the only ones taking note—this year, the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" list was composed of, you guessed it, all women writers.
Don't get us wrong: George Saunders's Lincoln in the Bardo and Haruki Murakami's Men Without Women were also great reads, but the novels below stayed with us long after we turned the last page. If you're looking for a worthwhile work of fiction to take with you on your morning commute, keep on your nightstand, and read late into the night, you're going to want to bookmark this list. Ahead are eight top-shelf–worthy books to add to your reading list this year. (PS: The best nonfiction books of 2017 were also written by women.)
This collection of short stories delve into the limits of human connection in, ironically, one of the most claustrophobic cities—New York City. Each of these 19 stories is intimate, powerful, and beautifully crafted.
Don't be fooled by this book's small spine. The debut novel from Zinzi Clemmons delves into the life-altering experience of losing a parent and tackles the topics of death, grief, identity, and race—all in 207 pages.
Spanning dystopian futures and magical realistic views of the present, Lesley Nneka Arimah's collection of short stories is, in a word, stunning. Keep a stack of sticky notes within arm's reach—you're going to want to mark passages to reread later.
While the title of Elif Batuman's The Idiot is a nod to Dostoevsky's famous novel, she treats her naive heroine with a much lighter hand. In this coming-of-age story, Batuman's endearing and relatable protagonist navigates life as a Harvard undergrad, dealing with love and friendship along the way.
Following a family's journey from rural Mississippi to the state penitentiary, Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing has drawn comparisons to The Odyssey. Touching on race, violence, and love, you should consider this novel required reading.
Emily Ruskovich's debut novel tells the story of a family torn apart by a murder. Masterfully told from multiple perspectives, Idaho isn't a thriller but rather a work of fiction that examines love, loss, and forgiveness.
When Ruth's father starts losing his memory, she moves home for a year and starts keeping a journal—Rachel Khong's novel Goodbye, Vitamin is the resulting journal. Filled with heart, wit, and random tidbits, this is one of the best books you'll read all year.
Part mystery, part thriller, and part science fiction, Samanta Schweblin's genre-defying novel Fever Dream is a page-turner that will have you on the edge of your seat. Set aside a few hours, because you're going to want to finish this book in one sitting.