Best Books of 2017: The Definitive List

by |December 30, 2017

Best of 2017

Here at Booktopia we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve read countless books this year, flicked over thousands of pages, and forgone sleep, all in search of the very best books published this year.

Below, you’ll find all the books we haven’t stopped talking about. The books we can’t stop re-reading, can’t stop bragging about. Buy, borrow or steal yourself a copy. Either way, these stories need to be read and shared.


Best Book of 2017


The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser.The Life to Come
by Michelle de Kretser

Set in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka, The Life to Come is a mesmerising novel about the stories we tell and don’t tell ourselves as individuals, as societies and as nations. It feels at once firmly classic and exhilaratingly contemporary.

Pippa is a writer who longs for success. Celeste tries to convince herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood in Sri Lanka but blots out the memory of a tragedy from that time. Driven by riveting stories and unforgettable characters, here is a dazzling meditation on intimacy, loneliness and our flawed perception of other people.

Profoundly moving as well as bitingly funny, The Life to Come reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform, distort and undo the present… Learn more.

Read a review of The Life to Come by Bookopia’s Ben Hunter.


Popular Fiction: Winner


The Red Coast by Di Morrissey.The Red Coast
by Di Morrissey

A new story in an ancient landscape from Australia’s favourite storyteller.

In The Red Coast, Di Morrissey returns to the red earth of the Kimberley with a passionate story of resistance and resilience under its soaring blue skies.

After the upheaval which separated Jacqui Bouchard from her beloved son, she has finally settled in Broome, a magical remote town on the northwest coast of Australia.

But when a proposed mining development is unveiled, the town begins to tear itself apart. Rifts run deep, as friends, families and lovers are faced with a battle that could change their lives irrevocably.

As everyone takes sides, Jacqui confronts… Learn more.


Popular Fiction: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 Popular Fiction

Best of 2017 Popular Fiction

The Shortlist: Origin by Dan Brown, Colombiano by Rusty Young, The Midnight Line by Lee Child, The Greatest Gift by Rachael Johns, The Trip of a Lifetime by Monica McInerney, Sanctuary by Judy Nunn.


 Literary Fiction: Winner


The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser.The Life to Come
by Michelle de Kretser

Set in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka, The Life to Come is a mesmerising novel about the stories we tell and don’t tell ourselves as individuals, as societies and as nations. It feels at once firmly classic and exhilaratingly contemporary.

Pippa is a writer who longs for success. Celeste tries to convince herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood in Sri Lanka but blots out the memory of a tragedy from that time. Driven by riveting stories and unforgettable characters, here is a dazzling meditation on intimacy, loneliness and our flawed perception of other people.

Profoundly moving as well as bitingly funny, The Life to Come reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform, distort and undo the present… Learn more.

Read a review of The Life to Come by Bookopia’s Ben Hunter.


Literary Fiction: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 Literary Fiction

Best of 2017 Literary Fiction

The Shortlist: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, Winter by Ali Smith, A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey, 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster, The Choke by Sofie Laguna.

Read staff reviews for Lincoln in the Bardo, Winter, 4 3 2 1, and The Choke.


Crime & Thrillers: Winner


Force of Nature by Jane Harper.Force of Nature
by Jane Harper

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with… Learn more.

Read reviews of Force of Nature from Booktopia’s Sarah McDuling and Kirsty Ward.


Crime & Thrillers: The Shortlist


 Best of 2017 Crime & Thrillers

Best of 2017 Crime & Thrillers

The Shortlist: The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey, See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt, Wimmera by Mark Brandi, The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz, The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham, Crimson Lake by Candice Fox.

Read staff reviews for The Dark Lake, See What I Have Done, and The Secrets She Keeps.


Historical Fiction: Winner


City of Crows by Chris Womersley.City of Crows
by Chris Womersley

From award-winning author Chris Womersley comes an extraordinary historical novel set in seventeenth-century Paris.

“One of the unrepentantly daring and original talents in the landscape of Australian fiction” Sydney Morning Herald.

A woman’s heart contains all things…

France, 1673. Desperate to save herself and her only surviving child from an outbreak of plague, the widow Charlotte Picot flees her village to seek sanctuary in Lyon.

But, waylaid on the road by slavers, young Nicolas is stolen and his mother left for dead. Charlotte fears the boy has been taken to Paris for sale, for it is well known there is no corruption in a man’s heart that cannot be found in that terrible City of Crows… Learn more.


Historical Fiction: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 Historical Fiction

Best of 2017 Historical Fiction

The Shortlist: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, The Last Hours by Minette Walters, The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory, Munich by Robert Harris, Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell, A Column of Fire by Ken Follett.

Read staff reviews for Manhattan Beach and A Column of Fire.


Speculative Fiction: Winner


Artemis by Andy Weir.Artemis
by Andy Weir

The Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author of The Martian returns with a new adventure – a twisty, smart, high concept thriller about a heist set on the moon.

You grew up on the moon, of course you have a dark side…

Jazz is a small time criminal, subsidising work as a porter on the moon with smuggling a little contraband. But it’s never enough.

When she’s offered the chance to get rich quick she jumps at it. But planning the perfect crime in 1/6th gravity was never going to be easy, especially as there is a conspiracy at the heart of Artemis.

At first it was about the money, then it was about control. Now it’s about survival… Learn more.

Read a review of Artemis by Booktopia’s Tanaya Lowden.


Speculative Fiction: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 Speculative Fiction

Best of 2017 Speculative Fiction

The Shortlist: The Black Elfstone by Terry Brooks, Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson, Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King, Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff, New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Read a review of Godsgrave by Booktopia’s Sarah McDuling.


Romance: The Winner


Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist.Two Steps Forward
by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist

Zoe, a sometime artist, is from California. Martin, an engineer, is from Yorkshire. Both have ended up in picturesque Cluny, in central France. Both are struggling to come to terms with their recent past – for Zoe, the death of her husband; for Martin, a messy divorce.

Looking to make a new start, each sets out alone to walk two thousand kilometres from Cluny to Santiago, in northwestern Spain, in the footsteps of pilgrims who have walked the Camino – the Way – for centuries. The Camino changes you, it’s said. It’s a chance to find a new version of yourself. But can these two very different people find each other?

In this smart, funny and romantic journey, Martin’s and Zoe’s stories are told in alternating chapters by husband-and-wife team Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist… Learn more.


Romance: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 Romance

Best of 2017 Romance

The Shortlist: Suddenly One Summer by Fleur McDonald, Shattered by Helen Hardt, The Tea Gardens by Fiona McIntosh, The Break by Marian Keyes, A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi, Beautiful Messy Love by Tess Woods.


 Biographies & True Stories: Winner


Working Class Man by Jimmy Barnes.Working Class Man
by Jimmy Barnes

The sequel to the number 1 bestseller Working Class Boy.

It’s a life too big and a story too extraordinary for just one book. Jimmy Barnes has lived many lives – from Glaswegian migrant kid to iconic front man, from solo superstar to proud father of his own musical clan. In this hugely anticipated sequel to his critically acclaimed bestseller, Working Class Boy, Jimmy picks up the story of his life as he leaves Adelaide in the back of an old truck with a then unknown band called Cold Chisel.

A spellbinding and searingly honest reflection on success, fame and addiction; this self-penned memoir reveals how Jimmy Barnes used the fuel of childhood trauma to ignite and propel Australia’s greatest rock’n’roll story. But beyond the combustible merry-go-round of fame… Learn more.


Biographies & True Stories: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 Biographies & True Stories

Best of 2017 Biographies & True Stories

The Shortlist: Detours by Tim Rogers, Every Lie I’ve Ever Told by Rosie Waterland, Only by Caroline Baum, Dare Not Linger by Nelson Mandala, The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein, Wednesdays with Bob by Bob Hawke and Derek Rielly.

Read staff reviews of Detours, Every Lie I’ve Ever Told, Only, and Wednesdays with Bob.


History: Winner


Burke & Wills by Peter FitzSimonsBurke and Wills
by Peter FitzSimons

The iconic Australian exploration story – brought to life by Peter FitzSimons, Australia’s storyteller.

‘They have left here today!’ he calls to the others. When King puts his hand down above the ashes of the fire, it is to find it still hot. There is even a tiny flame flickering from the end of one log. They must have left just hours ago.

Melbourne, 20 August 1860. In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off, farewelled by 15,000 cheering well-wishers. Led by Robert O’Hara Burke, a brave man totally lacking in the bush skills necessary for his task; surveyor and meteorologist William Wills; and 17 others, the expedition took 20 tons of equipment carried on six wagons, 23 horses and 26 camels… Learn more.


History: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 History

Best of 2017 History

The Shortlist: Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason, Escape from Berlin by Peter Nash, Woolloomooloo by Louis Nowra, The Vandemonian War by Nick Brodie, Codename Suzette by Anne Nelson, Inglorious Empire by Shashi Tharoor.

Read a review of Saga Land by Booktopia’s Ben Hunter.


Food & Drink: Winner


Maggie's Recipe for Life by Maggie Beer.Maggie’s Recipe for Life
by Maggie Beer and Professor Ralph Martins

This book is so important to me.

To have a healthy old age you must act now, whether you are 30 or 50.

I have two great passions – sharing my love of cooking delicious simple food and improving the health and nutrition of older people. I hope this cookbook does both but it’s not for ‘old’ people, it’s for you. I have been delighted to work with leading Alzheimer’s researcher Professor Ralph Martins in recent years and I have learned that if we are to avoid Alzheimer’s and other lifestyle diseases it is what we eat today that matters… Learn more.


Food & Drink: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 Food & Drink

Best of 2017 Food & Drink

The Shortlist: delicious. daily by delicious. Magazine, Basics to Brilliance Kids by Donna Hay, Bourke Street Bakery: All Things Sweet by Paul Allam and David McGuinness, Matt Moran’s Australian Food: Coast + Country by Matt Moran, Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, 5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food by Jamie Oliver.


Trail Blazing Non-Fiction: Winner


Hunger by Roxane Gay.Hunger
by Roxane Gay

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past-including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life-and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it… Learn more.


Trail Blazing Non-Fiction: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 Trail Blazing Non-Fiction

Best of 2017 Trail Blazing Non-Fiction

The Shortlist: Birdmania by Bernd Brunner, Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis, Call of the Reed Warbler by Charles Massy, We Were Eight Years In Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman, The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young.

Read a review of The Secret Life of Cows by Booktopia’s Ben Hunter.


Young Adult Fiction: Winner


La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman.La Belle Sauvage
The Book of Dust: Volume 1
by Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman returns to the world of His Dark Materials with this magnificent new novel, set ten years before Northern Lights and featuring his much-loved character, Lyra Belacqua.

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua… Learn more.


Young Adult Fiction: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 Young Adult Fiction

Best of 2017 Young Adult Fiction

The Shortlist: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, Renegades by Marissa Meyer, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology edited by Danielle Binks, Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.

Read staff reviews for Unearthed, Strange the Dreamer, Renegades, and Begin, End, Begin.


Children’s Fiction: Winner


Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend.Nevermoor
The Trials of Morrigan Crow: Book 1
by Jessica Townsend

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Born on an unlucky day, she is blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on Eventide.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s there that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an… Learn more.


Children’s Fiction: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 Children's Fiction

Best of 2017 Children's Fiction

The Shortlist: The 91-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, Alien vs Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey, Funny Kid for President by Matt Stanton, The Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster by Sally Rippin, Tales From a Tall Forest by Shaun Micallef, The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty.


 Picture Books: Winner


Pig the Star by Aaron Blabey.Pig the Star
by Aaron Blabey

From beloved children’s author Aaron Blabey comes the fifth instalment in the Pig the Pug series.

Pig just LOVES attention.

In fact, he’s a great, big SHOW-OFF.

But when ANOTHER star appears at the photo shoot, Pig doesn’t like it.

No, Pig doesn’t like it at ALL… Learn more.


Picture Books: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 Picture Books

Best of 2017 Picture Books

The Shortlist: The Bum Book by Kate Mayes, When I Grow Up by Tim Minchin, Zoom by Sha’an d’Anthes, Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers, Hortense and the Shadow by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara, I Just Ate My Friend by Heidi McKinnon.


 DVDs: Winner


Logan starring Hugh JackmanLogan
Directed by James Mangold
Featuring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook

This year’s winner has brought a maturity to the superhero genre, chronicling Wolverine’s last stand in Logan.

In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces… Learn more.


DVDs: The Shortlist


Best of 2017 DVDs

The Shortlist: Battle of the Sexes, Wonder Woman, Your Name, Lion, Get Out, The LEGO Batman Movie.

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About the Contributor

Tanaya has been a lover of books for as long as she can remember. Now, her book collection is a little out of control, mostly consisting of YA fiction and pretty hardcovers. When she’s not reading, she spends a lot of her time taking photos of books for her bookstagram account, @prettypagesblog. She also has a love of Disneyland, bullet journaling and cats.

Follow Tanaya: Twitter

Comments

  • Margot Korbell

    December 31, 2017 at 10:22 am

    I would add Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

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