With the first half of the year almost gone, it's time for a little retrospective on a good and decent corner of the world: books. The Amazon Books Editors just released their 20 Best Books of 2017 So Far, and they're just what you need to take your summer reading list to the next level.
Every year, the Amazon Books Editors release two annual best-of lists. For the mid-June "so far" list, the editors handpick 20 of their favorite titles published between January and June. A second, longer list comes out each December, and features not only the Top 100 books overall, but several shorter, Top 20 lists as well. (You can check out Amazon's Best Books of 2016 here.)
For 2017's mid-year list, the Amazon Books Editors have named Arundhati Roy's second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, as the best book of 2017 so far. Roy is the author of the Man Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things, which was published in 1997. She has also written more than a dozen nonfiction books, including The End of Imagination and Capitalism: A Ghost Story.
Check out The Ministry of Utmost Happiness and the 19 other best books of 2017 so far, as chosen by Amazon Books Editors, below.
1'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness' by Arundhati Roy
This No. 1 Bestseller in Indian Literature connects the lives of a broad cast of characters, including Anjum, an intersex woman, and Tilottama, a freedom-fighter with a slew of former lovers.
2'Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI' by David Grann
During the early 20th century, the Osage Indians of Oklahoma were some of the wealthiest people in the world, thanks to the rich oil reserves under their land. When intermarrying with and discrediting the indigenous was not enough, white locals began to murder their Osage neighbors and cover up the crimes, in a case that would become the first big break for the FBI.
3'Beartown' by Fredrik Backman
From A Man Called Ove author Fredrik Backman comes this grim novel about a town torn apart by an alleged crime and a shared love of hockey. The daughter of the Beartown hockey team's manager has accused the team's affluent star of rape. On the path to a championship, the team will be hobbled by the removal of its best athlete, leaving Beartown and its families ripped apart in the search for answers.
4'Exit West' by Mohsin Hamid
Two aimless young adults face the responsibilities of growing up as they become world-travelers via a series of inexplicable doors that transport them from their war-torn homeland into more peaceful and verdant environments.
5'Priestdaddy' by Patricia Lockwood
After a decade of independence, a medical crisis pitched Patricia Lockwood and her husband back into her childhood home, where they remained for eight months. In Priestdaddy, Lockwood examines her two periods at home — in childhood and in adulthood — and her relationship with her father: an ex-military, ex-Lutheran rocker who converted himself into a Catholic priest.
6'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me' by Sherman Alexie
In this poetic new memoir, Sherman Alexie explores his childhood on the Spokane Indian Reservation, where he lived in a one-bedroom home with his alcoholic parents and five siblings. Of particular focus is Alexie's mother, who quit drinking before his father, and the author's complex relationship with her.
7'Lincoln in the Bardo' by George Saunders
The night after his son's interment, President Lincoln goes to commune with his dead child and ponder the consequences of the looming Civil War in this inventive debut novel that is narrated primarily by two ghosts.
8'The Impossible Fortress' by Jason Rekulak
A group of teenage boys hatch a plan to get their hands on the Vanna White issue of Playboy magazine, a plan that includes charming the daughter of a local shopkeeper. But when Billy and Mary actually hit it off and start to design their own computer game, the scheme stands a good chance of ruining everything.
9'Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body' by Roxane Gay
The author of Bad Feminist and Difficult Women put out yet another bestseller this year with Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. After she was horrifically raped at the age of 12, Roxane Gay turned to food and fatness as a shield against the world. In Hunger, she navigates trauma, emotion, and her personal relationship with her body.
10'Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow' by Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens author Yuval Noah Harari returns to the story of mankind with Homo Deus, a look into humanity's godlike future. With technological advancement quickly reducing previously serious problems into navigable annoyances, humans, Harari argues, are poised to become nearly immortal.
11'Strange the Dreamer' by Laini Taylor
The first installment in a new fantasy series, Laini Taylor's Strange the Dreamer centers on Lazlo Strange, a young librarian recruited to help rid his city of a sky-blocking citadel that belonged to now-dead gods.
12'Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy' by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg lost her husband unexpectedly in 2015, and had to find a way to move through the interrupted dreams she had for her family's future. In this new book, co-written with Originals author Adam Grant, Sandberg offers up sage advice for those dealing with intense grief.
13'The Weight of Ink' by Rachel Kadish
Summoned to a former student's home, an aging professor of Jewish history finds herself caught up in a collection of papers from a 17th-century woman who charted Jewish history and geography, and tussled with the tough questions of the faith.
14'The Lost City of the Monkey God' by Douglas Preston
Part-travel literature and part-microhistory, Douglas Preston's The Lost City of the Monkey God explores an ancient city — said to be sacred to a variety of gods, located in the Honduran jungle — and all the animal, vegetable, and viral dangers that surround it.
15'4 3 2 1' by Paul Auster
Over the course of this thick tome of a novel, author Paul Auster tells and re-tells the life of Archie Ferguson four times over, giving alternate versions of one man's personal timeline.
16'This Is How It Always Is' by Laurie Frankel
Written by the mother of a transgender child, This Is How It Always Is delves into the lives of Poppy Walsh-Adams and her family, who have relocated to Seattle to escape the transphobia that haunted them in their native Madison, Wisconsin — a prejudice so bad that none of the soon-to-be-pubescent Poppy's friends or neighbors know she is a trans girl.
17'The Bear and the Nightingale' by Katherine Arden
This exciting fairy tale set in medieval Russia centers on Vasya, a motherless girl who has the rare ability to commune with fey creatures and spirits, and Konstantin, a pious priest who believes the world should be exorcised of those same magical creatures.
18'Quicksand' by Malin Persson Giolito
The narrator of this crime novel is Maja, an 18-year-old student whose boyfriend, Sebastian, has just carried out a school shooting. Thrown in jail and currently under investigation for her part in the events, Maja retells the tragedy and her relationship with Sebastian.
19'Ginny Moon' by Benjamin Ludwig
A young girl with autism plots to reunite with her beloved Baby Doll in this layered novel from Benjamin Ludwig. Ginny's adoptive parents do not support her quest, which will lead her dangerously close to her abusive birth mother, meaning that, if she wants to get Baby Doll back, she's on her own.
20'One of the Boys' by Daniel Magariel
After misleading the courts in order to win full custody for their father, two brothers find themselves alone with a man who turns out to be more of a monster. But family allegiances die hard, and the children will do all they can to keep what remains of their damaged family.