Another chapter has passed on our reading journey, but before we close the year, let’s take a look back at the stories we’ve come to know and love. From your Fully Booked family, here are our best books of 2017.
SEE YOU IN THE COSMOS by Jack Cheng
Recommended by Ilia U.
Adults are trained to reign in their feelings, to protect their vulnerabilities. See You in the Cosmos reminds us that it wasn’t always so—that not so long ago, we loved and cared about things with all our hearts, minds, and bodies. It was so refreshing to go on an adventure (that leads to both comic and serious consequences) with a kind and sensitive 11-year old motormouth who’s obsessed with rocket ships and space travel. Seeing the world through Alex Petroski’s perspective would get you reacquainted with the inner child within yourself.
THE RISE AND FALL OF D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
Recommended by Nicole S.
This humorous scifi-historical-romance hybrid collaboration between Stephenson and Galland is a daunting 768-page novel. But your reward is in the joy of immersing yourself in its layered and complex fictional worlds, in hilarious time-travel spy romps, in weird, witchy plot twists, and a will-they-won’t-they story for the ages. This book is best enjoyed unrushed.
WITHOUT MERIT by Colleen Hoover
Recommended by Micah C.
I love this book, simply because it is another masterpiece and because how can you not? The book is composed of relevant and relatable issues this generation are currently experiencing. I would suggest this book to every teenager I’ll meet. It is heart-warming, eye opening but at the same time excruciating painful that you want to go inside the book and hug Merit and tell her that everything will be alright.
I loved that it tackles more profound issues of a family and how it slowly builds up characters as the story slowly progress. Also, that precious chapter where they brought up the issues in Syria? THAT- IS – GOLD.
I want to personally thank Colleen Hoover for breaking my heart and put the pieces back together. This book itself is a healing paraphernalia and I couldn’t get more excited to share this to everyone.
SOUR HEART by Jenny Zhang
Recommended by Joana L.
Jenny Zhang’s collection of short stories is a harrowing reflection of (and on) the immigrant experience in New York City in the ‘90s. I cried while reading most of the stories—never mind that more often than not I read in public places—and about two-thirds in I had to stop and read something else, just to give my not-so-sour heart a rest.
The stories revolve around young girls trying to find their way through puberty, poverty, sexuality, identity, and the suffocating binds of family that people outside of the culture will probably have a hard time understanding. Some of these stories seem exaggerated, too bad to be true, but for someone who grew up in a tight-knit household and a culture that subconsciously perpetuates dependency and indebtedness, it just hits too close to home.
Sour Heart, for me, is a necessary read, especially if you’re struggling with figuring out who you are outside of those around you. It hurts, like ripping a band-aid off a still open wound, and allowing it to heal with nothing but air and time.
THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL: QUESTS FOR GLORY by Soman Chainani
Recommended by Agnes F.
I was never a major fan of Young Adult novels but ever since I read the 1st installation of The School of Good and Evil, I enjoyed Soman Chainani’s flare of offering a two-sided story. The latest book gives a glimpse of what happens after an “ever after”, and the struggles that comes with it. I like how Chainani added diversity and maturity to his characters as he grows his world without losing focus on the heart of the story. Like in his previous works, it’s hard to not get carried away with the unexpected twists and in the end, make you second guess, which is the truth and which is the lie.
UNCOMMON TYPE by Tom Hanks
Recommended by Hannah B.
Tom Hanks is a natural storyteller—his talent on screen translates well on the page, as seen in his fiction debut. The book holds seventeen stories in total, and the remarkable thing about these stories is the way Hanks builds tension, and how he rewards his readers after. Whether it’s four friends on a trip around the moon, an old man’s trip to the World’s Fair of ‘39, or a bowling ball’s trip to the pins waiting ahead, I find myself holding my breath in anticipation, rooting for the characters I have come to know in the span of a few short pages.
One thing all the stories have in common, aside from the typewriters, is that they are all light at heart. Even the ones with relatively heavier themes still reward us with some type of redemption in the end. For some it may be too neat and dandy, nothing but a rose-colored world. But I personally see it as a welcome break, the needed breath of fresh air amidst our current reality. It paints a quaint world, one nostalgic for the days when we were free to dream without limits, to reach for the stars and actually make it.
Read the full review here.
30-SECOND PSYCHOLOGY by Christian Jarret
Recommended by Pia M.
One of my best reads this 2017 is the “30-second Psychology: The 50 Most Thought-provoking Psychology Theories, Each Explained in Half a Minute” because it is different from the other psych books. I really love how they explained the theories with colorful illustrations. I also love how they explained everything briefly yet concisely. It was really amusing how they presented almost all the psychologists (or theories) in just one book. I want to recommend and share it to others because first, they will be able to relate to it, especially with the workings of human mind. Second, they will be able to appreciate and understand different kinds of personalities to help them not criticize nor judge people easily. And lastly, it was really fun reading this book.
DOTA 2: THE COMIC COLLECTION by Valve Corporation
Recommended by Duke D.
I loved this because as a gamer and a bookworm, this was a bridge to both of those worlds. Dota2 is currently one of the most popular games in the ESports scene, reaching around 1 million concurrent players. I enjoyed reading the histories and back stories of some of the characters, giving me a deeper insight and further developing the characters I frequently play with. It was fun reading the book while hearing the voices and accents of the in-game characters I so frequently encounter. I think this would be great for gamers (or parents with gamer children) who aren’t so much into books, yet would like to develop the habit of reading. This makes for a great starting point as it starts its audience off with something they’re already familiar with.
WHAT HAPPENED by Hillary Rodham Carter
Recommended by Jowana B. from the First Look Club
My pick is What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton. More than a fascinating a piece of modern history, the election memoir is a treatise on feminism and gender politics. Each chapter feels like a close girlfriend pouring her heart out and spilling hot tea.
What are your best books for 2017? Share them with us in the comments!