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Best Books of 2017

Thank you for visiting our “Best Books of 2017” page. We hope you find these books as interesting and entertaining as we have. This year’s books were selected by a group of twenty booksellers from across the country. We had the privilege to review hundreds of books that were published this year and as always it was very difficult to choose which books made the list. If you agree or disagree with our selections please let us know by tweeting with us @HudsonBooks or by posting on our Hudson Booksellers Facebook page. Enjoy!

2017 Book of the Year

Douglas Preston is best known for writing thrillers, but this real-life adventure showcases his research skills and his determination to discover the mysteries buried deep in the Honduran jungle. Between the threat of an ancient curse, deadly animals, and parasitic diseases the legendary City remained hidden until an amazing scientific breakthrough enabled the team to glimpse the historic ruins. This expedition finally revealed many secrets but nearly cost them their lives. –Sandra, Seattle

Best Non-Fiction

This memoir is filled with grief over the failings of Alexie's mother, as well as grief over things left unsaid and undone. Lillian Alexie lived a tragic but typical life of a Spokane Indian, dealing with alcoholism, abuse, and mental health issues. How could her son escape the same fate without turning his back on his culture? Alexie patches together the pieces of his life that have shaped the person he has become, as unique and beautiful as the quilts that were his mother's legacy. –Sandra, Seattle
 
 
 
 
Mark Bowden has written a well-researched and detailed book while keeping it interesting with not only details about military tactics. and battles but also the personal stories of the people who lived through the battle of Hue. Starting off the book with a history of Vietnam's occupation by different countries helped explain how America ended up in a war that was never going to be won. The book really stands out by connecting the horrendous daily reality of this 26-day battle with the personal stories of soldiers, marines, and officers who did their best to get through day by day and to live long enough to find themselves on their way home to the United States. –Cathy, Atlanta
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This candid and entertaining memoir tells of Franken’s upbringing in suburban Minnesota and the influence of Sen. Paul Wellstone. As a junior senator, elected by the slimmest margin in history, he has worked hard, kept his head down and learned as much as he could. He tells funny stories about his colleagues, many of whom he really likes (except Ted Cruz), and he also gives an interesting account of what a senator actually does on a day to day basis. He covers committee meetings, staff support, and the dreaded fund raising. This could be dry in the hands of nearly anyone else but Franken has a knack for writing. Did I mention he spent 15 years writing and performing at SNL? I love his dry wit, his clear explanations, and his passion for helping his constituents. And I loved this book. –Sydne, Atlanta
 
 
 
 
This is a sordid story from America’s history that I had never heard before. The Osage Indians were hustled off their land onto a small piece of Oklahoma scrub land that white men didn’t want. That is, until oil was discovered. After tribe members became immensely rich, many died in unexpected and unnatural ways. Local law enforcement couldn’t come to any conclusions so in comes a group of undercover agents from the Bureau of Investigation, later becoming the FBI, in one of the earliest uses of national law enforcement. This thrilling, infuriating true crime story uses the stories of individuals like Mollie Burkhart to examine the larger tale of greed and murder. Officially 24 died in this “reign of terror” but the story is much broader and its impact is still felt today. This is non-fiction that I wish weren’t true but it reads like a fantastic conspiracy tale from the best of our fiction story tellers. –Sydne, Atlanta
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sons and Soldiers reveals the rarely told WWII stories of young German-born Jewish boys who fled Germany and were forced to navigate new lives in a new land. Often they came alone without even news of their families who were still locked in the insanity and peril of WWII Germany. Nearly 2,000 of these young men chose to stand with their new homeland and fight for freedom against Nazism. The "Ritchie Boys," armed with their unique understanding of German culture and language, were indispensible for intelligence gathering and special missions which saved many lives and helped win the war. This book is a tribute to patriotism, courage, and strength which will resound in today's precarious world. –Becky, Minneapolis

Best Fiction

Love the flow, the imagery, and the historical details Jennifer Egan incorporated into the different characters' story lines. It’s set in depression era New York City and goes through WWII. Starting off with Eddie Kerrigan and his struggles to provide for his family, leads into other stories and eventually centers on his daughter Anna Kerrigan who works in the Brooklyn Naval Yard and has dreams of becoming a diver who would repair ships going into war, not your typical “women’s work.” There is also Dexter Styles who is a mobster and struggles with how his life has turned out. I read A Visit From the Goon Squad, but this is my favorite Jennifer Egan book so far. –Cathy, Atlanta
 
 
 
 
American War could have been set during any war, anywhere. It is a brilliant character study of a young girl growing up in a refugee camp, being influenced and manipulated by people with ulterior motives, and shaped by the events surrounding her.  I found myself swept up in her life, alternately angry with her choices and hopeful for her future. Add to this the speculative fiction backdrop of a second civil war and a country destroyed by deeply held resentments.  A compelling read that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it. –Jennifer, Atlanta
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I love this book. It's a whodunit following in the steps of Agatha Christie. It is two books in one. It starts in present day as an editor prepares to read a manuscript from their top author. I was so involved in the story that I forgot that it was a manuscript until I got to the end of it, found out who murdered one victim, and it ends abruptly. Then it flashes back to present time where you find out several chapters are missing from the manuscript. The editor goes in search of the missing chapters only to find a present day murder which she tries to solve. Lots of twists and turns in this book while you try to figure out whodunit. Love it! It will keep you guessing until the very end. –Ray, Denver
 
 
 
 
In The Changeling, strange things happen. It is, after all, a self-declared fairy tale for grown-ups, directly referencing Maurice Sendak’s picture book, Outside Over There. But LaValle vibrantly, and yes, realistically, grounds the novel in present day New York City. It’s a straight-up gorgeously written, page-turning story about a horrific act of violence, and about love and family and survival in the world we live in today. The fantastic is braided so seamlessly into the plot, the ideas, the structure and style of the book itself, that you hardly notice when veering into another dimension (and sometimes you’re mistaken). There are no gimmicks here. LaValle’s magic works because it reveals a greater truth than realistic fiction might, just as the best fiction itself can illustrate greater truths than nonfiction. Where is the line between supernatural monsters and everyday evil? Does it matter? The Changeling is brilliant, fun, dark, and deep. A rare treasure. –Sara, Atlanta
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Simultaneously beautiful and heartbreaking, Arundhati Roy’s stunning new novel paints the lives of her unforgettable characters over decades and across the Indian sub-continent to create a deeply moving tale of love, war, identity, place, and truth. This sweeping novel captures the joy and pain of lives lived, lives lost, lives rescued, and lives recaptured framed in the upturned world of a country at war with itself. From Anjum (formerly Aftab) to Miss Jebeen the Second (found abandoned in the night), Roy’s characters and their interactions weave together a breathtaking tale that draws you into the most intimate places of human experience while forcing you to question what it means to be human. –Della, Atlanta
 
 
 
 
Sing, Unburied, Sing is a dark and gorgeous song of love and heartbreak. It is haunting and tragic and disorienting in its timelessness. Deepwater Horizon anchors Ward’s tale to Mississippi today, otherwise almost indistinguishable from its notorious yesterday, a present and past (ironically) made more alive in the novel by ghosts, and where everyone suffers from the cancers of buried sins. Narrated in chapters alternating between Leonie, and her son Jojo, the story takes place over the course of just a few days. On Jojo’s 13th birthday, Leonie plans a road trip to pick up his and baby Kayla’s father Michael from prison while Mam is dying and Pop struggles to keep everyone safe. It’s The Odyssey meets the Delta blues meets William Faulkner and Toni Morrison and some ineffable something that is Jesmyn Ward’s own magic. –Sara, Atlanta

Best Young Readers

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Bookseller Favorites

Anne - Atlanta

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Becky - Minneapolis

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Cathy - Atlanta

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Christine - Chicago-ORD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Della - Atlanta

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Jennifer - Atlanta

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Justin - Atlanta

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Len - Chicago-ORD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mary Jo - Vancouver

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Matt - Los Angeles

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ray - Denver

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rebecca - Atlanta

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sandra - Seattle

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sara - Atlanta

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sydne - Atlanta