While some of the year's most anticipated books are still yet to hit our shelves, there have already been some truly phenomenal books released this year.
From debut novelists to seasoned authors, and across all genres from historical fiction to contemporary crime, 2017 has delivered the goods, so to speak, for our reading lives.
Around the mid-point of 2017, we asked our team members both in the office and across our stores to tell us about their favourite book of the year so far.
We wanted to get a selection of recommendations that would suit just about every taste and reading preference, so hopefully the books picked will inspire you to add one (or two or three) to your TBR pile.
The Shape of Us by Lisa Ireland
This is the story of four very different women who meet in a forum, develop a chat room friendship and eventually a bond that can't be broken. What begins as a place to talk about weight loss becomes so much more, especially when they all come together for a weekend in St Leonards. These bonds are tested over time and it is how they help each other get through to the other side that really reminds you that the bonds of friendship can be unbreakable, if you find the right friends. The book is well written and is a story that we can all relate to - worries about weight, about ourselves and about our family (whatever form that might take). It is easy to read and if you are anything like me, will be sucked in to the dramas quickly. These ladies create for themselves a family, a sisterhood, that needs to withstand the ultimate test.
Julie, Dymocks Waurn Ponds
The Good People by Hannah Kent
Set in 1820s country Ireland, The Good People
follows Nora Leahy, recently widowed and now caring for her grandson, a crippled boy with a soft mind. Reluctantly, Nora entrusts the treatment of the lad to the local herb hag, Nance Roche. The Irish countryside is so richly described you can feel the damp in your toes as Kent sweeps you into this mystical, heartbreaking story.
Louise, Dymocks Adelaide
Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land
If you want a book that is gripping and an intense psychological thrill, this is the book for you. When you grow up abused beyond belief in more ways than one by your own mother, what will you become? With the decade of experience author Ali Land has working as a child and adolescent mental health nurse, this book is so real, well-written, and twisted. A true masterpiece for fans of the genre!
Sophie, Dymocks Albury
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster
Paul Auster’s love of New York City leaps off the page in 4 3 2 1
, transporting readers to the tumultuous but exciting landscape in which Archie Ferguson navigates his place in the world – four different times, in four different ways, with four very different conclusions. Each layer adds immense depth to this coming of age story that unfurls in the setting that surrounded Auster himself in the formative years of his life. Once again cementing his status as a master of contemporary fiction, Auster’s tales of Archie’s lives are as heartbreaking as they are heart-warming. This is a must read.
Ella, Merchandise Team Assistant
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book so much, but magic combined with adventure and family trivia all seriously make for one fantastic and mesmerizing read! It took me out of my comfort zone and I was able to appreciate fantasy mixed with fiction… and a little love story never hurt anyone. I do recommend people to give this book a try; you (hopefully) won’t be disappointed. I wasn’t!
Nicole, Marketing Coordinator
Slow Horses by Mick Herron
If you are a John Le Carre, or Len Deighton fan this is a series you must read. It centres around MI6 agents that have made ‘mistakes’ – slow horses - that are looking for redemption. Clever plot, great dialogue, with a touch of humour. Highly recommended for anyone that is a fan of the spy genre.
Richard, Regional Business Development Manager
The Force by Don Winslow
Without a doubt my favourite book of the year so far is Don Winslow's The Force
. It revolves around a group of New York police officers in contemporary New York, their bond with each other, corruption, violence, family, brotherhood, and the grey areas of their policing. Who are the bad guys, who are the good? Whilst it is fiction, it feels so very real. It's a magnificent rollercoaster of a novel. I laughed out loud but it also ripped my heart out. 14/10 would read again.
Karen, Dymocks Adelaide
Camino Island by John Grisham
I’m not a regular John Grisham reader and I suspect that if I was, I would not have enjoyed Camino Island
anywhere near as much as I did – it’s a big step away from his usual legal thriller style. Instead, Grisham has penned a love letter to books and readers, and the novel opens with the theft of the five original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from Princeton University. What follows is a race to recover the manuscripts before the trail goes cold and when it inevitably does, an unlikely heroine emerges. I absolutely loved this book.
Tonile, Digital & Community Coordinator
Insomniac City by Bill Hayes
Bill moves to New York after the sudden death of his much-loved partner, Steve, in San Francisco. He falls in love with New York and with neurologist, Oliver Sacks. Insomniac City
is a book of joy and celebration as he discovers the wonderful people and places in New York. He is in awe of Oliver's amazingly enquiring mind and supports him as he succumbs to cancer. As an amateur photographer, he records many of the places he visits and people he meets and includes some of these in the book.
Mandy, Franchise Owner of Dymocks Adelaide
Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology edited by Danielle Binks
A brilliant mix of contemporary, fantasy and sci-fi short stories, Begin, End, Begin
is an anthology with something for everyone, and a true showcase of the world-class talent that Australian young adult fiction has to offer. I loved every story in this collection, but my particular favourites were Lili Wilkinson’s enchanting Oona Underground
and Will Kostakis’s I Can See The Ending
Sarah, Inventory Assistant
The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne
This is a compelling read that will no doubt be one of the books of the year; a psychological thriller that keeps you captivated from start to finish. A 14-year-old girl is kidnapped by a feral survivalist, and she is then subjected to 12 years of primitive captivity in the Michigan Peninsula wilderness, during which time she bears him a daughter, Helena. Helena, who is taught the hunting and trapping skills of her father, is totally unaware of the circumstances which led her there. Helena’s father is a psychopath who is cruel to Helena but more so to her mother. Helena’s father is ultimately incarcerated; however, 13 years into his sentence, he escapes. Helena must use all the skills she learned as a child to keep her new family safe from her past. Once you start you will not be able to put it down… What an ending!
Jon, Franchise Owner of Dymocks Brisbane
One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
Five students start detention on Monday afternoon, but only four students live to tell the tale. When Simon, the creator of the schools notorious gossip app mysteriously dies in detention, fingers are pointed at the remaining four students, who all have secrets they are desperate to keep hidden. Did Simon know too much? When a book is likened to one of the most popular 80s movies of all time, the pressure to meet expectation is high. But in the same way that the stereotypical teenagers in The Breakfast Club
somehow found a way into my heart, so too did the class of misfits from Bayview High. The mystery of the book gives the story its pace, but it is the characters that keep the reader engrossed. I really enjoyed the four perspectives from which the story is told, and trying my best to solve the mystery. It keeps you gripped from the beginning, and is totally unputdownable.
Imogen, Category Manager
Storyland by Catherine McKinnon
is a striking novel that seems to effortlessly capture the complexity of the Australian voice. Told across a millennium and from the perspective of five different inter-related characters, a certain patch of coast and a mammoth fig tree provide the continuity and focus point as the reader is taken from first contact in 1796 and on to a bleak dystopian future. Catherine McKinnon writes beautifully and this novel left me thoughtful and sensitive to the many voices that have come before me and those that are yet to come.
Sophie, Head of Merchandise and Marketing
Tinman by Sarah Winman
This book is short and my review will be too. You must read this book. It is wonderful.
Alexandra, Category Manager
With characters that draw you in so completely, you will most likely read this perfectly formed novel of love and loss in one sitting. I loved this book!
Sharyn, Merchandise Manager
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Talent
(published in September 2017)
I read My Absolute Darling
earlier in June and the story has stayed with me long after finishing the last page. 14-year-old Turtle’s journey of self-realisation as she struggles to escape from her abusive and controlling father is utterly compelling. The subject matter is confronting but the writing is so beautiful, the voices completely authentic and the story so immersive, it keeps you gunning for Turtle through every setback. A stunning debut and the best book I’ve read so far this year.
Sue, PR Manager
Those are our picks! What's the best book you've read this year?