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2017 Books for the Holidays: Best of the Year

2017 has been an incredible year for books! Make sure your TBR list is up-to-date with these books by some of the most highly acclaimed authors, including Celeste Ng,  Salman Rushdie, Ken Follett, and George Saunders, among others.

Check out all our 2017 holiday lists here.

  1. Five-Carat Soul Book Cover Picture
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    Five-Carat Soul

    The stories in Five-Carat Soul—none of them ever published before—spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They’re funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic—all told with McBride’s unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail. McBride explores the ways we learn from the world and the people around us.

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  2. Lincoln in the Bardo Book Cover Picture
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    Lincoln in the Bardo

    From a seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. After his death, Abraham Lincoln’s son finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state, called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

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  3. American Wolf Book Cover Picture
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    American Wolf

    With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of O-Six, a charismatic wolf named for the year of her birth. Uncommonly powerful, with gray fur and faint black ovals around each eye, O-Six is a kind and merciful leader, a fiercely intelligent fighter, and a doting mother. Once abundant in North America, wolves were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West.

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  4. The Readymade Thief Book Cover Picture
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    The Readymade Thief

    Betrayed by her family after taking the fall for a friend, Lee finds refuge in a cooperative of runaways holed up in an abandoned building they call the Crystal Castle. But the façade of the Castle conceals a far more sinister agenda, one hatched by a society of fanatical men set on decoding a series of powerful secrets hidden in plain sight. And they believe Lee holds the key to it all. The Readymade Thief is a novel of puzzles, conspiracies, secret societies, urban exploration, art history, and a singular, indomitable heroine.

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  5. Turtles All the Way Down Book Cover Picture
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    Turtles All the Way Down

    Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred thousand dollar reward at stake and her best friend Daisy is eager to investigate. Aza is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. In his long-awaited return, John Green shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the lifelong power of friendship.

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  6. Little Fires Everywhere Book Cover Picture
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    Little Fires Everywhere

    Elena Richardson embodies the spirit of Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb. Mia Warren, an enigmatic artist, arrives with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town, and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

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  7. Killers of the Flower Moon Book Cover Picture
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    Killers of the Flower Moon

    In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals.

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  8. Exit West Book Cover Picture
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    Exit West

    In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet, sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. When it explodes, they begin to hear whispers about doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are.

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  9. The Golden House Book Cover Picture
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    The Golden House

    On the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from foreign shores takes up residence in a cloistered community in New York’s Greenwich Village. Along with his improbable name, untraceable accent, and unmistakable whiff of danger, Nero Golden has brought along his three adult sons with their own secrets and drama. Set against the strange and exuberant backdrop of current American culture and politics, The Golden House  marks Salman Rushdie’s triumphant and exciting return to realism. The result is a modern epic of love and terrorism, loss and reinvention

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  10. Endurance Book Cover Picture
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    Endurance

    The veteran of four spaceflights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Kelly’s humanity, compassion, humor, and determination resonate throughout this memoir, as he recalls his rough-and-tumble New Jersey childhood and the youthful inspiration that sparked his astounding career, and as he makes clear his belief that Mars will be the next, ultimately challenging, step in spaceflight.

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  11. Autumn Book Cover Picture
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    Autumn

    Autumn begins with a letter Karl Ove Knausgaard writes to his unborn daughter. He writes one short piece per day, describing the material and natural world with precision and mesmerising intensity. This beautifully illustrated book is a personal encyclopedia on everything from chewing gum to the stars. Through close observation of the objects and phenomena around him, Knausgaard shows us how vast, unknowable and wondrous the world is.

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  12. My Absolute Darling Book Cover Picture
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    My Absolute Darling

    At fourteen, Turtle Alveston roams the woods along the northern California coast. However, Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, she realizes her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. With escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, Turtle struggles to become her own hero.

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  13. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness Book Cover Picture
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    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent—from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war.

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  14. Days Without End Book Cover Picture
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    Days Without End

    Thomas McNulty, aged barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine in Ireland, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas goes on to fight in the Indian Wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. An intensely poignant story of two men and the makeshift family they create with a young Sioux girl, Winona, Days Without End is a fresh and haunting portrait of the most fateful years in American history.

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  15. Mrs. Osmond Book Cover Picture
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    Mrs. Osmond

    Isabel Archer is a young American woman, swept off to Europe in the late nineteenth century by an aunt who hopes to round out the impetuous but naïve girl’s experience of the world. When Isabel comes into a large, unexpected inheritance, she is finagled into a marriage with the charming, penniless, and—as Isabel finds out too late—cruel and deceitful Gilbert Osmond. John Banville extends the story of Isabel Archer, the heroine of Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, into unexpected territory.

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  16. A Column of Fire Book Cover Picture
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    A Column of Fire

    As Europe erupts, can one young spy protect his queen? International bestselling author Ken Follett takes us deep into the treacherous world of powerful monarchs, intrigue, murder, and treason with his magnificent new epic, A Column of Fire. Set during one of the most turbulent and revolutionary times in history, A Column of Fire is one of Follett’s most exciting and ambitious works yet.

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  17. Watch Me Disappear Book Cover Picture
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    Watch Me Disappear

    It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never found. Together, Billie’s husband and daughter embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, but also about themselves, learning, in the process, about all the ways that love can distort what we choose to see.

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  18. The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories Book Cover Picture
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    The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories

    In this collection of short stories, Penelope Lively takes up themes of history, family, and relationships across varied and vividly rendered settings. In the title story, a Mediterranean purple swamp hen chronicles the secrets and scandals of Quintus Pompeius’s villa, culminating with his narrow escape from the lava and ash of Vesuvius. Each of these delightful stories is elevated by Lively’s signature graceful prose and eye for the subtle yet powerfully evocative detail.

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  19. Woman No. 17 Book Cover Picture
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    Woman No. 17

    High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. In response to a Craigslist ad, S arrives, a magnetic young artist who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s children while she works on her memoir. But in the heat of the summer, S’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. And as Lady and S move closer to one another, the glossy veneer of Lady’s privileged life begins to crack, threatening to expose old secrets that she has been keeping from her family.

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  20. The Story of Arthur Truluv Book Cover Picture
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    The Story of Arthur Truluv

    For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same, and the last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life. Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who visits the cemetery to escape the other kids at school. As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio band together and, through heartache and hardships, help one another rediscover their own potential to start anew.

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  21. Before We Were Yours Book Cover Picture
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    Before We Were Yours

    Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents, but they quickly realize the truth. Present day, born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all. However she takes a journey through her family’s long-hidden history. Before We Were Yours is based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals, in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country.

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  22. On Tyranny Book Cover Picture
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    On Tyranny

    The Founding Fathers tried to protect Americans from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. On Tyranny explains how our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century.

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  23. American War Book Cover Picture
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    American War

    An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle—a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.

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  24. The Evolution of Beauty Book Cover Picture
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    The Evolution of Beauty

    The Evolution of Beauty presents a unique scientific vision for how nature’s splendor contributes to a more complete understanding of evolution and of ourselves.

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