THE 2017 #BOOKLIST

Every year shepherds in a wealth of can’t-put-it-down reads, some inarguably lighter than others. Below, you’ll find some of our favorites from the bunch, which all hold their own (and then some) as great books. Some of these require a serious time commitment, though all justify the investment, and are more pleasure than “work.” It was really hard to cull this list down, particularly when it came to writers who issued masterpiece after masterpiece. But, here we are the 201 #BookList. 

You might recognize the name of New York's "hottest mess" from the headlines of the New York Daily News' venerable gossip pages. "The Hunter S. Thompson of the beauty beat," Cat Marnell climbed through NYLON, Teen Vogue, Glamour, Lucky, and xoJane before self-destructing in a most public — and jealousy-inducing — fashion. Written with a healthy dose of humor, Marnell's memoir takes you from her time at prep school to days of pill-popping, nightclubs, mental hospitals, and Condé Nast. "At times Marnell seemed so hellbent on doom that I began to wonder if hers wasn't entirely an act," a New York Times writer mused at the height of the Marnell drama, in 2012. But that is for you to decide.

You might recognize the name of New York's "hottest mess" from the headlines of the New York Daily News' venerable gossip pages. "The Hunter S. Thompson of the beauty beat," Cat Marnell climbed through NYLON, Teen Vogue, Glamour, Lucky, and xoJane before self-destructing in a most public — and jealousy-inducing — fashion. Written with a healthy dose of humor, Marnell's memoir takes you from her time at prep school to days of pill-popping, nightclubs, mental hospitals, and Condé Nast. "At times Marnell seemed so hellbent on doom that I began to wonder if hers wasn't entirely an act," a New York Times writer mused at the height of the Marnell drama, in 2012. But that is for you to decide.

As a longtime magazine writer and editor, Alam adroitly observes what happens to childhood friendships with the inevitable drift into adulthood, and the incipient struggle to reconcile feelings of enduring sisterhood and shared history with the reality of who we might be today. In Rich & Pretty, the two protagonists navigate this dichotomy, though it’s also an unabashedly fun read about what it’s like to live and strive in NYC in your 20s and 30s.

As a longtime magazine writer and editor, Alam adroitly observes what happens to childhood friendships with the inevitable drift into adulthood, and the incipient struggle to reconcile feelings of enduring sisterhood and shared history with the reality of who we might be today.

In Rich & Pretty, the two protagonists navigate this dichotomy, though it’s also an unabashedly fun read about what it’s like to live and strive in NYC in your 20s and 30s.

You might have already read Alana Massey and not known it. She is the author of the "Being Winona In A World Made for Gwyneths," an explosive BuzzFeed essay that landed her a literary agent in less than 24 hours, or perhaps you've read "Against Chill," a takedown of the titular "garbage virtue that will destroy the species." In All the Lives I Want, Massey bridges the gap from Sylvia Plath to Amber Rose, and all the high- and lowbrow female celebrities in between with her deeply contemporary voice and sense of humor. "These women — often the subjects of great scrutiny by celebrity magazines — prompt the author to ponder, with wit and keen self-reflection, what our feelings about them reveal about us," Kirkus Review writes.

You might have already read Alana Massey and not known it. She is the author of the "Being Winona In A World Made for Gwyneths," an explosive BuzzFeed essay that landed her a literary agent in less than 24 hours, or perhaps you've read "Against Chill," a takedown of the titular "garbage virtue that will destroy the species." In All the Lives I Want, Massey bridges the gap from Sylvia Plath to Amber Rose, and all the high- and lowbrow female celebrities in between with her deeply contemporary voice and sense of humor. "These women — often the subjects of great scrutiny by celebrity magazines — prompt the author to ponder, with wit and keen self-reflection, what our feelings about them reveal about us," Kirkus Review writes.


Edan Lepucki was the "it" girl of 2014 with her post-apocalyptic novel, California. She very well might repeat her success this spring with a Hollywood noir about the electric bonds between women, Woman No. 17. "In Edan Lepucki's hands, the philosophical is transformed into a page turner; I don't know how she does it," raves Rich & Pretty author Rumaan Alam. Oh, and there's reportedly a lot of sex; this one is a safe bet for beach season.

Edan Lepucki was the "it" girl of 2014 with her post-apocalyptic novel, California. She very well might repeat her success this spring with a Hollywood noir about the electric bonds between women, Woman No. 17.

"In Edan Lepucki's hands, the philosophical is transformed into a page turner; I don't know how she does it," raves Rich & Pretty author Rumaan Alam. Oh, and there's reportedly a lot of sex; this one is a safe bet for beach season.

New Yorker staff writer Elif Batuman makes her fictional debut with "a semi-autobiographical novel that I decided to call The Idiot," as she put it to LitHub. "I'm hoping I don't run into copyright problems." (Her last book, a work of nonfiction, was called The Possessed — Russian literature fans will see the pattern). The Idiot follows 18-year-old Turkish-American Selin in the fall of 1995, where she is settling into Harvard, befriending a Serbian named Svetlana, and emailing an older math major named Ivan, who is living in Hungry. Emailing! It's still new and baffling to Selin, as are many of the complexities of the world at large. Yes, this is "coming of age," but it's also entirely self-aware and a charming treat.

New Yorker staff writer Elif Batuman makes her fictional debut with "a semi-autobiographical novel that I decided to call The Idiot," as she put it to LitHub. "I'm hoping I don't run into copyright problems." (Her last book, a work of nonfiction, was called The Possessed — Russian literature fans will see the pattern). The Idiot follows 18-year-old Turkish-American Selin in the fall of 1995, where she is settling into Harvard, befriending a Serbian named Svetlana, and emailing an older math major named Ivan, who is living in Hungry. Emailing! It's still new and baffling to Selin, as are many of the complexities of the world at large. Yes, this is "coming of age," but it's also entirely self-aware and a charming treat.

Summer Brennan wrote a beautifully reported book about the feud between environmentalists and oyster farmers in the coastal towns north of San Francisco in 2015, but these days she might be better known for leading the "resistance" against Donald Trump on Twitter and on her podcast, The FourFiftyOne. Brennan, as it turns out, also recently wrote a book about high heels for Bloomsbury's fantastic Object Lessons series, and it will be coming out in September. While no one can ever seem to agree if high heels are feminist or not, Brennan is sure to have an informed and richly researched opinion on the topic. Expect it not to be clear cut, though: "Will $700 high heels hate my feet less (even though I found them 'slightly worn' for $70)?" she tweeted last summer. "Time [and] the streets of Paris will tell."

Summer Brennan wrote a beautifully reported book about the feud between environmentalists and oyster farmers in the coastal towns north of San Francisco in 2015, but these days she might be better known for leading the "resistance" against Donald Trump on Twitter and on her podcast, The FourFiftyOne. Brennan, as it turns out, also recently wrote a book about high heels for Bloomsbury's fantastic Object Lessons series, and it will be coming out in September. While no one can ever seem to agree if high heels are feminist or not, Brennan is sure to have an informed and richly researched opinion on the topic. Expect it not to be clear cut, though: "Will $700 high heels hate my feet less (even though I found them 'slightly worn' for $70)?" she tweeted last summer. "Time [and] the streets of Paris will tell."

the only Jamaican written and young adult targeted book to make it on the list, 'Dew Angels' did so with no bias. Arguably one of the most talked about Jamaican written books of the 21st century Dew Angels is a spirited tale of Nola Chambers and her life and times a dark skinned girl in a light skinned family. The book has its own interesting way of accounting Nola's experiences in her village and family with heavy notes of prejudice and forms of abuse. Most who've read the originally published copy will tell you Dew Angels is  'An incredible read’ (Off The Shelf) ‘One awesome book’ (Shelf Life). 

the only Jamaican written and young adult targeted book to make it on the list, 'Dew Angels' did so with no bias. Arguably one of the most talked about Jamaican written books of the 21st century Dew Angels is a spirited tale of Nola Chambers and her life and times a dark skinned girl in a light skinned family. The book has its own interesting way of accounting Nola's experiences in her village and family with heavy notes of prejudice and forms of abuse. Most who've read the originally published copy will tell you Dew Angels is  'An incredible read’ (Off The Shelf) ‘One awesome book’ (Shelf Life). 


As one of the country’s most compelling writers, it’s no surprise that Haslett’s latest novel is gripping and gorgeous. The story of a family both destroyed and united by depression, it is deeply human and wrenching, with pockets of humor and hope.

As one of the country’s most compelling writers, it’s no surprise that Haslett’s latest novel is gripping and gorgeous. The story of a family both destroyed and united by depression, it is deeply human and wrenching, with pockets of humor and hope.

Kristen Radtke has caught the attention of the right kinds of people with her debut graphic novel, Imagine Only Wanting This. Places that have been abandoned by memory and the people who once called them home fascinate Radtke, who travels from the Midwest to Iceland to the Philippines to New York City in this cross-genre nonfiction work. It's worlds more than a travelogue, though — it's also a journey through grief, memory, and family. If the fact that it's illustrated turns you off, resist: Radtke's grayscale art, combined with her MFA in nonfiction from the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program, makes Imagine Always Wanting This "a fantastic example of the graphic novel's possibilities as a literary medium," according to Library Journal.

Kristen Radtke has caught the attention of the right kinds of people with her debut graphic novel, Imagine Only Wanting This. Places that have been abandoned by memory and the people who once called them home fascinate Radtke, who travels from the Midwest to Iceland to the Philippines to New York City in this cross-genre nonfiction work. It's worlds more than a travelogue, though — it's also a journey through grief, memory, and family. If the fact that it's illustrated turns you off, resist: Radtke's grayscale art, combined with her MFA in nonfiction from the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program, makes Imagine Always Wanting This "a fantastic example of the graphic novel's possibilities as a literary medium," according to Library Journal.

So immersed are we in a wired and connected life, it’s easy to forget that this is a new reality, that we are still in the midst of one of the most groundbreaking cultural shifts…perhaps ever. Virginia Heffernan brilliantly explores what this means to us all, and why the internet might be the greatest (certainly the largest) piece of art ever created.

So immersed are we in a wired and connected life, it’s easy to forget that this is a new reality, that we are still in the midst of one of the most groundbreaking cultural shifts…perhaps ever. Virginia Heffernan brilliantly explores what this means to us all, and why the internet might be the greatest (certainly the largest) piece of art ever created.