Nobody can argue that many aspects of 2017 were piles of flaming garbage. That doesn’t mean literature failed us though. I read 24 books* this year. While there’s never enough time for all the wonderful writing in the world and while I wish I had read more, I am more than satisfied with the books I chose this year. Therefore, to the Big Little Literature library: You got ranked.
*This number does not count Zadie Smith’s Swing Time and Aravind Adiga’s Selection Day, which I just could not finish.
As a book connoisseur (some might now even call me a critic), I’m pretty easy to please. When you read finance material all day at work, you’re happy to absorb any form of creativity. Very seldom have I found a book I can’t finish or that fails to light the tiniest of sparks. But finding a full-on scorcher is even harder. That type of material is the stuff of J.K. Rowling, Ann Patchett, and Emily Giffin. I might enjoy a lot of books, but I can’t hand out five flames for just anything. Therefore, I am happy to give you Big Little Literature’s first ever inferno.
Maybe it’s because this stellar novel was published on my birthday, Feb. 14, but I instantly connected with Lincoln in the Bardo. I read it during a particularly painful flight experience to and from Denver. Counting delays, this totaled about 10 hours, but with Lincoln, it felt like two. This story will surely dominate every Best of 2017 list; it’s already dominated mine.
George Saunders, one of Time‘s most influential people in 2013, began writing his multigenre and first novel after hearing the tale of Abraham Lincoln paying multiple visits to the crypt of his son, Willie, after he died at the age of 11. What he created wasn’t just a fictional story about life after death but a creative venture that took me into the past and into another world.