As you probably know if you’ve been reading my blog lately, I’ve had this feeling that I was on a completely different page than the serious literary critics about the Best Books of 2017. But, I didn’t really know for sure…
Then, a light went off…I could find out for sure exactly how far I was off from the serious literary critics. And, even better, which bookish media sources I should pay the most attention to (my best) and which I should ignore (my worst)? And, you can too (by using my free Excel template, available for download below)!
I kept track of as many Best Books of 2017 lists from major bookish news sources as possible and calculated what percentage of their Best Books of 2017 I liked / didn’t like. Now that I know my Best Bookish News Sources, I can use these publications or podcasts to pick better books moving forward!
The Best Best Books of 2017 Lists I Agree With Most
These are my Best Bookish Media Sources…
- Sorta Book Nerds Facebook Group, an offshoot of the Sorta Awesome podcast (50%)
- Modern Mrs. Darcy / What Should I Read Next? podcast (33%)
- Book of the Month Club (25%)
- Amazon (23%)
- From the Front Porch podcast (23%)
- I’m calling these bookish media sources “the people’s sources,” meaning their followers lean more “regular readers” vs. book industry insiders. They have broader appeal and lean toward compelling stories and entertaining books.
- The majority of these sources are podcasts, which I didn’t even listen to over a year ago!
- I’m a bit surprised that Modern Mrs. Darcy made this list as I’d always thought she preferred lighter, happier books than I do. Goes to show what you can learn from looking at the numbers!
- Amazon is a goldmine to have as a Best source…they publish Best Books of the Month lists each month, which are a great recommendation source that I hadn’t been taking regular advantage of!
The Best Books of 2017 Lists I DON’T Agree With
These are my Worst Bookish Media Sources…
- Kirkus (Literary Fiction -43%, Debuts -25%)
- New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017 (-30%)
- Publisher’s Weekly (-20%)
- Bookpage Editors Picks (-16%)
- Bustle (-14%)
- These are the opposite of “the people’s sources.” Let’s get a bit snarky and call them “the literary snobs.” They take themselves very seriously and lean towards heavy, “important” books.
- They tend to be compiled by the book editors at each publication.
- I’m surprised by Bustle‘s presence in my Worst group, as I do normally like their book coverage.
- I often cite Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly reviews in my Book of the Month Club commentary posts since they publish reviews in advance of publication date. I won’t be doing this moving forward!
Some Random Tidbits
- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward appears on 13 out of 23 (56%) of the lists. This is the epitome of a heavy, important book that, while I could objectively see why it appealed to the critics, I didn’t actually like (my review). And, while I appreciate books that convey important messages, I also want to enjoy reading them. And, there are books that accomplished both for me (i.e. this year’s Beartown and The Hate U Give).
- Same goes for Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, appearing in 12 out of 23 (52%) of the lists.
- Where is The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne, which was my favorite book of the year and is a serious, important book (my review), but is also a compelling and entertaining story? It only made a measly 4 (17%) of the lists (not surprisingly, 2 of them are among my Best Media Sources)!
Find the Best Books of 2017 Lists You Most Agree and Disagree With!
- Download the spreadsheet via the sign-up form below.
- Follow the spreadsheet’s instructions to find your Best and Worst Best Books of 2017 lists.
- Trust your Best Bookish Media Sources! Use them to pick books moving forward. Most publish “Most Anticipated Books” and mid-year Best Books list, which are great sources for recommendations throughout the year. Maybe you’ll even find some new-to-you sources you didn’t even realize were in line with your taste!
- Be skeptical of book recommendations from your Worst Bookish Media Sources.
Give it a go! What Best Books of 2017 lists did you agree or disagree with? What are your Best and Worst Bookish News Sources?