My Must Try Before the End of 2017 TBR List

Must Try Before End of 2017 TBR list


Throughout the year, I keep a running list of all the books I missed right when they came out, but that I want to fit in at some point during the year. I call this my Must Try Before the End of 2017 TBR list.

Some of my best reading this year has come from this list (BeartownDead LettersThe Heart’s Invisible Furies)…probably because these books had been vetted by multiple readers I trust before I actually read them.

I generally devote mid/late November to mid-December to trying to find at least one more book to sneak into my Best Books of the Year list. We now have about 3 weeks until I share my Best Books of 2017. I obviously can’t read all the books on this list in that time (do you think I’m a magician?!), so I want y’alls help.

If you’ve read any of the books below, tell me which ones you think could be Best Books of the Year candidates! And, which ones I shouldn’t waste time on. And, any others you think I’d absolutely love.

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My Must Try Before the End of 2017 TBR List

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber (August 1, 2017)
Recommended by Off the Shelf’s 5 Best Books I Read This Month (November)

Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge (April 4, 2017)
Recommended by Renee at It’s Book Talk and Susie at Novel Visits

For Sophie Ducel, her honeymoon in French Polynesia was intended as a celebration of life. For Barry Bleecker, the same trip was meant to mark a new beginning. But when their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive.

Everybody’s Son by Thrifty Umgar (June 6, 2017)
Recommended by Catherine at Gilmore Guide to Books and Reading & Eating

The bestselling, critically acclaimed author of The Space Between Us and The World We Found deftly explores issues of race, class, privilege, and power and asks us to consider uncomfortable moral questions in this probing, ambitious, emotionally wrenching novel of two families—one black, one white.

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory (June 27, 2017)
Recommended by Michelle at That’s What She Read

A generations-spanning family of psychics–both blessed and burdened by their abilities–must use their powers to save themselves from the CIA, the local mafia, and a skeptic hell-bent on discrediting them in this hilarious, tender, magical novel about the invisible forces that bind us.

The Break by Marian Keyes (September 7, 2017)
Recommended by Eva at Paperback Princess

Amy’s husband Hugh isn’t really leaving her.

At least, that’s what he promises. He is just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. For six-months Hugh will lose himself in south-east Asia, and there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.

But a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married? And will Amy be the same woman?

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallan (June 27, 2017)
Recommended by The Readerly Podcast

A searing debut novel […] about jealousy, the unpredictable path of friendship, and the secrets kept in marriage, all set within the U.S. expat community of the Middle East during the rise of the Arab Spring.

The Misfortune of Marion Palm by Emily Culliton (August 8, 2017)
Recommended by Annie Jones at From the Front Porch Podcast

A wildly entertaining debut about a Brooklyn Heights wife and mother who has embezzled a small fortune from her children’s private school and makes a run for it, leaving behind her trust fund poet husband, his maybe-secret lover, her two daughters, and a school board who will do anything to find her. 

The Party by Elizabeth Day (August 15, 2017)
Recommended by Michaela at The Ardent Biblio and Born and Read in Chicago

A gripping story of obsession and betrayal, privilege and hypocrisy, set in the unassailable heart of the British establishment.

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (October 10, 2017)
Recommended by Catherine at Gilmore Guide to Books and Susie at Novel Visits

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda (November 7, 2017)
Recommended by Susie at Novel Visits

When a teen runs away from his father’s mysterious commune, he sets in motion a domino effect that will connect six characters desperate for hope and love, set across the sun-bleached canvas of Los Angeles.

Tell me, which ones should I read first?

*All book summaries (in block quotes) are from Goodreads (edited for length).

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  1. Wendy wrote:

    So many good ones here!

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
  2. Renee wrote:

    My vote is for Castle of Water! It’s not perfect but I thought it was so enjoyable and hard to put down, I really loved it. Confusion of Languages was a DNF for me but the premise sounded so good. I’m waiting on The Rules of Magic from the library, I’m hoping to sneak that one in also before the end of the year.

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I’ll definitely be reading Castle of Water at some point if not in the next few weeks. And I started Rules of Magic and am really liking it despite my hesitancy about the magic part!

      Posted 11.30.17 Reply
  3. Susan wrote:

    I finished the Rules of Magic last week. The book was one I ended up wishing I had DNF early on, but I kept hoping it would get better but that didn’t happen. It was OK, average. For some reason I can’t put my finger on it didn’t engage me emotionally. I would say read something else on your list.

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      It came in from the library for me this week so I started it and am actually really liking it despite my hesitancy. But I’m only 100 pages in.

      Posted 11.30.17 Reply
  4. Ann Marie wrote:

    Wow! All of these sound great. I hadn’t heard of Are You Sleeping but I’m adding that to my TBR now, Sadly, the holidays sometimes slow (or halt) my reading progress so I’m not sure I’ll get to it by year’s end but I’m going to try!

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Well now I’ve heard from someone that they didn’t like it, so I’m not jumping on it 🙁 The premise does sound super good, though, right?!

      Posted 11.30.17 Reply
  5. Nice list…it’s helpful! You have a few here that I haven’t considered. The Party sounds interesting and so does The Break. I’ll take a closer look at both. I’ve only read four on your list and of those, I think you’d most like The Confusion of Languages if you’re in the mood for something more serious. It’s funny because I didn’t love that book when I first read it, but as time goes on I like it more and more. If you want just plain easy and fun then Castle of Water is great. Good luck choosing!

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Castle of Water is def in my back pocket for when I need something light!

      Posted 11.30.17 Reply
  6. Angela wrote:

    I really loved The Confusion of Languages – a complicated friendship between two women with a Middle Eastern setting. I highly recommend it!

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
  7. Tara wrote:

    Knowing your reading style/preferences as I do, I feel pretty confident in saying that you will be disappointed in Are You Sleeping; I was pretty aggravated by the end and wished I’d DNF’ed it rather than hoping for a better conclusion. I definitely want to read Castle of Water and The Party; you MUST try Rules of Magic!

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      Reading Magic now and really liking it!

      Posted 11.30.17 Reply
  8. I loved The Confusion of Languages and Everybody’s Son but haven’t read any of the others.

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
  9. Uh hello, The Party! Although I’ve heard really good things about Everybody’s Son. And I totally stand by The Break – a cozy holiday read. Spoonbenders was not my favourite. It wasn’t bad…I just didn’t rave about it.

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
  10. Anne Brasfield wrote:

    Just ordered The Party!

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I’m waiting for my library hold to come in!

      Posted 11.30.17 Reply
  11. Catherine wrote:

    Wow, I only know about two of these books! Now I’ll have to add to my TBR. In fact, just placed a hold on The Party. How did this one sneak by our snarky selves? It’s right up our alley!

    You know where I stand- either Rules of Magic or Everybody’s Son. The first is more positive, the second more timely.

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      I know…shame on us for missing The Party, right?

      Posted 11.30.17 Reply
  12. Lorna wrote:

    I really enjoyed Everybody’s Son. It was a quick read too.

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
  13. Lauren wrote:

    A few of those are on my list (not my end of year list, but my overall list), so I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I read The Party for Shelf and was pleasantly surprised, especially after reading another book called The Party and despising it. I think it may be in your wheelhouse. Slow burn character study with some elements that are maybe a tad Christopher Yates-ish?

    Posted 11.21.17 Reply
    • Sarah Dickinson wrote:

      The Robyn Harding one? I had that one too, but never read it. And you just sold me on the Day with the Yates comparison!!

      Posted 11.30.17 Reply
      • Lauren wrote:

        Yes. Hated it. But it got a lot of good reviews, so take my view with a big grain of salt. Seriously, I can’t even tell you why I make that Yates connection. And I was somewhat disappointed by Black Chalk. So also do with that what you will, but I’d love to know what you think of the good The Party. 🙂

        Posted 12.1.17 Reply
  14. Alas, I have not read any of these. I’m so far behind on my reading this year! I’ve just been too busy the last few weeks to read much of anything at all. I can’t wait to see your best of 2017 list though!

    Posted 11.22.17 Reply
  15. Amanda wrote:

    So many options! I am going to have to look up the Misfortune of Marion Palm immediately.

    Posted 11.22.17 Reply
  16. Jessica wrote:

    I’ve only read Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber. She is part of the WFWA group I belong to and I read her book this summer. It was a quick read and had me guessing. A great book to read over a weekend or in front of the fire.

    Posted 11.22.17 Reply
  17. Michelle wrote:

    The Confusion of Languages!!!! You have some great ones on this list. I hope you get to them all!

    Posted 11.22.17 Reply
  18. Andrea wrote:

    Yes! The Party! I think it’s up your alley. I also really enjoyed Castle of Water – though it was a teensy bit cloying, it was a fast read.

    Posted 11.23.17 Reply
  19. I admire your ability to narrow down the list even this much! I’m afraid I’ve not read any of these though, so I’m no help for narrowing it down further. I hope you find some more favorites 🙂

    Posted 11.26.17 Reply

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