The 10 Best Books I Read in 2017- Part II

By Piyushi Dhir

I am back with the rest of the list for 2017- the very best books I read during the year. In case you missed the first five books, check them out here, ‘The 10 Best Books I Read in 2017- Part I’.

6. Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight

I came across this book on a strong recommendation and though I’m usually skeptical about the entertainment quotient of non-fiction, I gave it a shot. It is the story of the brand, Nike, narrated by its creator and founder, Phil Knight.

For a memoir, Shoe Dog is remarkably engrossing. The story flows right from the beginning and I always wanted to read just one more para, just one more page. Phil’s wry humour and self-deprecating attitude will bring smiles on your face more than just occasionally. Each of the founding members of Nike seem not just ‘eccentric’ (as Phil describes them), but sometimes downright comic! And yet, these people who never took themselves too seriously were creating history. They achieved milestone after unthinkable milestone; there was no stopping them.

Beautiful story, beautifully written. By the time I was done, I not just wanted to recommend the book, but also go out and purchase a pair of Nikes right away. Just so I can be a part of their amazing story in some small way.

7. Rachel’s Holiday, by Marian Keyes

I have read three books from Marian Keyes’ Walsh Family series, but each of these books can be read stand-alone. Watermelon, the first in the series, is Claire’s story and is cute and hilarious. However, since I had to select only 10 books for the list, I’ve selected the two with greater depth, ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ and ‘Anybody Out There?’

Rachel Walsh is Claire’s sister. And she is a drug addict. She is flown back by her family from the US and entered into a rehab in Dublin. Recently rejected by her boyfriend, who loves her but couldn’t see her go downhill with drugs, she is struggling with both, the absence of drugs and Luke. If this sounds grim, you may be surprised to know that Rachel’s Holiday is actually a very funny read. And that is Keyes’ signature style.

Despite falling into the chick litt category, the book explores character psychology in depth, but does it with a huge dash of humour. Rachel’s evolution is portrayed beautifully, especially since it is from her own point of view. So, the reader also begins by thinking, like she does, that she’s this awesome heroine, until little by little, Rachel and the reader get to know more and more about who she really is. Loved the way the book evolved and culminated. Perfect ending!

8. Anybody Out There, by Marian Keyes

This is an unusual book, in that Keyes handles a truly tragic topic, but with humour. As a writer myself, I can imagine that that has got to be a very difficult thing to do. This is the third book by Keyes I read, and I came to see that while they seem chick-litt, her books actually handle sensitive topics but with such wit and humour that you don’t realize it for the longest time.

After ‘Watermelon’ and ‘Rachel’s Holiday’, ‘Anybody Out There?’ took the cake. It was emotional, heart-breaking and yet not heavy, but light and high-spirited. I don’t want to say more for fear of letting out the story, but if you decide to pick up only one of Keyes’ books, pick up this one.

9. Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri

A collection of myriad short stories by Lahiri, this book is about regular people, each with a different malady. Lahiri takes you on a lovely journey through Indian homes in India and abroad, each story poignant and beautiful.

10. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

I cannot believe that I once started this book and abandoned it. A few months later, I came across it again, saw the great reviews on Goodreads and decided to try it again. I am so glad I did. A book that I wished wouldn’t end. A book that made me cry so much. A book that I wanted to review minutes after I’d finished reading it.

I have read many books about the Holocaust. Only once before this have I read of the event from a child’s perspective, that was when I read Sarah’s Key. But for the first time, a book has shown me the event from an entirely different perspective. From the perspective of a non-Jew, German child. 

Leisel, Rudy, Hans, Max… each character makes his or her way into your heart. Even the narrator, Death!

Such a beautiful book, such a tragic book. A book full of smiles and tears, a book full of love and hope.

When I review my selection for 2017, I think I can narrow down on ‘Zemindar’ and ‘The Book Thief’ as the two most beautiful books I read during the year. Which were your favourites? Do you plan on reading any book from this list?

If you like my choice of books, you can also look at ‘The 10 Best Books I Read in 2016’ and ‘The 10 Best Books I Read in 2015’.

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About the Author

Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.