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The Best of 2017

As 2017 fades away, it's not hard to look back at the best books we read in 2017. So we asked the booksellers here at the Bookloft to give us their top 5 books from 2017. Here's what they came up with.


Zazu's Top 5

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
The Wanderers by Meg Howrey
A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan


Julia's Top 5

Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter
Hunger by Roxane Gay
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Whereas by Layli Long Soldier
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie


Gio's Top 5

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore
The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker


Max's Top 5

House of Lords and Commons by Ishion Hutchinson
The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded: Poems by Molly McCully Brown
American Kingpin by Nick Bilton
American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee
The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris


Tim's Top 5

On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
Skavenger's Hunt by Mike Rich
Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers
Vacationland by John Hodgman
The Midnight Line by Lee Child


Linda's Top 5

Bellevue by David Oshinsky
Radio Free Vermont by Bill McKibben
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
Caesar's Last Breath by Sam Kean
Vector by James Abel


Will's Top 5

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy
All That Man Is by David Szalay
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
Transit by Rachel Cusk
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan


Pam's Top 5

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore


Virginia's Top 5

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch
Bad Kansas: Stories by Becky Mandelbaum
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Time's Betrayal - Author Meet & Greet

Join us for a meet-and-greet, book signing, and a relaxed informal discussion with the author of a new novel partially set in the Berkshires! David Adams Cleveland will be here to sign some copies of Time's Betrayal and chat with you on Wednesday, October 25th, at 3:00pm.

In a glowing Booklist Starred Review, Sarah Johnson says this about Time's Betrayal:

How are our lives unknowingly motivated by our ancestral past? In its scope, artistry, and depiction of the interlinked cause-and-effect patterns spanning more than a century, Cleveland’s (Love’s Attraction, 2013) third novel raises the bar for multigenerational epics. At its heart is one man’s quest to uncover the truth about his late father, John Alden III, who disappeared behind the Iron Curtain in 1953 for reasons unknown. Peter Alden’s recollections begin with his own 1960s youth at the Etonesque Massachusetts prep school cofounded by his abolitionist great-grandfather: a place where his father’s reputation as a star athlete, archaeologist, and war hero looms large. The expansive yet tightly controlled narrative, in which numerous mysteries are compellingly unearthed, spins out to encompass post-WWII Greece, the race to decipher the ancient Greek script known as Linear B, the Vietnam War, the Berlin Wall’s dismantling, and a Civil War battle’s aftermath. The writing is gripping throughout, incorporating both haunting lyricism in its characters’ yearning to recapture a lost golden age and a high-stakes tension evoking the best Cold War thrillers. Cleveland is particularly strong in presenting the complicated entanglements of love and betrayal and the barrier between freedom and oppression that each generation contends with. While its length may appear daunting, this unforgettable tour de force is well worth the time.

About the Author:
David Adams Cleveland is the author of two previous novels, With a Gemlike Flame and Love’s Attraction, a Barnes & Noble best-seller. His most recent art history book, A History of American Tonalism, won the Silver Medal in Art History in the Book of the Year Awards, 2010, and Outstanding Academic Title, 2011, from the American Library Association. He also works as an art adviser with his son Carter Cleveland, founder of Artsy.net, a website dedicated to making all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. He and his wife live in New York.

2017 National Book Award Finalists

If you're like us, you've been watching as the National Book Awards judges choose their finalists before narrowing it down to one final winner in each category (to be revealed on November 15th). It's just like a literary playoffs bracket! 

Check out the finalists below. (And notice that our 2 Staff Picks have made the cut in the Nonfiction category!)

Fiction Finalists:

Elliot Ackerman, Dark at the Crossing 
Lisa Ko, The Leavers
Min Jin Lee, Pachinko
Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing

Nonfiction Finalists:

(STAFF PICK!) Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge 
Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America
Masha Gessen, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
(STAFF PICK!) David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI 
Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America

Young People's Literature Finalists:

Elana K. Arnold, What Girls Are Made Of
Robin Benway, Far from the Tree
Erika L. Sánchez, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter 
Rita Williams-Garcia, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
Ibi Zoboi, American Street

Poetry Finalists:

Frank Bidart, Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 
Leslie Harrison, The Book of Endings 
Layli Long Soldier, WHEREAS 
Shane McCrae, In the Language of My Captor 
Danez Smith, Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems 

About the National Book Award

"Established in 1950, the National Book Award is an American literary prize administered by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization. A pantheon of such writers as William Faulkner, Marianne Moore, Ralph Ellison, John Cheever, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Robert Lowell, Walker Percy, John Updike, Katherine Anne Porter, Norman Mailer, Lillian Hellman, Elizabeth Bishop, Saul Bellow, Donald Barthelme, Flannery O’Connor, Adrienne Rich, Thomas Pynchon, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Alice Walker, Charles Johnson, E. Annie Proulx, and Colum McCann have all won the Award." (From www.nationalbook.org)

National Book Award 2017 Longlist

Below is the 2017 Longlist for the National Book Award, divided by category. Keep an eye out for our Staff Picks that made the cut!

Some future key dates if you're keeping score at home:
Oct. 4 - Finalists are announced (Shortlist)
Nov. 15 - Winners are announced in each category

The National Book Award

"Established in 1950, the National Book Award is an American literary prize administered by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization. A pantheon of such writers as William Faulkner, Marianne Moore, Ralph Ellison, John Cheever, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Robert Lowell, Walker Percy, John Updike, Katherine Anne Porter, Norman Mailer, Lillian Hellman, Elizabeth Bishop, Saul Bellow, Donald Barthelme, Flannery O’Connor, Adrienne Rich, Thomas Pynchon, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Alice Walker, Charles Johnson, E. Annie Proulx, and Colum McCann have all won the Award." (From www.nationalbook.org)

Click the titles below to read more about each book.

Fiction Longlist:

Elliot Ackerman, Dark at the Crossing 
Daniel Alarcón, The King Is Always Above the People: Stories
Charmaine Craig, Miss Burma 
Jennifer Egan, Manhattan Beach 
Lisa Ko, The Leavers
Min Jin Lee, Pachinko
Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, A Kind of Freedom 
Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing
Carol Zoref, Barren Island 

Nonfiction Longlist:

Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (STAFF PICK!)
Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America
James Forman, Jr., Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America
Masha Gessen, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (STAFF PICK!)
Naomi Klein, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need
Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
Timothy B. Tyson, The Blood of Emmett Till
Kevin Young, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News

Young People's Literature Longlist:

Elana K. Arnold, What Girls Are Made Of
Robin Benway, Far from the Tree
Samantha Mabry, All the Wind in the World
Mitali Perkins,You Bring the Distant Near
Jason Reynolds, Long Way Down (STAFF PICK!)
Erika L. Sánchez, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter 
Laurel Snyder, Orphan Island (STAFF PICK!)
Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give (STAFF PICK!)
Rita Williams-Garcia, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
Ibi Zoboi, American Street

Poetry Longlist:

Frank Bidart, Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 
Chen Chen, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities
Leslie Harrison, The Book of Endings 
Marie Howe, Magdalene: Poems 
Laura Kasischke, Where Now: New and Selected Poems 
Layli Long Soldier, WHEREAS 
Shane McCrae, In the Language of My Captor 
Sherod Santos, Square Inch Hours 
Danez Smith, Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems 
Mai Der Vang, Afterland 

Man Booker Prize 2017 Shortlist

CLICK ON A COVER OR TITLE to read more about the finalist. The single winner will be announced on Oct. 17, so stay tuned.

Congratulations to Staff Pick Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders for making the cut!

About the Man Booker Prize:

"First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading prize for literary fiction written in English. The list of former winners features many of the literary giants of the last four decades: from Iris Murdoch to Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan to Hilary Mantel. The rules of the prize were changed at the end of 2013 to embrace the English language ‘in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory’, opening it up to writers beyond the UK and Commonwealth." (From themanbookerprize.com)

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (STAFF PICK!)
Autumn by Ali Smith

The Long and the Short of it

In the past couple weeks we saw some big-time book award lists announced. The National Book Award released their 2017 Longlist, and the Man Booker Prize finally announced their shortlist finalists. (You may remember seeing their longlist from a couple months ago.)

Some of the selections are Bookloft Staff Picks! (We're obviously rooting for those to win.)

CLICK THE ICONS below to be taken to the lists for each award:

                                 

Read some more information about each award below:

The National Book Award

"Established in 1950, the National Book Award is an American literary prize administered by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization. A pantheon of such writers as William Faulkner, Marianne Moore, Ralph Ellison, John Cheever, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Robert Lowell, Walker Percy, John Updike, Katherine Anne Porter, Norman Mailer, Lillian Hellman, Elizabeth Bishop, Saul Bellow, Donald Barthelme, Flannery O’Connor, Adrienne Rich, Thomas Pynchon, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Alice Walker, Charles Johnson, E. Annie Proulx, and Colum McCann have all won the Award." (From www.nationalbook.org)

The Man Booker Prize

"First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading prize for literary fiction written in English. The list of former winners features many of the literary giants of the last four decades: from Iris Murdoch to Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan to Hilary Mantel. The rules of the prize were changed at the end of 2013 to embrace the English language ‘in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory’, opening it up to writers beyond the UK and Commonwealth." (From themanbookerprize.com)

Fall Staff Picks

It feels like fall, and here at the Bookloft we're getting ready to curl up with blankets and warm books. Here are just some newest staff picks you'll see when you walk in the store.

Just click any cover to read each staffer's thoughts on that book.

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