Books I loved in 2017

I have many things to write about, but since it's the beginning of the new year and all, I thought I'd get in the spirit and look back at something I really enjoyed in 2017. Books! In between all the teaching and research and editing and writing and running around, I managed - somehow - to fit in reading books I just felt like reading. This is a list of the best that I can remember, in the order in which I happened to write them down.  You'll find poetry, afrofuturism, fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, short stories, memoir, and young adult fiction here. Rather than write about each book individually - which I'd love to do, but we all know would mean this post would be delayed till at least June - I will say that the thing they all have in common is a deep engagement with the truth at the heart of their stories. There are stories here that are quietly clever, laugh-out-loud funny, frightening, heartbreakingly sad, infuriating, melancholy and contemplative (and often many of these things at once) but they all create compelling worlds where the stories they have to tell unfold beautifully.