Pantera Press Staff Books of 2017
2017 has been a huge year for reading, with so many amazing titles gracing our shelves. After much deliberation, the Pantera Press staff have chosen their top picks of 2017:
ALISON GREEN: The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea
The Girl Who Was Taken is one of my favourite reads from 2017. It is full of twists that will keep you guessing, and delivers an impactful yet satisfying ending. This is a crime mystery that kept me thinking long after I’d finished it. Fans of crime mystery should make sure to add it to their summer reading list.
- For more crime fiction, try the Cass Lehman Series by Melanie Casey.
JAMES READ: Delirium by Lauren Oliver
My YA read of the year has to be Delirium by Lauren Oliver. With an oppressive, governmental regime that silences the tongues and hearts of youths, the book had me utterly intrigued by its characters and setting. I could not put it down!
- YA fans should look out for Lynette Noni’s Whisper, coming May 2018.
LUCY BELL: The Dry by Jane Harper
The setting of The Dry is phenomenal, like a character in itself. I loved the atmosphere and the scorching heat – I could almost smell the dry earth and hear the flies buzzing around me. There is a great sense of nostalgia about the town, and the past and the present are expertly interwoven. This is a vintage murder mystery that needs no cheap tricks to hide the truth.
- For more books like The Dry, add The Crossing and The Falls by B. Michael Radburn to your summer reading list.
JENNY GREEN: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.
Born a Crime by The Daily Show host and comedian Trevor Noah is a compelling and inspiring coming-of-age story set at the end of apartheid in South Africa and details the tumultuous years that followed. The book’s title refers to Trevor’s birth to a white Swiss father and black Xhosa mother at a time when that relationship was punishable with a prison sentence. Noah offers hilarious and dramatic snapshots of his childhood and adolescence. It’s sad, it’s funny, it’s polished and very entertaining. A must read!
- For more gripping and powerful memoirs, try Warren Mundine In Black + White.
KATY McEWEN: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The horrors of slavery in the southern states of America are well documented, but this is an inventive and powerful take on that world. Colson Whitehead reimagines the secret network of passageways and safe houses used by runaway slaves to reach the free North as an actual railroad, following the story of runaway slave Cora in a brutal and unforgiving world, and her journey towards freedom, shrouded by racism and violence. This book will stay with you long after you put it down.
- Looking for more historical fiction? Check out Sulari Gentill’s Rowland Sinclair Mysteries.
ANNA BLACKIE: The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose
Well-deserved winner of The Stella Prize 2017, The Museum of Modern Love is unquestionably the best thing I read all year. With a lyrical flow and startlingly lifelike characters, this superb work of fiction is based on Marina Abramović’s performance of The Artist is Present. With art as their shared interest, the fictionalised characters in The Museum of Modern Love are drawn together by the perplexing gravity of Marina’s work. When I think back on this book, there are scenes, moments and phrases still etched in my mind that move me so profoundly.
- Lovers of strong characterisation and authentic settings should try Les Zig’s Just Another Week in Suburbia.
ELYSIA CLAPIN: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
I’m a little behind with my TBR pile, so my favourite read of 2017 is an “old” book – Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. It’s funny, interesting, and offers a nice little reminder that the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done for love ain’t got nothing on the things other people have done. You’re doing okay.
- If you, too, liked Modern Romance, try #Single.
MARTIN GREEN: The Harbour by Scott Bevan
In The Harbour, Scott Bevan retires from a career as a TV presenter to document a kayak journey around the world’s greatest harbour from the end of the Parramatta River to Balgowlah and back. It’s huge! An absolute epic, and an impossible undertaking. In 500 pages, Bevan attempts to explain everything that’s happened at every point where land meets sea in Sydney Harbour. So one is forgiven for losing some interest by the Eastern Suburbs.
But one wonders, if Bevan can write 500 pages about a guy starting a big farm or some fella opening a brewery in small town Sydney over a couple hundred years of colonial occupation, how many millions of pages of our country’s history are as yet untold?
- To read more about the sights and sounds of Sydney Harbour pick up a copy of John M. Green’s Nowhere Man.