Must-Reads of 2017: From Space to Chinese Noir

A biography of Gorbachev. A history of Qatar. An attack on bad parenting. And management lessons from the Beatles. All from Tyler Cowen's bookshelf.

Each year, I keep a running list of the favorite books I have read. I sample an average of about five books a day. (I don't finish them all.) Here is a shortened version of my 2017 list, with brief commentaries. If it seems like a hodgepodge, that to me is the sign of a fruitful reading year (I hope you had one, too).

Other than putting fiction at the end, the books are listed in the order I read them, not by priority. When there is a link to the book’s title, it takes you to longer remarks I have written elsewhere. Here goes:

My two favorite novels this year were both pretty short:

  • Domenico Starnone, "Ties." For fans of Elena Ferrante, this novel intersects with some of her work but tells the stories from a male point of view.
  • Ge Fei, "The Invisibility Cloak." This short Chinese noir novel is set in Beijing, where strange events start happening to a protagonist who sells audio equipment. I finished it in one sitting.