Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Edge of (20)17

The post title may have been more appropriate going into 2017, but I only thought of it now, so here we are.

For me, 2017 felt like living through several years at once. Here's a quick round-up of some of my favorite pieces of culture from the past twelve months:

The most French bicycle

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo - This is one of the most remarkable books I've read. It follows a couple in Nigeria struggling with infertility while trying to push back against polygamy. Each twist is enough for its own novel, and yet Adebayo continues to surprise the reader with her precise look at a marriage.

No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal - As I wrote in July, this novel follows two Indian immigrants in Ohio as they struggle with loneliness and grief. It's beautifully written and even side characters have depth and complications. It remains one of my favorite novels.

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach - A woman returns to upstate New York after her twin sister supposedly dies in a fire, yet seems to have set up a twisted scavenger hunt to draw her back from Paris. This remains a favorite from 2017 for its creativity and careful pacing.

Marlena by Julie Buntin - Cat examines the brief, intense friendship she had during high school with Marlena, a drug-fueled teenager she met after moving to northern Michigan. I hadn't realized how much I crave novels that examine the nuances of female friendship until I finished and wanted to reread it immediately.

Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan - Economics professor Rachel Chu agrees to join her History professor boyfriend Nick Young at his best friend's wedding in Singapore. Little does she know that Nick's family is one of the wealthiest families in Asia. The first book is hilarious, dramatic, and heartwarming and somehow the sequel is even better. I'm partway through the final book in the trilogy, Rich People Problems, and can't get enough. Kwan's footnotes throughout are delightful.