The FINANCIAL -- On November 8, Amazon.com announced its selections for the Best Books of 2017, naming David Grann’s nonfiction Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI the Best Book of the Year.
Just in time for the holidays, the annual list features the Top 100 books of the year plus Top 20 lists across various categories ranging from literary fiction and mystery to children’s and young adult. All lists are hand-selected by Amazon’s team of editors – who read hundreds of thousands of pages throughout the year – first by choosing the best books of every month and then, finally, the best books of the year, according to Amazon.
“In a year when there were many strong contenders for Best of the Year, David Grann’s book offered readers something exceptional,” said Sarah Harrison Smith, Editorial Director of Books and Kindle at Amazon.com. “Killers of the Flower Moon tells the largely unknown true story of big oil and serial murder in Osage County, Oklahoma, in the 1920s. It’s meticulously researched and shines an important light on what is at once an unsurprising and yet unbelievable chapter in American history.”
Here are the Amazon Editorial Team’s Top 10 picks this year:
1. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann: Grann’s account of a 1920s investigation into the murders of oil-rich members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma has the grim excitement of film noir, the heady intellectual pleasure of well-told history and writing worthy of The New Yorker, where Grann is on staff. Though Killers of the Flower Moon is set in the past, the bigotry, greed and corruption Grann exposes feel relevant to our times. Grann’s previous books include The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon.
2. Little Fires Everywhere: A Novel by Celeste Ng: In this tightly woven, emotionally fraught novel set in a picture-perfect suburb of Cleveland, Ng addresses timely issues of motherhood, privilege and race. Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, was Amazon’s Best of the Year choice for 2014; her new book continues her compelling exploration of the tension between established social order and cultural change.
3. Beartown: A Novel by Fredrik Backman: Backman explores community, loyalty and its limits in this eminently readable, compassionate novel set in a small town that comes together over ice hockey and then comes apart over allegations of sexual violence. Backman’s previous books include A Man Called Ove.
4. Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid: In this fable-like tale, in which two lovers flee their war-ravaged homeland to seek refuge abroad, Hamid upends our cultural assumptions and stakes an optimistic claim for the enduring pleasures of imagination and narrative, even in the midst of war. Hamid’s previous books include The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
5. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari: Harari’s look at humanity’s possible future (the dark, technocratic version) is fascinating, provocative and illuminating. Harari is also the author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
6. Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders: Saunders’s stylistically inventive, ribald and poignant first novel, narrated almost entirely by ghosts, veers from hilarious to heartbreaking. Saunders’s previous books include Tenth of December: Stories.
7. The Heart’s Invisible Furies: A Novel by John Boyne: In this sweeping and magnetic novel set in post-war Ireland, Boyne dexterously expands the story of one man’s life into a portrait of a culture in transition. Boyne’s previous books include The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
8. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie: In Alexie’s extraordinary memoir of his whip-smart, sometimes cruel mother, he connects her turbulent life to the widespread American Indian experience of violence and oppression. Alexie’s previous books include The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
9. Sourdough: A Novel by Robin Sloan: Sloan’s delightful novel about a software engineer who finds her true calling when she is bequeathed a sourdough starter with magical properties has an inspiring message about the importance of finding work you love. Sloan’s previous books include Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel.
10. The Dry: A Novel by Jane Harper: In her gripping debut novel, the only mystery among this year’s top 10, Harper masterfully evokes the atmosphere of a drought-stricken farm town where lies told in the past may be linked to the violent deaths of a young local family.
Here are some interesting facts about this year’s Best Books of the Year list:
The authors of the Top 10 books come from six different countries: the United States, Sweden, Ireland, Pakistan, Australia and Israel.
Through the end of October 2017, Kindle customers across the globe read over 91 million pages from the Top 10 book selections.
According to Amazon Charts, on average, Kindle readers of Sourdough: A Novel read it in half the time of other bestselling titles.
It’s been seven years since a nonfiction book was selected as the Best Book of the Year. The last time was in 2010 when the Editors selected The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
Number of space exploration-related books in the top 100 and Children’s categories: 5
The top picks in Children’s books are:
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (ages 9-12): A mentor reminiscent of Willy Wonka helps a cursed girl escape death, kicking off a wildly imaginative adventure full of magic, trials of courage and friendship. An exciting debut for fans of Harry Potter or any young reader looking to begin a fast-paced new series.
The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater, illustrated by Eric Fan and Terry Fan (ages 6-8): Breathtakingly beautiful illustrations accompany this charming story of a fox who learns that friends come in all shapes and sizes, curiosity brings adventure, and that—though life may be unpredictable—the journey is magical.
Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kittens by Dav Pilkey (ages 6-8): Dav Pilkey’s latest series has taken off like wildfire, and in the third book the crime fighting and evil-doing continue, with the addition of a kitten who brings a few surprises. Pilkey again gives young readers – reluctant or not – a reason to pick up a book and discover the fun within.
This year five debut authors top the category lists, including Jessica Townsend with Nevermoor (Children’s Books), Ray Dalio with Principles: Life and Work (Business and Leadership), Jane Harper with The Dry (Mysteries and Thrillers), Katherine Arden with The Bear and the Nightingale (Science Fiction and Fantasy) and Katie Green with Lighter Than My Shadow (Comics and Graphic Novels).
In addition to being available for purchase online and via Kindle, the Top 15 Best of the Year adult and children’s books are available for purchase at all Amazon Books locations and the Top 20 Best of the Year titles and many more within the Top 100 are available to listen to via Audible.com as well.