Ask the book buyer: My favourite books from 2017
Happy new year and I hope one of your resolutions for the year to come was to read more books! Assuming it was, let me help by recommending some of our favourite books from 2017, says Jarrold book buyer Chris Rushby.
It’s ludicrous, isn’t it, to try to pick out the best of the year’s publishing? No individual reader can hope to have read more than a tiny fraction of the huge number of books published, so no one can tell you definitively which were the ‘best’ books of the year. All I can tell you is that, after much soul-searching, these are the three books I commend to you as being the ones that, in their different ways, made the biggest impression on me last year of the books I read:
La Belle Sauvage: The Book Of Dust Volume One
£12 in the sale (RRP £20)
It’s been seventeen years since the third volume of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Now, to the delight of thousands of readers, comes the first in a new trilogy set firmly in the world of the first three books and with many familiar characters reappearing. It doesn’t take many pages for the grateful reader to realise that here’s an author still absolutely on top of his game. Nominally, I suppose, this is a children’s, or young adult read, but if the first trilogy resonated with you then, whatever age you now are, I’m confident this book will too.
We still have a few copies of the book with bookplates signed by the author and accompanied by an exclusive print by its illustrator, Chris Wormell, available instore only.
Paperback published 25 January
Jon McGregor’s brilliant novel was long-listed for the Booker Prize and has just won the Costa Novel Award for 2017, so has already had its fair share of acclaim. But when I first read it last spring none of those accolades had yet come its way and I felt part of a privileged band of readers coming to the book for the first time, realising what a work of genius it is. On the face of it, the book concerns a missing girl in a rural northern village. It’s hard to describe, though, without spoiling the effect, how the plot’s emphasis shifts imperceptibly as time passes; and how beautifully the prose is crafted all through this very fine novel.
This book is part of our ‘buy one, get one half price’ offer
Have I really picked a cook book as one of my top three books of the year? Yes I have. If you’ve ever been to The Sportsman at Seasalter, near Whitstable, described by its owner Stephen Harris, with tongue just slightly in cheek, as a ‘grotty rundown pub by the sea’, you’ll probably already be inclined to give his book the benefit of the doubt. Let me confirm that this beautifully produced book (the publisher, Phaidon, invariably does this kind of thing well) does justice to the astonishing food produced in this wonderful establishment, but – more than that – gives the author the opportunity to talk about his journey from complete novice to Michelin-starred chef.