At the end of each year, I round up my favorite five reads of the year–although not all of them were necessarily published this year. This year overall was a good year for reading. I discovered the Nocturnal Readers’ box, a monthly mystery box of horror and dark fiction, which although it contained some real bowwows, also delivered some excellent books that I would not have otherwise read. One of those made my top-five list (and it was signed, to boot). Also on the list is another 2017 new release, which I received through the excellent Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing, my all-time favorite website. Two are Pulitzer Prize winners, including this year’s honoree. I’ve been trying to read all of the Pulitzer winners back through at least the last couple of decades, a worthwhile effort that has paid off tremendously. And the final one is a page turner of a thriller by a favorite new writer.

Here are my top five:

5. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

4. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

3. Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

2. Ill Will by Dan Chaon

1. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

This year, I’m going to try to post a little more regularly by noting my top reads of the month. I’m focusing on Southern fiction for this reading year, although I expect to read plenty of new and shiny books, as well as a sprinkling of classics. See you in 2018!

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