Books can be an escape from reality, or a frighteningly real reflection of it. In a year ridden with global conflict, cultural divide, and shocking politics, some readers swapped real life for mythical realms like those in Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology and Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust, while others faced reality head-on with books about poverty and economic exploitation (Evicted, Matthew Desmond) or totalitarianism in Russia (The Future Is History, Masha Gessen).
Either way, the lines between fiction and non-fiction seem to blur this year - what's true is hard to believe, and what's not seems all too real. Omar El Akkad's post-apocalyptic novel American War reads like a history textbook from our imminent future, while Carmen Maria Machado's fictional short story collection Her Body and Other Parties points a spotlight on violence against women. This year's top non-fiction titles delve into seemingly otherworldly topics like the incarceration of black Americans (Locking Up Our Own, James Forman Jr.) and a society addicted to technology (Irresistible, Adam Alter).
Before you start to think 2017 is all gloom and doom, we assure you there are some happy surprises on this year's list. Non-fiction readers are sure to be inspired by Endurance, Scott Kelly's candid account of his record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station, while fiction fans will laugh out loud at Katherine Heiny's uproarious (yet raw) debut novel Standard Deviation, and find hope within the pages of Arundhati Roy's love story The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
So here it is, our annual literary review complete with 2017's best-selling titles (a new addition to our summary), the year's award winners, the best fiction of the year, and the top non-fiction books. Lastly, as is our tradition, we end with the legendary authors we lost in 2017.
Book sales are influenced by many things - films, celebrities, politics, and, now more than ever, presidents. This year, AbeBooks' bestselling books were published as long ago as 1949 and as recent as 2016. One is a classic, and another began as a Kickstarter campaign. But all four have something in common - they are a loud and clear reflection of the world in 2017.
The 1990 story collection about the Vietnam War tops the list in response to widespread media attention surrounding POW Senator John McCain, and Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's widely viewed PBS documentary, "The Vietnam War".
The fictional world of perpetual war and omnipresent government surveillance struck a chord with 2017 readers. The 1949 dystopian classic experienced a sudden resurgence when President Trump took office.
Hilary Clinton said, "To every little girl who dreams big, I say, yes, you can be anything you want - even president." The Kickstarter campaign-turned-bestselling book inspired girls all over the world in 2017.
People all over the world marched for women's rights in 2017, giving Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 2015 essay about feminism for the twenty-first century well-deserved attention.
National Book Award for Non-Fiction
The Man Booker International Prize
The English writer was best known for his science fiction novels and short stories.
The philisophical author was best known for his cult novel, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Best known for his 1971 novel The Exorcist and for the Academy Award-winning screenplay of its film adaptation.