BUST’s Top 25 Books Of 2017 (Spoiler, They’re All By Women)

by Erika W. Smith



Every issue of BUST magazine includes a book review section featuring reviews of books by women. Here, we’ve rounded up 27 of our favorite books published in 2017, featuring writers including Roxane Gay, Celeste Ng, Janet Mock and Patricia Lockwood. See our picks below in order of publish date, and get reading!

1. Difficult Women by Roxane Gay (January 3)

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Way back in January, BUST wrote, “A tribute not only to difficult women, but also to the circumstances that made them that way, this collection is destined for multiple ‘Best of 2017’ lists.” We were right! Read our review here.

2. Homesick For Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh (January 17)

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In her first collection of short stories, Ottessa Moshfegh masterfully crafts heartbreaking tales about people’s interior crises and dilemmas,” BUST writes. Read our review here.

3. How To Murder Your Life: A Memoir by Cat Marnell (January 31)

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BUST calls Marnell’s memoir about addiction “a brutally honest account that is rarely flattering, but always fascinating.” Read our review here.

4. All The Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen To Be Strangers by Alana Massey (February 7)

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Massey’s essay collection explores “female celebrities and our culture’s reactions to them,” as well as her own fan relationship to female icons. Read our interview here.

5. All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg (March 7)

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“This is the kind of novel you can’t put down even as it’s killing you a little with its truth,” writes BUST. Read our review here.

 6. Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism by Camille Paglia (March 14)

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Feminist academic Camille Paglia’s latest essay collection “puts an intellectual spin on lowbrow entertainment and turn more obtuse academic topics into something relatable and enthralling,” writes BUST. Read our review here.

7. The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy (March 14)

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Levy “questions the so-called rules of womanhood” in this powerful memoir, writes BUST. Read our review here


8. The Book of Joan: A Novel, Lidia Yuknavitch (April 18)

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Lidia Yuknavitch reimagined the Joan of Arc story in a sci-fi novel. Read our review here and our interview with Lidia Yuknavitch here.

9. Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (May 2)

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Poet Patricia Lockwood’s memoir about growing as a married Catholic priest’s daughter is “wickedly funny” and full of “succulent, Technicolor imagery,” BUST writes. Read our review here.

10. Into The Water by Paula Hawkins (May 2)

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“In her follow-up to 2015’s bestseller The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins once again examines the complex relationship between women and patriarchy, this time in a small town with a history of violence,” writes BUST. Read our review here.

11. Meet Me In The Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City, 2001-2011 by Lizzy Goodman (May 23)

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Journalist Lizzy Goodman complies over 200 interviews with musicians, bloggers, and others for this comprehensive history of New York’s rock’n’roll scene in the early 2000s. Read our review here.

12. We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby (May 30)

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BUST writes that Irby’s “writing is both confident and self-deprecating and will strike readers in that perfectly relatable space between glorious confidence and average self-doubt.” Read our review here.

 13. Hunger: A Memoir Of (My) Body by Roxane Gay (June 13)

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“Though not an easy read, Hunger is a vitally important one—and perhaps Gay’s best yet,” BUST writes of Gay’s memoir. Read our review here.

14. Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me by Janet Mock (June 13)

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Activist and journalist Janet Mock’s second memoir “is as good at reassuring those struggling to assert themselves as it is at educating people about the trans experience,“ writes BUST. Read our review here.

15. Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen (June 20)

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Journalist Anne Helen Petersen takes a close look at how society reacts to celebrity women from Melissa McCarthy to Nicki Minaj to Caitlyn Jenner. Read our review here

16. Witches, Sluts, Feminists by Kristen Sollee (June 20)

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Witches, Sluts, Feminists is a “scintillating, wry, and accessibly academic overview of the witch archetype in relation to the European and American witch hunts, and to the festival of misogyny in current American politics,” writes BUST. Read our review here, our interview with Sollee here, and hear Sollee guest on our podcast, Poptarts, here.

17. Made for Love: A Novel by Alissa Nutting (July 4)

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Nutting’s second novel is “ a satisfying read where women, for all they face, come out on top,” writes BUST. Read our review here.

18. What We Lose: A Novel, Zinzi Clemmons (July 11)

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Zinzi Clemmons’ semi-autobiographical debut novel “has a depth that goes beyond its pages,” writes BUST. Clemmons explores grief, race, family, love, motherhood and belonging in this coming-of-age story. Read our review here. 

19. The Dark Dark: Stories by Samantha Hunt (July 18) 

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Samantha Hunt’s first short story collection “weaves together fantastical details and factual research into stunningly original scenes that make for captivating reading,” writes BUST. Read our review in BUST’s Dec/ Jan issue.

20. Sour Heart: Stories by Jenny Zhang (August 1)

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Jenny Zhang’s debut book is a collection of linked stories about six Chinese-American girls that “ gives voice to the confusion, loneliness, and longing of growing up an immigrant in New York,” writes BUST. Read our review here 

21. Life In Code: A Personal History of Technology by Ellen Ullman (August 8)

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“This collection of essays by pioneering computer programmer Ellen Ullman spans more than two decades of technology, starting with a reflection on the early days of digital communication in 1994 and ending with a critique of how this form of communication guides our interactions today,” writes BUST. Read our review here. 

22. Little Fires Everywhere: A Novel by Celeste Ng (September 12)

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Ng’s second novel “is a fictional series of individual sparks building to a conflagration,” writes BUST. Read our review here.  


23. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (October 3)

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Jennifer Egan’s first historical novel follows a Brooklyn woman into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men.


24.Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir, Amy Tan (October 17)

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Tan’s memoir is “a compelling portrait of a writer figuring out who she is—and how to put that discovered self into words,” writes BUST. Read our review here 

25. Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power and How To Stop Letting The System Screw Us All by Jaclyn Friedman (November 14)

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Friedman’s book, named after her podcast, explores “our culture’s effed-up relationship with sexuality” and “faux-empowerment.” Read our review in BUSt’s Dec/Jan issue.

More from BUST

BUST’s Top 27 Movies Of 2017 

11 Books By Women To Read This November

3 New Books By Trans Writers To Read Right Now


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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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