2017 Best book roundup (updated)

2017round-up

Here is an unsystematic survey of “best books” lists and a highly unscientific indication as to where Asian books appear in the radar on the mainstream English language press. Only relatively long lists were chosen.

Fiction seems to have done reasonably well compared to Asian non-fiction, which, with the exception of the Economist, hardly makes the lists at all. But even in the fiction selections, most of the authors have strong (even national or residential) ties with the English-speaking West and only a few are works in translation.

 

Update 20 December: The Chicago Review of Books had a somewhat shorter list, but a higher proportion of Asian books, at least in fiction.

 

Update 23 December: The San Francisco Chronicle’s list contains a fair proportion of Asian (and Asian-American) fiction.

 

New York Times 100 Notable Books

Fiction:

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Selection Day by Aravind Adiga

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama

 

Non-fiction:

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? by Graham Allison

 

The Economist (about 45)

Fiction:

The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam

 

Non-fiction:

Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone by Richard Lloyd Parry

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 by Naoki Higashida

The Souls of China: The Return of Religion after Mao by Ian Johnson

 

Esquire (50)

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

The Windfall by Diksha Basu

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

 

Boston Globe (approx 41)

Fiction:

Frontier by Can Xue, translated from the Chinese by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

 

Non-fiction:

Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China by Xiaolu Guo

 

Chicago Review of Books

Djinn City by Saad Z. Hossain

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Phrasis, poetry by Wendy Xu

 

San Francisco Chronicle (100)

Fiction:

Human Acts by Han Kang

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Selection Day by Aravind Adiga

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan

 

Non-fiction:

Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li