The Best Books of 2017

Another day, another “Best Of” list to synthesize the spoils of 2017. But why limit your reading by the year on the calendar? Great books don’t have expiration dates. With that in mind, here are the books the team at Scribd loved the most this year, no matter when they came out. (Never fear — despite the nontraditional guidelines, plenty of buzzy new releases made the cut.)


“Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear. These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and, in this way, brought them forth. And now we must lose them.”
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Chosen by Alex P. (Editorial)

“The world is a tangle of jewels and gold spinning and throwing off sparks. I'm already home.”
— Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

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Chosen by Katie (Editorial)


“Octopuses and squid, cephalopods who have also shed their shells, suffer from the same vulnerability. So these fleshy creatures have evolved an ingenious system of defense: if you can’t protect yourself when attacked, don’t draw any unwanted attention in the first place." 
— Adapt by Amina Khan

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Chosen by Chetana (Design)


“Every time a couple moves they begin, if their attention is still drawn to one another, to see each other differently, for personalities are not a single immutable color, like white or blue, but rather illuminated screens, and the shades we reflect depend much on what is around us.”
— Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

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Chosen by Adia (Marketing)


“Geography has always been a prison of sorts — one that defines what a nation is or can be, and one from which our world leaders have often struggled to break free.”
— Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall

Chosen by Augie (Data)

“He was by no means a thief, but Jackie had learned the hard way that life could drag disgrace out of you.”
A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

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Chosen by Zoe (Marketing)

“Music was a language of its own, and soon it would become his third language, a half-diminished seventh to a major seventh to a minor seventh as pinchy-sweet as flipping between Chinese tones. American English was loose major fifths; Fuzhounese angled sevenths and ninths.”  
The Leavers by Lisa Ko

Chosen by David (Marketing)

“For a week she fought down the recurring horror, tried vainly to sleep, resisted the crawly impulse to physically slough the skin off her breasts and belly. The nightmares had faded, but now she was sick, and depressed, and livid at the way she had been manipulated.”
— Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

Chosen by Kevin P. (Data)

“It’s seductive, to live in a virtual space, especially when the real world isn’t what you want it to be.”

— Dating-ish by Penny Reid

Chosen by Angela (Design)


“The crime was not having done something, it was being something.”

The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis

Chosen by Julie (Content Acquisitions)

“I tell people that the book is better than the movie, but I don't even know if the movie has a book.”
— Stephen Colbert’s Midnight Confessions by Stephen Colbert

Chosen by Kevin T. (Engineering)

“It’s a weird phrase in English — in love — like it’s a sea you drown in or a town you live in. You don’t get to be in anything else — in friendship or in anger or in hope. All you can be in is love.”
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Chosen by Ashley (Editorial)


“It turns out everything you learned about hangovers in college is wrong.”
— Proof by Adam Rogers

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Chosen by Karyne (Editorial)


“Our histories never unfold in isolation. We cannot truly tell what we consider to be our own histories without knowing the other stories. And often we discover that those other stories are actually our own stories.”
— Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis

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Chosen by Kelcey (Engineering)


“His lack of reverence for authority and his willingness to challenge received wisdom would lead him to craft an empirical approach for understanding nature that foreshadowed the scientific method developed more than a century later by Bacon and Galileo. His method was rooted in experiment, curiosity, and the ability to marvel at phenomena that the rest of us rarely pause to ponder after we’ve outgrown our wonder years.” 
Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

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Chosen by Jen (Marketing)


“They would just trade one type of shackles for another, trade physical ones that wrapped around wrists and ankles for the invisible ones that wrapped around the mind.”
 Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

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Chosen by Alex K. (Product)

“To the dumb question ‘Why me?’ the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?”
 — Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

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Chosen by Joe (Engineering)

“Books may look like nothing more than words on a page, but they are actually an infinitely complex imaginotransference technology that translates odd, inky squiggles into pictures inside your head.”
— The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

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Chosen by Alison (Engineering)

“Love does that. It makes you feel infinite and invincible, like the whole world is open to you, anything is achievable, and each day will be filled with wonder.”
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

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Chosen by Christina (Content Acquisitions)

"Pull on the new flesh like borrowed gloves and burn your fingers once again."
— Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

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Chosen by Max (Customer Service)

“Giving a shit about wine doesn't make you a snob.”
— Wine. All the Time. by Marissa A. Ross

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Chosen by Patrick (Engineering)

“This country has a long history of defining its generations by the conflicts that should have killed them.”
American War by Omar El Akkad

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Chosen by Andrew (Marketing)

“One percent of the nation owns a third of the wealth. The rest of the wealth is distributed in such a way as to turn those in the 99 percent against one another … These groups have resented one another and warred against one another with such vehemence and violence as to obscure their common position as sharers of leftovers in a very wealthy country.”
— A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

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Chosen by Soo-Rae (Engineering)

“How is that possible? you ask. Because our dominance won’t arise from subjugating peoples. We’ll emerge from this war victorious and unscathed, and become bankers to the world. We’ll export our dreams, our language, our culture, our way of life. And it will prove irresistible.” 
— Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

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Chosen by Tifa (Marketing)

“Life is trouble. Only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and look for trouble.”
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis

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Chosen by Nathan (Engineering)



“Beyond the reach of human rage, a drop of hell, a touch of strange…”

— The Gunslinger by Stephen King

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Chosen by George (Design)




“And wasn't that fitting: his wings, those glorious divine pinions … reduced in their final moments to parroting the epileptic flicker of antique signs advertising fifty-dollar joy girls.”

Something More Than Night by Ian Tregillis

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Chosen by Brittani (Customer Service)



“I crouch down to the floor. Get on hands and knees, press one hand hard against my bruisen mouth, and weep like any hound. … I weep until I cannot breathe, my hair be wet, all on the floor be wet.”

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

Chosen by Jerry  (Content Operations)


“The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.”

The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey

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Chosen by Katherine (Engineering)

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