2017's 20 Most-Read Books on Goodreads

Posted by Cybil on December 21, 2017
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's classic feminist dystopian novel, was the most-read book on Goodreads in 2017. The popularity of the 1985 novel was bolstered, in part, by an award-winning TV series adaptation on Hulu.

In fact, many of the year's most-read books had hooks into popular culture, whether that's the success of the Big Little Lies series on HBO or the political climate that helped popularize the hardscrabble memoir Hillbilly Elegy (which was the fourth most-read book of the year).

Some of these novels have become bookclub favorites, including the tale of a stepfamily in Commonwealth (No. 2 on the list) and the beloved curmudgeon of A Man Called Ove (which finished the year at No. 3). And let's say lots of you like to return to Hogwarts as the boy wizard continues his popularity among readers of all ages.

Check out the entire list from No. 1 (The Handmaid's Tale) to No. 20 (Beneath a Scarlet Sky).


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Did you read any of these books in 2017? Which ones would you recommend? Tell us in the comments!

Check out more recent blogs:
First Lines from the Best Books of the Year
'Tis The Season to Do Good
An Interview with the Most Popular Reviewer on Goodreads

Comments Showing 1-50 of 51 (51 new)


message 1: by Joe (new)

Joe Arrington What about Non-Fiction?

Top 20?
Most Read?
Any recognition at all?
Facts are stranger than fiction!


message 2: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Joe wrote: "What about Non-Fiction?

Top 20?
Most Read?
Any recognition at all?
Facts are stranger than fiction!"


Three of those are non-fiction.


message 3: by Steve (new)

Steve Lawless Lynn wrote: "Joe wrote: "What about Non-Fiction?

Top 20?
Most Read?
Any recognition at all?
Facts are stranger than fiction!"

Three of those are non-fiction."


Lynn wrote: "Joe wrote: "What about Non-Fiction?

Top 20?
Most Read?
Any recognition at all?
Facts are stranger than fiction!"

Three of those are non-fiction."


I found two biographies. Couldn't find the third. It is litterature biased for good or bad.


message 4: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Taylor-Watts Margaret Atwood - yes.
Paula Hawkins - yes
J.D. Vance - yes.
Ann Patchett's Commonwealth - disappointed


message 5: by Liz (new)

Liz I’ve read all of them but Wonder and the Harry Potter books. The only one I didn’t rate four or five stars was Homegoing, which I thought was just ok.


message 6: by Toni (new)

Toni I read 12 out of the 20 books listed. It's funny how different everyone's taste in books goes b/c one of my very favorite this year was Homegoing. I am a big fan of Fredrik Backman so after reading A Man Called Ove I have since picked up two more of his books and liked both as well. Of course I am a big fan of page turners which was The Girl on The Train! I liked it so much that I haven't yet seen the movie - I probably will be disappointed!


message 7: by Liz (new)

Liz Toni wrote: "I read 12 out of the 20 books listed. It's funny how different everyone's taste in books goes b/c one of my very favorite this year was Homegoing. I am a big fan of Fredrik Backman so after reading..."

You’ll definitely be disappointed by the movie. Just saw you’re reading Miller’s Valley. Hope you love it as much as I did.


message 8: by Hazel Bee (new)

Hazel Bee I read 11 of them


message 9: by Vickie (new)

Vickie Toni wrote: "I read 12 out of the 20 books listed. It's funny how different everyone's taste in books goes b/c one of my very favorite this year was Homegoing. I am a big fan of Fredrik Backman so after reading..."

I did NOT like “A Man Called Ove” but I loved “my grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry”. Also liked “Bear Town”.


message 10: by Supriya (new)

Supriya Joshi Harry potter and deathly hallows,
Harry potter and the chamber of secrets
Harry potter and the cursed child
Beneath the scarlet sky
All the light we cannot see


message 11: by novelcraze (new)

novelcraze Vickie wrote: "Toni wrote: "I read 12 out of the 20 books listed. It's funny how different everyone's taste in books goes b/c one of my very favorite this year was Homegoing. I am a big fan of Fredrik Backman so ..."

I just dropped reading "A man called Ove", halfway through the book. I loved "And every morning the way home gets longer and longer". I should try his other books definitely.


message 12: by novelcraze (new)

novelcraze I read Harry potter and the chamber of the secrets this year, and few of the books in this list are in my to-read.


message 13: by Kay (new)

Kay M I've only read 4 of them. And two are already on my To Read list.


message 14: by Afaf (new)

Afaf I have only read The Handmaid's Tale 4,5 great book


message 15: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Whitehead I’m surprised that I have only read 3 of them and none of them this year! I do have a few of them in my pile of to read books though.


message 16: by Patti (new)

Patti 7


message 17: by Laura (new)

Laura Liz wrote: "I’ve read all of them but Wonder and the Harry Potter books. The only one I didn’t rate four or five stars was Homegoing, which I thought was just ok."

Wow, this is the best book on the list imo.


message 18: by Dianna (new)

Dianna I read 15 of them and would recommend them all!


message 19: by Manon (new)

Manon This year I just read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
The Deadly Hollows, I read it a few years ago. I've also read a few years ago Wonder. But I bought The Hate U give for christmas !


message 20: by Noel (new)

Noel 10 read plus one that I didn't like and didn't finish. I'm not a fan of Harry Potter, so that only leaves a couple on there that I'd like to read - "The Hate You Give" is on my 2018 list.


message 21: by Margie (new)

Margie I read 8 of them, would recommend all that I read. There are several more on my TBR list.


message 22: by Lynda (new)

Lynda B 10/20. Has already read several before this year!


message 23: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Parker 5. Though a few are on my TBR.

Treavor’s book was a real surprise for me - though I read via audible


message 24: by Noel (new)

Noel Tracy wrote: "5. Though a few are on my TBR.

Treavor’s book was a real surprise for me - though I read via audible"

I wish I had listened to his book, as I heard the narration really enhanced the story. I eye read it and thought it was excellent!


message 25: by Janice (new)

Janice Not a fan of any of them, though I've tried several.


message 26: by Tom (new)

Tom My two favorite novels (aside from Michael Connelly's 2 mysteries this year) were Universal Harvester - which I read twice in two months it was so good - and Everyone Brave Is Forgiven. I also really liked Into the Water and I loved Commonwealth, which actually was published in 2016.


message 27: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Peters Read 10 of the 20. Trevor Noah's book and The Hate U Give were very surprising standouts for me this year.


message 28: by Sara (new)

Sara Steve wrote: "Lynn wrote: "Joe wrote: "What about Non-Fiction?

Top 20?
Most Read?
Any recognition at all?
Facts are stranger than fiction!"

Three of those are non-fiction."

Lynn wrote: "Joe wrote: "What about..."


Hillbilly Elegy, The Glass Castle, and Born a Crime are all non-fiction. To me, the "bias" makes sense. I'm a librarian and I see far more fiction being read than non-fiction. Especially at a time when there is discontent within society, fiction is a good escape. Fiction also tends to be more palatable and easier to digest for many readers.


message 29: by Marju (new)

Marju Roberts Carolyn wrote: "Margaret Atwood - yes.
Paula Hawkins - yes
J.D. Vance - yes.
Ann Patchett's Commonwealth - disappointed"


I found Paula Hawkins utterly disappointing.


message 30: by Katharine (new)

Katharine Phenix All but 5


message 31: by Will (new)

Will Dawson Liz wrote: "I’ve read all of them but Wonder and the Harry Potter books. The only one I didn’t rate four or five stars was Homegoing, which I thought was just ok."

That's funny, I gave Homegoing a 4, too, but I gave Hillbilly Elegy which I thought was mostly garbage, a 2.5 (leaned into a 3)


message 32: by Sue (new)

Sue I read 9 and I think the stand outs for me were Wonder, The Harry Potter books, Born a Crime, and the Handmaid's Tale. The Girl on the Train, Commonwealth and Big Little Lies were good in different ways. but not great.


message 33: by Mariah Roze (new)

Mariah Roze I have read exactly half.


message 34: by Jannik (new)

Jannik None, but I'm about to start with Trevor Noah's "Born a Crime".


message 35: by Kathy (new)

Kathy I just read two of the books listed: Girl on the Train & Glass Castle. I really enjoyed both especially Glass Castle.


message 36: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Joe wrote: "What about Non-Fiction?

Top 20?
Most Read?
Any recognition at all?
Facts are stranger than fiction!"


Most read, not suggested reads. They can't help most people read fiction.


message 37: by Jordan (new)

Jordan I started but did not finish two of these: The Girls and The Sun is Also a Star. Just couldn't get into them. Did anyone love these books?


message 38: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl James I read Homegoing by Jaa Gyasi and it was clearly my best read in 2017!!


message 39: by D.G. (new)

D.G. I've read 5 overall, but of them, I've only read Ove this year (which I absolutely loved!)


message 40: by Riina (last edited Dec 29, 2017 01:13AM) (new)

Riina I've read the Handmaids tale, The Girl on the Train and Into the Water.

The Handmaid's Tale and The Girl on the Train were really good, I rated them with 4 stars. But the second thriller by Paula Hawkins, Into the Water was a bit of a dissappointment and I gave it only 3 stars, which means "ok" on my rating scale. And I mean it was ok, I just had high expectations after The Girl on the Train.

Big Little Lies I've already bought and it's on my to read list.


message 41: by Rachana (new)

Rachana Entire Harry Potter series of Books
The Girl On The Train
Into the Water (almost finished)


message 42: by Andrea (last edited Dec 29, 2017 03:51AM) (new)

Andrea I'm glad for The Handmaid's Tale new youth ✌


message 43: by Simon (new)

Simon Fletcher I read The Handmaids Tale 20 years ago. With all the buzz about it this year I think its probably about time I re read it.
I've also read all of the Potters (whats not to like about these), Hillbilly Elegy (which was a bit disappointing if I'm honest, interesting but a bit dull) and All the Light We Cannot See (which I didn't enjoy at all). An awful book, I really cant see what the fuss was about it. It wasn't the worst book of the year though, that honour belongs equally to Angela Carter's "The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman" and Richard Dawkins' "Science in the Soul".


message 44: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine Simon wrote: "I read The Handmaids Tale 20 years ago. With all the buzz about it this year I think its probably about time I re read it."

I read it years ago as well, and I plan on re-reading it in January while on vacation. I'm not an Atwood fan, but I did love the book.


message 45: by Shanna (new)

Shanna 6, but not all of them in the past year. I read the Harry Potter titles (multiple years), The Handmaid’s Tale (this year), Trevor Noah’s Autobiography (this year) and Wonder (a few years ago).


message 46: by Whitney (new)

Whitney Steve wrote: "Lynn wrote: "Joe wrote: "What about Non-Fiction?

Top 20?
Most Read?
Any recognition at all?
Facts are stranger than fiction!"

Three of those are non-fiction."

Lynn wrote: "Joe wrote: "What about..."



The three were Hillbilly Elegy, The Glass Castle and Born a Crime.

I’ve read seven of these. The four I read this year were Born a Crime, The Sun is Also a Star, The Hate U Give, and Wonder.


message 47: by Carol (new)

Carol Liane Moriarty is my favorite author of 2017. I enjoy everything she writes. Australian authors are definitely in the forefront of today's fiction. Excited to see what 2018 will bring.


message 48: by Karima (new)

Karima Jannik wrote: "None, but I'm about to start with Trevor Noah's "Born a Crime"."

If you like audiobooks, this one is great to listen to as he's the narrator.


message 49: by Megan (new)

Megan I've read "The Glass Castle" literally dozens of times, maybe more than 30. I absolutely LOVE that book. I don't even know why, since my usual taste tends towards YA fiction, but it's just so compelling. I enjoy every single part every single time I read it. Maybe it's just because it's so satisfying to watch her succeed, time and time again.


message 50: by Lindy (new)

Lindy I would be interested in 2017's 20 Most-Read Fantasy Books on Goodreads, will there be a list like that coming out too?


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