2018 Book ReviewBooks

Favorite Reads of 2017

By January 22, 2018 June 20th, 2019 7 Comments

In an attempt to resurrect my foul mood regarding the month of January, let’s reflect on our best friend, BOOKS. Do you keep track of what you read? I wish I’d done it my whole life. It’s fascinating to know what I pick up next and see what kind of trends are trending in my brain…

Of course I have my trusty journal with pink uni-ball pen, but last year I also began keeping track through the Goodreads challenge. My goal was 50 books. I read 33. For 2018, I again put 50 as my goal again because I’m unrealistically optimistic and gosh darn it, there are BOOKS TO READ (and less People.com stories to scroll through. am I right?)

Friend Annie, has an app, and has the ambitious goal of 52 books (one a week!) Do you have a goal?

Let’s get really nerdy for a moment. Of the 33 books I read, here’s a breakdown, with my favorite book for each category (SO HARD to decide!):

Children’s: 3 books. Favorite: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Middle Grade: 3 books. Favorite: Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson

Favorite Illustrations: Eloise Wilkins Stories, the Little Golden Book Collection

Young Adult: 4 books. Favorite: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (break your heart good. An important read for parents.)

Adult Fiction: 11 books. Favorite: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (incredibly relevant. sadly.)

Short Stories: 1. Dear Life by Alice Munro. (superb)

Poetry: 1 book. Bright Exit by Laurie Zimmerman (powerful)

Writing Craft: 1 book. Favorite: The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass

Memoir: 7 books. Favorite: Lit by Mary Karr AND The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Inspirational: 2 books. Favorite: Proof of Heaven by neurosurgeon Eben Alexander (WOAH.)

Most anticipated book that was way over my head: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (his obvious brilliance eludes me :()

Male Authors read: 11

Female Authors read: 22 (one author read twice)

Interestingly, of the nine memoir/inspirational reads, only 2 were male authors (Clayton Christenson and Eben Alexander.) Memoir is dominated by female authors, which makes me wonder if men are writing their stories down…

It’s very obvious that I’m drawn to stories with family drama. Favorites will make me laugh AND cry. ALL of the books read this year were realistic fiction or nonfiction. I read no fantasy, speculative, or dystopian. As for my children? Nobody but me and Gregor likes realistic fiction all that much. Does this mean I lack imagination??? But even as a child, I disliked it. Judy Blume couldn’t get write fast enough for me!

I only read one book with one of my children: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien. This makes me kind of sad as daily reading with a child dominated much of my activity in earlier years. I’m determined to find books to read with Brynne and Paige this year (Brynne is reading The Help right now, on my suggestion.)

Since we’re breaking down the entertainment, here were a few other 2017 Favorites:

TV Shows: Mercy Street (LOVE), John Adams, Chicago PD, Blue Bloods, Hart of Dixie (so cheesey, but that Lemon!), The Crown, Poldark, Victoria, This is Us, The Good Doctor, Turn.

Geez, I could get a lot more reading done with all that time the above, ahem…

Movies: Wonder, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, and The Greatest Showman (although historically suspect, I loved the acting and the music is tremendous!)

Podcasts: Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Helping Writers Become Authors with K.M. Weilland, Modern Love by the New York Times, and the 10-Minute Writer’s Workshop.

Whew! That’s fun. Okay, your turn. What do I have to get to this year???



  • Cary says:

    It’s awesome finding someone with similar taste! Liane Moriarty, Mary Karr, Donald Maas—all good stuff (and the George Saunders book was totally out of my league too, baha). I’ve added Jessica Lawson to my TBR list, along with Joan Didion’s memoir and Alice Munro’s short story. Woohoo! You might like Rachel Khong’s debut novel, GOODBYE, VITAMIN. She has a simple but beautiful writing style.

    I also love the idea of keeping a hard copy of books I’ve read—it just feels different than keeping it on Goodreads. And yes, I should probably start tracking my TV shows and movies too—so I can’t fool myself with the time I’ve wasted 🙂

    Hope you make it to fifty books this year!

  • Carrie Rubin says:

    I read Small Great Things last year too. My favorite book, though, was Trevor Noah’s ‘Born A Crime,’ about growing up biracial in apartheid South Africa. I listened to the audiobook, and I’d recommend everyone do it that way because Noah is such a fantastic narrator. He nails any accent, and for someone so young, he has an incredible story.

  • Julia Tomiak says:

    POLDARK!!! My daughter’s friend recommended this and hubby and I used to watch it with daughter. She has a BF now and is too busy for us, but hubby and I still watch. LOVE the cinematography- lips so red, coast so vast- and they do a good job of building stakes in that show. However, I think that Ross, unlike everyone else, does not look British. More like a Spaniard. Daughter claims, “He looks HOT!” 😉
    You read WAY more books than I did; I’m trying to work on that this year. Employing audio to help.
    Here’s to a new year and MORE BOOKS!

    • Julia Tomiak says:

      PS I’m also sad I don’t read with my kids anymore, like physically sit down and read with them. I am trying to read something they do every now and again. We’ve had some good discussion around The Great Gatsby lately…

  • Heide Johnson says:

    Keep going with the Louise Penny mystery series! The audiobooks are fabulous as well! (I’m convinced that Armand Gamache is really the detective reincarnation of Albus Dumbledore – half-moon glasses, courteous beyond expectations, with a young protege… and clever!)

    She’s pretty cool too (I’ve gone through her entire series – 3x!) My favorite is ‘Bury Your Dead’ but you’ll want to read/listen to them in order…

  • Nina says:

    Such a great list all around!

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