It’s that time again, friends, when we’re all taking stock of our reading and making plans for next year. This has been a good reading year for me overall, although I didn’t fulfill many of the goals I set for myself at the year’s beginning. I still read some enlightening and entertaining books, participated in the #AnneReadalong2017, the R.I.P. Challenge and Reading Ireland Month, and hit a new Goodreads Challenge goal! So without further adieu, here is my Best of 2017 list (in no particular order.)
- Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. Moving and inventive, unlike anything else I’ve ever read. Saunders is a master of the human heart and a risk-taker. I will read anything he writes.
- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Searing, violent, suspenseful, and unforgettable. Whitehead’s finest work to date.
- At Mrs. Lippincote’s by Elizabeth Taylor. A witty, melancholy novel WWII British marriage and motherhood with a feisty heroine. I’m delighted to have finally discovered Taylor.
- My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. Some have loved this, some haven’t, but for me it was beautiful and devastating in the best sense.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. A young black heroine teens can relate to, a realistic and loving family, and a heartbreaking exploration of police brutality in a poor African American community. I’m thrilled this has become a best seller and is being made into a movie.
- The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel. My only nonfiction to have made the list. I just adored this slim, page-turning book about a real-life hermit in Maine who survived the elements and eluded capture for decades.
- The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. A gem, a book I recommend for everyone. Warm, funny, and heartbreaking all at once. A great way to introduce a very heavy topic (the Civil Rights Movement and the Birmingham church bombing) to younger readers. I listened to the audiobook and it was terrific.
- Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. I was captivated by this slim novel that mixed fantasy, dystopian, and contemporary literary fiction elements to create a moving exploration of love and war in an unsettled age.
- Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery. The third book in the series, this one focuses on Anne at college. I loved reading about her being on her own and making friends, having fun before settling down into a more conventional role.
- Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery. The last book in the series, I was take by surprise by how much I loved it. Darker than the rest, I was enthralled and moved by how the women of the community rose up to meet the challenges of World War I and the emotional toil of sending beloved sons and brothers overseas.
As for the numbers, here are my final reading stats for 2017:
Total books read (as of 12/27/17:) 90
Graphic Novels/Comics: 3
Authors of Color: 18
Middle Grade: 15
Goals I Completed:
Read 6 YA books.
Read 6 middle grade books.
Choose 6 “random” reads. I was trying to inject more “whimsy” into my reading life.
Goals I Didn’t Complete:
Authors of Color at 35% or higher. Nope. I only read a measly 20%.
Authors in Translation. Not a one. UGH.
There were other goals I didn’t complete but those were the biggest ones and I won’t bore you with the others. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a mood reader, I hate reading off of a list (even one I make myself!), and I just don’t do well with self-imposed goals. (I’m definitely an Obliger, if you follow Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies personality framework.) Which makes sense that I was able to complete my challenges and readalongs, because those all involved OUTER accountability. Anyway, next year I am setting NO READING GOALS whatsoever. I am just going to enjoy reading whatever I want, wherever my curiosity takes me. I may participate in readalongs and challenges, I may not.
So, how about your own reading goals for 2017? Any that you’re proud of reaching, or sorry that you didn’t reach? Have you read any of my Top Ten? What did you think? Talk to me in the comments below!