2017: What a Brilliant Reading Year!

The year 2017 was epic reading.  Not only did I break my personal best in terms of the number of books that I read but I read alot of great books.  This has made it extremely difficult to decide which books were my favorite this year.  However, I mustered up an effort and made some decisions. I almost went with a top twenty but I thought that was too much. So here are my top ten books and my bottom three for 2017!

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My Top 10 in No Particular Order

I take my books with me everywhere.  Scattered throughout my top ten list I will share where I read these wonderful books!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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I suggested reading Celeste Ng in an earlier post.  She is my new automatic read.  By that I mean that I will read everything that she writes.  I also read Everything I Never Told You this year which I also loved.  I chose to include Little Fires Everywhere in my top ten because I gave it a hug after I finished it.  Damn is Celeste a great writer!

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

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I read Moxie in a single evening.  I stayed up late reading it which I have not done in a very long time.  I love everything that Moxie represents.  I love everything that Moxie gives a teenage reader.  I am its champion.  I wish that it made more top lists for the year.  I wish that more people were talking about it.  It is brilliant ammunition in the hands of young adult readers. I told my blog readers to read it.  Here is my post: You Should Read This: My Thoughts on the Brilliant Book Moxie

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

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This is one of the most beautiful graphic memoirs I have ever read.  I randomly pulled it off the new shelf at my local library.  It is discoveries like this that make me love browsing shelves at the library.  I like to “fall into” books.  Read more about my thoughts on this incredible book here: You Should Read This: The Graphic Memoir The Best We Could Do

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

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Along with discovering Celeste Ng this year I also discovered Fredrik Backman.  He is another automatic read for me.  I read A Man Called Ove early in the year and adored it.  Curmudgeon is my new favorite word and I use it whenever the occasion calls for it.  When I realized that Beartown was released I knew that I had to read it.  Mind you, Beartown is very different from A Man Called Ove.  It includes difficult topics but it is beautiful.  It is the sort of novel that you slowly devour and become one with.  Even after several months I remember being curled up with it.  It is a heartbreaking glimpse into a town that is consumed with being seen as great and the harm that comes when someone challenges that perception.  I highly recommend it.

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I quickly became obsessed with this one.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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This book knocked my socks off.  I firmly believe that it is should be required reading in every high school.  Starr witnesses the shooting of her friend at the hands of a police officer.  The premise for this book radiates with the Black Lives Matter movement and brilliantly depicts the aftermath that occurs after such a tragedy.  This book is all over top reading lists for the year and rightfully so.  It is a gift to today’s youth and I applaud Angie Thomas for giving it to us.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People’s Temple by Jeff Guinn

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Jeff Guinn is my go to nonfiction writer.  I have discussed him in other posts so I won’t go on too much about how amazing he is.  This is the most comprehensive source I have come across on Jonestown.  I find books like this fascinating.  I am aware that they are not for everyone but if you are curious about Jim Jones and his cult…this is the only source you need.

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What? No I have not been reading all day…..

Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital by David Oshinsky

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I knew that Bellevue was a highly influential institution in the medical world but this book showcased just how influential.  This was a highly anticipated book for me in 2017. In fact, this was the second book I read in 2017. I had read about it and knew that it was a perfect fit for me.  I poured over this book.  I became immersed in revolutionary medical practice, quack medical solution and racial inequality.  It was completely and utterly fascinating.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

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So I read it in a day.  Rarely does fiction pull me in to a hurried “I need to know what happens” reading pace.  This one sucked me in right away.  I looked at my fiance and told him “I will be reading all day”.  Stephen King’s son fellow author Joe Hill (writer of another unexpected favorite of mine NOS4A2) said of Behind Her Eyes “this is the kind of novel that takes over your life”.  Yep he called that one right.

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Radium Girls: The Dark History of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

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Ugh the true story of The Radium Girls is sickening, disheartening and all of those sort of adjectives.  These are the women who painted radium laced paint on watch faces so that they glowed in the dark.  The positions in these studios were highly sought after and were considered very prestigious.  They paid well considering the jobs were filled by women only.  Unknowingly, these poor women ingested radium with each brushstroke.  The best method of such finely detailed painting was wetting the brush tip with your mouth.  This book goes into details on the women affected, those who allowed it to happen, the battle to convince the world that radium was dangerous and workers compensation.  It broke my heart but was such a worthy read.

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My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

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Here is my Goodreads review for My Absolute Darling “Uncomfortably beautiful. I am sad to say goodbye to the tenacious character Turtle”. Uncomfortably beautiful.  That is the best and only way to describe this raw and unflinching debut novel.

Here are My Bottom Three

I always like to note that these are just my personal opinions.  It is possible that they could make your top ten someday!  It isimportant to remember that with the good come the…not so good.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

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I was not impressed with this dystopian novel.  I was frustrated by it.  Did not like the main character.  Most of the plot involves a woman going down a river with her eyes closed.  It is amusing that I read this book for a book group that also had me read Behind Her Eyes.  So maybe my expectations were high? Meh. On second thought….no…I just don’t go for stories of floating down a river with my eyes closed.

Kill My Mother: A Graphic Novel by Jules Feiffer

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If you are searching for a great graphic novel I have so many other recommendations for you.  I love noir films and that time period which explains why I picked this one up.  It was not that it was terrible but I just was not impressed.

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

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This was a beautifully written novel.  I do plan on checking in on Emily Fridlund’s future writing.  My only complaint about this book is that I strongly believe it would have made for a beautiful short story.  So in short….it should have been a short story.

I hope you give some of my favorite and not so much selections a chance in 2018.  Happy reading to all!

 

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