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I read 111 books in 2017.
I can’t even tell you how much joy that number brings me. It was the best year of reading that I can ever remember. It brought me so much happiness and made me such a better person.
I’ve covered the HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME TO READ SO MUCH? question many, many times. But it boils down to this. I read really fast, I sometimes neglect other things (TV series, a clean house) to read, I stay up too late, and I have a book with me everywhere I go. It’s like breathing to me. So that’s the short answer.
So narrowing that number down to my favorite few is really, really hard. So hard that I’ve been working on this post longer than I want to admit.
Before I share this list I want to tell you a few things.
*These books are in no particular order.
*I’m not limiting myself to a “top 10” or “top 5”. I just chose all of the books that I loved and I’m still thinking about.
*They cover all topics and don’t all fit in the same mold. I am NOT a snobby reader and I don’t discriminate. I believe that a good “chick lit” type read can be just as satisfying as a New York Times Book Review top 10 read.
*All of these books were not written or published in 2017. But I read all of them in 2017.
*We don’t all have the same tastes and that’s what makes the world AWESOME. Just because I loved these books doesn’t mean you will like them at all. You don’t have to tell me if you hated a book I loved. I mean you can but it’s not necessary.
I would not have found any of these books without:
You will see that many books on this list were purchased. I knew I’d want to own them based on what I’d heard and I was right!!
Here is how I made this list. I looked through my Goodreads Read in 2017 list. I found all of the five star reads and then looked through them for the ones that still evoke an emotional response in me. The ones I still think about (every day for many of them). These are the books on the list below.
1. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman Audible
Award: Best Audiobook of 2017
I listened to this one on Audible and I still think about it so very often. I just kind of fell in lovewith Eleanor and rooted for her so hard.
Original Review: I want to shout it from the rooftops… I LOVED LOVED LOVED THIS BOOK. Adored it, swooned over it, devoured it. Well, as fast as you can devour an Audible book. Another EXCELLENT narrator and I feel that the audio version enhanced the already amazing words so much. Fans of Ove and The Rosie Effect will love this book. At times absolutely HEARTBREAKING, it was the most endearing and uplifting book I’ve read in a long, long time. Absolute perfection. I want to find Eleanor and hold her hand. 5 stars.
Award: Most Important Read of 2017
I still, to this day, think this is such an important read. I think that all teenagers should have to read it. Hell, I thinkall adults should have to read it.
Original Review: The title is an acronym for THUG. This book broke my heart. And made me SO MAD. I listened to it on Audible and I fully believe it gave me an even deeper experience than reading it would have. There is so much buzz about this book right now and it deserves every single bit. Race relations, police brutality, gangs, racism…it’s all covered in this book. But the overarching theme? L O V E. If you walk away from this book thinking otherwise, then read it again. Or LISTEN to it. Read it with an open heart and put your defense down. It’s not easy to listen to. I cried in many places. But it’s so so so very important to read. I won’t ever forget a single word. 5 stars.
3. The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood Purchased
Award: Most Heartwarming Book of 2017
This book just made me feel all of the feels. I fell in love from the very beginning.
Original Review: Oh my heart did I love this one. I loved every single thing about it. It was absolutely heartwarming. I love it like I loved Ove, Arthur Pepper, and Lillian Boxfish. It was just magical and charming.
by Laurie Frankel Purchased
Award: Best Portrayal of Family Life of 2017
Family is everything. And navigating being a parent, especially in a large family, can be so damn complicated. I feel like this one really got it right from my perspective.
Original Review: Oh did I love this gem of a book. On the surface it’s about Rosie and Penn’s son announcing he thinks he’s a girl. But it’s about so much more than that. The overall theme is LOVE. Real, true, abiding, unshakeable love. Parental love that simply cannot be put into words…although Laurie Frankel still managed to do so somehow.
I especially loved the SPOT ON descriptions of a family with five children…I have five too and oh boy did Frankel nail it.
My favorite passage from the book- one that brings tears to my eyes just typing it- is this:
These kids, her multitudes, they could grow up. They could move away. They could- they would- become new, become changed,become actual adult people in progress,people she wouldn’t recognize,people she could not imagine. People remade. They would undergo miracles. They would transform. They would make magic. But they were her story, hers and Penn’s, so however wide they wandered, they would always be right here.
MAGIC. Five stars.
5. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch Library
Award: Book I Read the Fastest in 2017.
I was…AM…so obsessed with this book and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Jimmy and I talk about it all the time.
Original Review: I read this book in a matter of hours. I cannot even tell you how much I enjoyed it. I am not one to enjoy books about physics… Let’s be honest, I don’t even understand physics. However… This book transcends any genre. It is absolutely thrilling, heart pounding, and all encompassing. Such a fun ride!
6. The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne BOTM Selection
Award: Longest Book I Read in 2017
Oh this book, this book. It grabbed me from the first page and I held on for dear life until the end. It broke my heart. And warmed it. Side note: This also won BOTM’s book of the year. You can snag your own commemorative rose gold copy HERE.
Original Review: Brb to write a review if I can stop crying long enough to do so.. HAHA! Guess I never got back to write the review but I think those words say it all.
by Julia Claiborne Johnson Library
Award: Quirkiest Book of 2017
I just thought this book worked perfectly. I loved the characters and how imperfect they were, I loved the setting, I loved the dialogue.
Original Review: Oh this book…this book. The perfect mix of wit, heartbreak, quirk, and magic. It won me over from page one. This gave me the same feels that The Rosie Project and Eleanor Oliphant gave me. It’s the story of one amazing kid and the people who love him. It warmed my heart big time.
“‘Frank will be okay, Alice,’ Mr. Vargas said. ‘He’s an odd duck, but brilliant children often are. It may take him a while, but someday he’ll figure out how to live in the world of ordinary mortals.’”5 stars
8. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid BOTM Selection
Award: Most Nostalgic Book of 2017.
This one took my by surprise. I’m a BIG Taylor Jenkins Reid fan and this book was such a departure for her. In a really great way. I loved the era this one was set in, my favorite decade.
Original Review: Yeah I loved this book. To be fair I LOVE TJR and I’m also obsessed with old Hollywood so this is totally my kind of book. There was also a wonderful dose of social justice. I ADORED it.
9. A Million Junes by Emily Henry BOTM Selection
Award: Most Magical Book of 2017
I think about this one quite often . It was kind of in the same vein as Night Circus. Just magical.
Original Review: Haunting, beautiful, magical, and thoroughly enchanting. The last couple of chapters got a little too weird and convoluted for me, but the tear-inducing ending more than made up for it. Swoonworthy.
10. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi Library
Award: Most Sweeping Story of 2017
I still can’t get over how much time is covered in this novel and how all of the characters weave together perfectly. FYI- it takes a while to get a hang of all of the characters but fight through the confusion!
Original Review: This book is OUTSTANDING. Absolutely outstanding. This novel takes place on two continents over 300 years and it was astoundingly moving and beautiful. And horribly sad as well. It stunned me and I won’t forget it.
11. Bear Town by Fredrick Backman Purchased
Award: Biggest Surprise of 2017
I love Fredrick Backman. LOVE him. I thought this book was just going to be about hockey. Oh how wrong I was!
Original Reviw: Before I start this review, I need to disclose that I love Fredrick Backman. A Man Called Ove is one of my all time favorites. That said, his writing style takes a little getting used to. He is Swedish and I’m not sure if that has something to do with the different cadence and at times dry and abrupt structure of his sentences. But listen to me here- STICK WITH IT.
Ostensibly this book is about hockey. Which I know zero about. Zero. In reality it is about so much more. Love, fear, loyalty, loss, desire, family, good, and evil. It is about whether “boys will be boys” is an excuse and if “locker room banter” is acceptable. It’s about standing up for what you believe in…and so much more. Some of it is quite dark and some of it probably needs a trigger warning.
Listen to me here…Backman’s books are a slow burn. He wants you to KNOW his characters inside and out before you get to the action. He wants you to work for it and think about it. Always read carefully because there are gems scattered along the way. 5 stars.
12. Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge Purchased
Award: Book That Made Me Cry the Hardest in 2017
Guys. I’m still thinking about this book like every day. I will say that as time goes on I’m still TOTALLY annoyed by the end. Why did Huckelbridge wrap it up so fast? It’s almost like the first half and last half are two totally different animals. So odd. But the beginning and middle is such a beautifully crafted love story.
Original Review: Y’ALL. Y’all. Y’all. Y’alllllll. Maybe I should start by telling you that when I finished this book I was crying so hard that Jimmy almost had to pull the car over. I’m not kidding. It broke me. BROKE ME. This book is so dang good. And so much to take, I thought my heart might burst. My only issue is that Huckelbridge wrapped the end up wayyyy too fast. I wish he would have slowed down a little bit because it was a little jarring. But I loved it so much. I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the setting.
I DID IT I DID IT!
I thought I was never EVER going to finish this post. HOORAY!
So…what were your favorites of the year? Do we have any in common?