As an avid reader, I try to read a variety of genres. I ended the year having read 108 books. My original goal was to hit 75 (due to the anticipated lack of time); however, I had many sleepless nights during pregnancy and now with an infant. In no particular order, here are ten of my favorite books from 2017.
1.) Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin – I absolutely loved her book ‘The Storied Life of AJ Fickry’ (track it down and read this if you haven’t already.) I knew I wanted to pick this one up, as well. Somewhat loosely based on the story (or idea, rather) of Monica Lewensky (stay with me here.) A story of empowerment, survival, shame, acceptance, adultery, politics, scandals. A great read!
2.) How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn – After the title grasps your attention, you’ll be hooked on the valuable wisdom Dunn has to share. While I typically seek out a more faith-based approach to marriage, I would highly recommend this to any married couple. While I didn’t agree with every Dunn had to say – I believe she makes strong arguments in regards to the balance of parental duties, discipline, anger and sex. Maybe slide a ‘How Not to Hate Your Wife After Kids’ cover on it and pass it along to your husband!
3.) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – I will start by saying that this was the most explicitly feminist book I have ever read. While I don’t consider myself overly feminist, I really enjoyed this one. Atwood is a brilliant storyteller. The world she crafted was highly disturbing but I’m not one of those ‘doomsday’ individuals that believes it could ever come true. It was hard to get into the book at first, but I ended up flying through it after the first handful of chapters.
4.) Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – Powerful. Bold. Incredibly heavy. Worth it.
5.) Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff – I borrowed this one from the library but plan to purchase it for my personal collection. Acuff’s advice is practical and (seemingly) executable. I struggle with following through – or finishing – my goals; I plan to use his helpful approaches. The added humor further strengthened his tone. Highly recommend!
6.) Shelter by Jung Yun – This wasn’t one of those books I could just rush through. The first third was really intense (traumatic experience + the intensity of relationships had me on edge while reading) and I found it difficult to consume more than little sections at a time. I didn’t find any of the characters overly like-able but I appreciated their complexities. Very well developed characters. Overall, I thought the writing was excellent and can see why it has been given so much praise.
7.) All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood – Great read. Not an easy, lighthearted one, but very well written with a dynamic storytelling style. Few authors could succeed in delivering such a controversial topic in a way that keeps the reader flipping the pages for more. The plot won’t be for everyone but give it a chance. Easily one of the most unique love stories I have ever read.
8.) Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner – As a woman in pursuit of minimalist and slow living, I was convicted by Loechner’s statement: “I do not yet realize that, without grace, pursuing the slow life is just as exhausting as pursuing the fast one. Without grace, minimalism is another metric for perfection. Chasing slow is still a chase.”Thank you Erin for your thoughtful words. I hadn’t intended on underlining in this book (mostly because it was so tangibly beautiful); however, Erin’s words were too beautiful (and perceptive) not to commemorate. I think this is one of those books I’ll return to many times throughout the following years.
9.) The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson – Perfectly crafted thriller. I had only vaguely heard about this on a podcast (just that it was Swanson’s best work) and then it popped up for $1.99 on Amazon Kindle. I immediately purchased and had it read less than two days later. I couldn’t stop flipping pages and was caught off guard more than once. After having read mediocre thriller after thriller this year, I highly recommend The Kind Worth Killing!
10.) The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick- I’d say the ‘charms’ of Arthur Pepper definitely have double meaning in this delightful story. I loved the writing and was moved by the love story between Arthur and his late wife, Miriam. While the story is one of loss and moving on, it’s also hopeful and uplifting. Just a gem of a book.
And a few to skip…(most of these I found to be highly overrated.)
- This Is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel
- The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
- The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
- Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
- The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
What do you recommend for me to read in the upcoming year? What were your favorites of 2017?