Happy New Year!! This post is an annual tradition, where I look back over all the books I read and what was holding my attention over the past twelve months.
I must say, looking back over my 2017 reading list was easily the most surprising of all the years I’ve been blogging about books and writing. Because for the first time ever, I read more non-fiction than any other genre! Wha?? And by non-fiction, I pretty much just mean self-help. This year became my year of studying nutrition, food politics, and (a semi-related off-shoot) general minimalism, all of which I largely blame Michael Pollan’s IN DEFENSE OF FOOD for. (More on that below.)
But the result of reading all that non-fiction is that by the end of the year I was DESPERATE to read some YA, and now at the start of 2018 I am looking at my poor, abandoned TBR pile, and oh-so-many amazing series that I still haven’t finished (or in some cases, started!) and I am eager to dive into some romance and adventure in the new year.
Here are my 2017 reading stats, my top ten of the year, and the full list of books below.
Total Books Read: 67
Further broken down into:
Food & Health: 12
Other self-help: 4
Young Adult: 15
Further broken down into:
Contemporary romance: 9
Fantasy / urban fantasy: 5
Graphic novels: 15
Middle grade: 8
Fiction (suspense): 2
Fiction (classics): 1
TOP TEN FAVORITE BOOKS I READ THIS YEAR
(In alpha order by author.)
The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody
I’ve been a big fan of Jessica Brody’s for years, and I think this is her best work yet. It combines her signature light-hearted romance with a deeper story focusing on grief and friendship and I loved it. As the book takes place in an airport during a snowstorm, it’s a great one to pick up this winter!
The Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams
It’s rare that I think of a book as “life-changing,” yet there are TWO book on my list this year that I feel truly changed the way that I live my life. This is the first. I dare you to read it and not find your entire point of view – on your own life and the lives of those around you – shifted. It is uplifting and beautiful, thought-provoking and wise.
The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8am by Hal Elrod
This is one of those books that must have been recommended to me by five or six different people before I finally picked it up, and once I read it, I could clearly see why it has so many devotees. Although I’ll admit that I have fallen off the early-morning bandwagon somewhat since I first read this, a lot of the habits have stuck, including daily visualizations and journaling, two things I never used to do, but now feel a huge shift in my day whenever I make time for them.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
I am such a late comer to Jenny Han, but since reading this one in November, I’ve added her entire backlist to my TBR. I adored the “Little Women” vibe of the sisters’ relationship. And of course – there is plenty of sweetness and swooning. Always with the sweetness and swooning.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
I put this one off for a long time because I knew it would make me cry, and of course it did, but I was surprised at how heart-warming the book ultimately was. It’s the sort of book that I feel should be required reading for all of humanity. A beautiful story, beautifully told.
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
And here is the second life-changing book on this list (at least, I was inspired to make unexpected life changes after reading it). I had few expectations when I picked this one up, other than I’d heard it was good, but reading it ignited such a curiosity to learn more and more about all the problems associated with a typical western diet (i.e., sugar and overprocessing), which led to learning about factory-raised meats and dairy products, which led to learning more about all the associated politics in the food industry, and on and on. Truly, I don’t think a book has had such a huge impact on how I live my day-to-day life as this one (well, and maybe David Allen’s GETTING THINGS DONE, which I read a couple of years ago and I’m still heartily devoted to his method, but that’s another story). Anyway, as a result of IN DEFENSE OF FOOD and the other nutrition-related books I read in 2017, my family and I have just about transitioned to an entirely unprocessed diet, and have gone probably about 80% vegan. It wasn’t really planned or intended, but there it is. I can’t say it’s made an enormous difference in how I feel physically, but it does feel incredible to be living more in line with my values of caring for the planet and the welfare of animals. So. Life. Food. Oversharing. There’s that. If you have even the slightest curiosity in the modern food industry, read this. It’s fascinating.
Thornhill by Pam Smy
And for something completely different (ha) – this book was so good! The art is spooky, the story is engrossing, the end gave me chills, and while I’m often disappointed in books that try to be too clever and artsy with their formatting (in this case, half the book is told in a diary entries, the other half in illustrations), here it really worked.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Another Laini Taylor masterpiece, and no one is surprised! This book is everything. Imaginative. Romantic. Whimsical. Dark. Brilliant. Though I read it back in the spring, it’s definitely one of those books that has stayed with me since. Now if only the sequel would get here!!!
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (graphic novel)
I read some really amazing graphic novels this year, but I think GHOSTS takes the prize as my favorite. I really adore Raina Telgemeier’s art style and the way she’s able to bring together various plotlines to make the story approachable and fun but also meaningful and unexpected.
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
This was another friend recommendation, and I am so glad I read it! There is a LOT I could say about this book – it’s charming, it’s sweet, it’s thought-provoking, but mostly I think the reason I loved it so much was because of how very relatable Eliza’s character was, and how much she reminded me of… well, teenage Me, when I would spend hours and hours writing and posting fanfiction. The book really captures how people who create in a fandom (and in some cases, build up a fan-following themselves) really do feel like we’re two different people – on-line and off – and how it can be hard to balance those two identities. Francesca Zappia captured all of Eliza’s emotions and reactions so believably, and brought back a lot of nostalgia for me – a neat bonus on top of an engaging, deeply moving story.
Though those are my favorite books read last year, there were plenty more that I loved and would heartily recommend. Read on for the full list of books I read in 2017:
1. Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze
2. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
3. Drama by Raina Telgemeier (graphic novel)
4. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (graphic novel)
5. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey (audiobook)
6. The Nerdy and the Dirty by B.T. Gottfred
7. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (graphic novel)
8. Essentialism by Greg McKeown (audiobook)
9. How to Manage Your Home without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White
10. The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks (graphic novel)
11. The Rise of Aurora West by Paul Pope, JT Petty, and David Rubin (graphic novel)
12. Pyromantic by Lish McBride
13. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
14. The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
15. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
16. Roar by Cora Carmack
17. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8am by Hal Elrod
18. Too Fast to Think by Chris Lewis
19. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
20. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
21. Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson
22. Crushing It by Joanne Levy
23. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
24. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
25. Faith (graphic novels #1-3) by Jody Houser et al.
26. Harbinger, Deluxe Edition 1 by Joshua Dysart et al.
27. Harbinger, Deluxe Edition 2 by Joshua Dysart et al.
28. The Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams
29. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
30. Food Rules by Michael Pollan
31. Meatless by Kristie Middleton
32. Adventures in Cartooning Activity Book by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost
33. The Fat Resistance Diet by Leo Galland, M.D.
34. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
35. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor
36. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
37. 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake
38. A Plant-Based Life by Micaela Cook Karlsen
39. French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon
40. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
41. L’Art de la Simplicite: Living More with Less by Dominique Loreau (audiobook)
42. Piper by Jay Asher and Jessica Freeburg (graphic novel)
43. Eat Pretty by Jolene Hart
44. Creating a Charmed Life by Victoria Moran
45. Lintang and the Pirate Queen by Tamara Moss
46. The Plant-Based Journey by Lani Muelrath
47. The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
48. Visualization for Weight Loss by Jon Gabriel
49. Mini-Habits for Weight Loss by Stephen Guise
50. Lintang and the Forbidden Island by Tamara Moss
51. Saga, vol. 2, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (graphic novel)
52. Saga, vol. 3, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (graphic novel)
53. Killfile by Christopher Farnsworth (audiobook)
54. The Karma Club by Jessica Brody
55. Lintang Book 3 (Title TBD) by Tamara Moss (beta-read)
56. Geekerella by Ashley Poston
57. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
58. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
59. The Mortal Instruments, Vol. 1, by Cassandra Clare (graphic novel)
60. The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North
61. Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramon K. Perez (graphic novel)
62. My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff
63. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
64. The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody
65. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (graphic novel)
66. Thornhill by Pam Smy
67. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate