Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Recap: A Year in Books

 2017 was a crazy year: lots of change, lots of events, and lots of books. I had originally set my reading goal for 50, but because of the aforementioned craziness, that was not going to happen. I am proud to say that despite it all, I still read 41 books (which is a few more than last year)!! *insert applause here* Here's a list of what I read, what I rated them, and a micro review. I've starred my top books of the year.

1. The Sun is Also a Star - 4/5 stars - A diverse YA page-turner but still a cliche romance.

2. Siege and Storm (Book 2 of Grisha Trilogy) - 4/5 stars - Excellent world building, a superbly crafted villain, and fascinating characters and plot; a refreshingly original fantasy!

3. Ruin and Rising (Book 3 of Grisha Trilogy) - 4/5 stars - Same summation as Book 2, but a little disappointed with the ending.

4. Land of Hidden Fires - 3/5 stars - Historical fiction ARC; unique WWII perspective of German-occupied Norway and strong descriptions, but room for improvement.

5. Milk and Honey - 4/5 stars - Although classified as poetry, read more like prose or memoir; some noteworthy quotes but not superb.

6. Memoirs of a Geisha - 4/5 stars - A fascinating look at geisha and Japanese culture; a very interesting read!

7. A Court of Thorns and Roses - 3/5 stars - An intriguing take on fairies, but too much like a romance novel for my taste; didn't measure up to the hype.

8. *Caraval - 4/5 stars - A real page-turner, carnival-like fantasy with excellent descriptions and interesting characters! Looking forward to the author's next book in the series in 2018.

9. Out of the Silent Planet - 4/5 stars - A classic fantasy read with interesting ideas; a little far-out for my taste and didn't love the audiobook narrator.

10. *Station Eleven - 4/5 stars - Dark and poetic, a super interesting look at a post-apocalyptic world wiped out by a flu virus. Really enjoyed this one!

11. *Mere Christianity - 5/5 stars - C. S. Lewis provides a fresh and fascinating look at major points of the Christian faith.

12. The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness - 4/5 stars - Timothy Keller gives excellent biblical insight (as always) on the title's subject.

13. City of Saints and Thieves - 4/5 stars - A unique and diverse YA thriller set in Kenya with teen gangs and a murder mystery.

14. Passenger - 4/5 stars - Music, pirates, diversity, time travel, and romance--what's not to love?

15. The Weight of Glory - 4/5 stars - Another C. S. Lewis gem.

16. The Night Circus - 3/5 stars - Really unique circus fantasy, but a confusing plot and didn't quite measure up to the hype.

17. The Nightingale - 3/5 stars - German-occupied France during WWII. Interesting but too much tragedy for the sake of emotional manipulation; didn't feel authentic.

18. Selected Poems of E. E. Cummings - 4/5 stars - Very enjoyable with unique imagery and word choice.

19. The Pearl - 4/5 stars - A little novella by the amazing John Steinbeck preaching the dangers of materialism.

20. The Bad Beginning (Book 1, Series of Unfortunate Events) - 3/5 stars - I enjoyed the movie version with Jim Carrey, but overall found this book dark and weird.

21. The Red Pony - 4/5 stars - Another novella by Steinbeck; loved his writing style but didn't really get the overall theme of the story.

22. *Peter Pan - 5/5 stars - An adorable children's story and a superbly narrated audiobook.

23. *The Stranger in the Woods - 4/5 stars - Nonfiction true story of a man who successfully avoids human interaction for nearly 30 years. Utterly fascinating.

24. Sense and Sensibility - 3/5 stars - I've come to the conclusion that Jane Austen is not my cup of tea. 4/6 Austen books read now! (Emma and Mansfield Park left to go...)

25. *In the Heart of the Sea - 4/5 stars - The very fascinating true story of Moby Dick and how the crew survived/didn't survive after their ship was attacked by an angry, vengeful whale.

26. Love and Other Consolation Prizes - 4/5 stars - Historical fiction ARC about a Chinese orphan boy in Washington state; an interesting read with interesting characters.

27. *Gone With the Wind - 5/5 stars - No explanation needed for this books; a long read, but the characters made is worth every page! Probably my favorite book of the year.

28. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - 4/5 stars - Slowly made my way through over half of the Harry Potter books this year; enjoyable!

29. *The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley - 4/5 stars - A father with a criminal past will do anything to right his wrongs and provide a new life for his daughter; a really fun thriller!

30. Finding Peace - 4/5 stars - Charles Stanley gives biblical insight on the title's subject. Not amazing, but still some good truths.

31. *The Meaning of Marriage - 5/5 stars - Timothy Keller blew me away with his biblical and intellectual insight into marriage. Loved this book! Perfect for married and unmarried people alike.

32. A Darker Shade of Magic - 3/5 stars - Points for infusing a fantasy read with creativity, but didn't measure up to what I was hoping or the hype.

33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - 4/5 stars - Another fun Rowling read!

34. The Sun and Her Flowers - 3/5 stars - Second poetry book by same author as Milk and Honey. Not as good and not impressed; a few noteworthy quotes though.

35. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - 4/5 stars - More Harry Potter fun.

36. Present over Perfect - 4/5 stars - A really refreshing Christian book that reads like a memoir. Very enjoyable.

37. *The Reason for God - 5/5 stars - Timothy Keller wows me again!

38. Orthodoxy - 4/5 stars - An interesting Christian read with fascinating ideas, but a little hard to follow.

39. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - 4/5 stars - More Harry Potter...

40. The Glass Castle - 5/5 stars - An AMAZING memoir about the author's childhood and the trials and hardships she faced. So. Good.

41. You and Me Forever - 4/5 stars - A Francis Chan book on marriage; really good, but didn't agree with everything. Not as good as Keller.

So what's in store for 2018? Well, this is going to sound weird, but I'm planning to set my reading goal lower this year so I have more time for other, healthy habits and hobbies like writing, working out, and spending more time in the Bible. Reading is wonderful, but I need to make time for other priorities as well.

What do I plan to read? I'd like to read more nonfiction, since I read some amazing ones this year and really enjoyed them. I'd love to read more books by Timothy Keller specifically. I've also been slacking on reading classics, partially because they hurt my overall book reading total for the year (yet another reason to reduce my book goal). This year, I want to go for quality of books, not just quantity. Classics usually take longer, and I don't want to dismiss them because I'm trying to read "x" number of books.

So there you have it: 2017 in books.


  1. Stranger in the Woods sounds so good! One of my goals is to read more nonfiction, so I will definitely pick this up!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. You should check it out!