I did it! I DID IT. I completed my Goodreads reading challenge for 2017! And more than that, I beat my goal by 14 books for a total of 43 books in a year. Thanks to Goodreads’ cool “My Year in Books” feature, I can also tell you that the list below of what I read in 2017 includes 17,128 pages worth of books. (These are all humble brags, I swear. Normally I don’t get anywhere near my goal.)
In case you are also interested in recommendations, take a gander at my list (and catch up on the first half of the year if you missed it). I read some really fantastic books in 2017.
What I Read: 2017, pt. 2
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (★★★★★)
I am such a fan of Libba Bray, and I have been for so long. I was initially skeptical since this one focuses on a few of the different Diviners, but it did not disappoint. I’m not normally a fan of multiple POV, but I guess I should stop saying that because I’ve read some darn good multi POV novels lately. (Oh, and did anyone else catch the Gemma Doyle Easter egg in there? Because I may have squealed out loud when I saw it.)
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (★★★★☆)
Sometimes I read things because they’ve been on my TBR list for a while. Other times it’s because Netflix has launched a mini series of a book, and I don’t like to watch things before I’ve read them. To be honest, I was skeptical about this one. A girl commits suicide then sends around tapes from her final days with reasons why she did it? But I have to say I really enjoyed the book and thought the topic of teen suicide was handled really well. I’ve been warned that they completely change up the ending of this story in the Netflix series, and that’s probably why I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it yet.
After You by Jojo Moyes (★★★★☆)
I was such a fan of Me Before You, so there was no doubt I would read this one, too. If you’ve read the first one, you probably have the same reservations I did about Lou’s life after, but I truly loved this one as much as the first. It’s very different, but Lou is still Lou, and that’s what matters.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (★★★★☆)
This book immediately sucked me in with its interesting class structure,
The Elite by Kiera Cass (★☆☆☆☆)
I’m normally the kind of person who has to finish a series once I’ve started it, but this one just didn’t do much for me at all. I’m very much over the love triangle thing that YA lit loves to throw at us, and I also wasn’t crazy about the protagonist.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (★★★★☆)
I thought this part-memoir, part-social science look at love was funny, well-researched, and truly eye-opening in some respects. However, I now find myself with fewer questions about Ansari’s need to write such a book to find a partner.
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (★★★★☆)
I enjoyed this book a ton, which is saying something considering I read the majority of it while stuck for five hours on a plane on a runway during a monsoon. I did get a bit fatigued by the seeming love triangle by the end of it, which is probably why I haven’t read the third book in the series yet.
The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (★★★★☆)
This second book in the Tearling trilogy allows the reader to glimpse even more about the Tearling’s history and society by giving us a completely new perspective from someone in the past. I initially didn’t enjoy switching between Kelsea and the new character, but soon found myself hanging on
The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (★★★★☆)
I thought this book was a fantastic conclusion to the trilogy, and I think that means I’ve grown as a reader (and hopefully as a writer, too?). I didn’t see the ending coming at all, but it was incredibly satisfying
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (★★★☆☆)
I thought the idea behind this book was super interesting, but it took a little while for the story to get going, and I still don’t know that I’m sold on a few relationships between main characters.
Wires and Nerve: Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer (★★★☆☆)
Graphic novels aren’t really my thing (though this was the second one I read in 2017!), but I loved the characters in Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, and she did not disappoint with a story focused entirely on Iko.
Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz (★★★☆☆)
Shameless plug: If you have kids in your life, I would seriously suggest checking out The Bee’s Bookshelf. It’s a new book club for kids, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the books we’ve read for it like this one about the daughter of Captain Hook and her quest to find his treasure.
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (★★★★★)
I have a confession to make. This was the very first book that I ever read by Neil Gaiman! How it that even possible? I don’t know, but it was an adorable story with great illustrations, and I would definitely recommend it as a read-aloud for anyone out there with elementary schoolers.
The Gift with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey (★★★★☆)
This book was recommended by a coworker, and I was very pleased to discover it wasn’t just another zombie story. I thought the main zombie girl was incredibly relatable and that ending. (Plus you can watch a surprisingly good film adaptation on Amazon Prime right now!)
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (★★★☆☆)
I wanted to like this one more than I did. I still enjoyed the story, but the ending didn’t enthrall me like I wanted it to.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (★★★★★)
In August of last year, the shortest GoT season yet ended, and I plunged into a deep, dark withdrawal period. Up until that point I’d never been interested in reading George R.R. Martin’s series of serious tomes because at one point someone told me they were long for the sake of being long, but I deeply regret waiting so long to get into them. I read the first one in maybe three days, and then devoured the next one, too.
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (★★★★☆)
I wish I could be more specific about things I liked between these books, but I read them all in such quick succession that I can’t quite remember what came in which book. Sorry!
The List by Patricia Forde (★★☆☆☆)
This one was another Bee’s Bookshelf pick about a dystopian society that has limited language to a 500-word list. Can you imagine? Overall it was a really unique idea that was well-executed for a children’s book.
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (★★★★★)
Once again, I can’t quite remember why I loved this book so much compared with the others, but it got a five. I’m going to say that while it had great character development and gripping prose like the others, it was just that much above the others.
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (★★★★★)
Words cannot describe how much I loved this book. Bray is so good at creating realistic but also fantastical settings in her historical fiction, and this third book in the Diviners series is no exception. I laughed and I cried, the social/political commentary was poignant, and my main ship sailed! I will be impatiently counting down the days to the next one.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (★★★★★)
For my work team, 2017 was the year of the Outlander obsession. I don’t really even know how it happened, but we were all reading or watching or just generally fangirling over these characters and their stories. I very much enjoyed Gabaldon’s first novel. I will say that I started the second book, and each subsequent book appears to be so different from the others that I might be content leaving things off with Jamie and Claire as they were at the end of this first story.
Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín (★★☆☆☆)
Why didn’t I like this novel more? I have friends who loved it, it’s partially set in one of my favorite countries in the world, it’s historical fiction. I should’ve loved this book, but something about it felt too heavy for me like I needed Eilis to feel more about her life so that I could. Maybe once I see the movie (the whole reason I read the book in the first place because I’m obsessed with Saoirse Ronan) it’ll all come together for me.
The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron (★★☆☆☆)
I found this autobiography on the Goodreads Best of 2017 nominees list and immediately requested it from the library. The story was interesting but horrifying, and I was happy with the way it concluded. I think my main issue was lack of prior knowledge. Perhaps if I’d known of Anna’s father and family before reading her story, I would’ve been able to get into it a little more.
On Writing by Stephen King (★★★★☆)
This half-writing manual, half-memoir is considered the quintessential read for aspiring authors, and when my dad gifted it to me at the beginning of 2017, I took it as part “you can do it” and part “maybe this’ll get her to actually write something.” I carried it around with me to work, to (I’ve just started It, so I’ll let you know how that goes.)
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (★★★★★)
Short and sweet and powerful, this little adaptation of Adichie’s TED Talk is worth a read.
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin (★★★★☆)
Goodwin wrote this novel alongside her scripts for the ITV series Victoria with Jenna Coleman (You can find Season 1 on Amazon Prime, and Season 2 came out in the U.S. this week!), and it’s a fun look at the young monarch’s first few years of being Queen of England. If you’ve already seen the first season, the book pretty much follows it to the letter, though there are some cute scenes between Victoria and Lord M that we don’t get to see onscreen.
Origin by Dan Brown (★★★★☆)
This book was one of three that Spencer read this year (and he tripled his reading goal, so can you tell we have different priorities?). It’s become a bit of a tradition for Spencer to read the latest Dan Brown book while we’re up in Vermont for the holidays, and then I read it after. This one dealt with really interesting topics like humanity’s reliance on technology and where that will lead us in the future, so I was pretty into it.
What was your favorite book in 2017? Did we read any of the same ones? How many are you hoping to read in 2018? And finally, are we friends on Goodreads yet?
P.S. If you’re looking for more book lists, I’ve got you covered.