2017 Reading Recap

It’s been a while – sorry about that!  I had several commitments in November and December that pushed blogging way down on the priority list, but fortunately, I was still able to read a good number of books.  I finished book 100 on November 13, and currently sit at 110….which is probably where I will end up, considering there aren’t many hours left in the year and I really need to clean out some closets.

Just for fun, I took a picture of 110 books to get a visual for how many that actually is, and WHOA! I didn’t read these books (most of my 2017 reads were library loans or kindle versions), but that’s a lot of books to fit in one (poorly staged) picture.

110 books

I thought for this post I would quickly list what I read in November and December, then share my favorite books of 2017.

So, without futher ado…

November  

Home is Where My People Are: The Roads That Lead Us to Where We Belong (Sophie Hudson) – a sweet memoir from a writer who doesn’t take herself too seriously.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Gail Honeyman) – a bit darker than I expected, but I enjoyed this book.

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home (Amber Haines) – my favorite genre to criticize (ha!), I did appreciate this one.

In this Moment (Karen Kingsbury) – the cheese factor is HIGH in this one.

Before We Were Yours (Lisa Wingate) – this one is GREAT! You’ll see it again later in this post.

December

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling) – I finished Harry Potter! And actually liked it! About halfway through book 4, I finally began to appreciate it and by book 5, couldn’t put it down.  As Harry got older, the story got darker and I liked it. What does that say about me? Oh well.

I, Eliza Hamilton (Susan Holloway Scott) – I thought that the fact that it was being told in first person would make it less boring than a biography, but no.

The Identicals (Elin Hilderbrand) – several of the book bloggers I follow are big fans of Hilderbrand. This is the first one I’ve read.  I didn’t really care for it. Not my style.

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy (Sue Klebold) – Sue is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the perpetrators of the Columbine tragedy. This book was heartbreaking and un-put-down-able.

The Things We Wish Were True (Marybeth Mayhew Whalen) – I enjoyed this book, which details the events that in occur in a single neighborhood one summer.  It’s told from the perspective of multiple characters and Whalen brings them all to life.  I’ve liked every one of her books.

And now, my favorites of 2017 (in no particular order, with Amazon’s description):

Before We Were Yours (Lisa Wingate) – BASED ON TRUE EVENTS. “Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge–until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents–but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.”

Free of Me: Why Life is Better When it’s not About You (Sharon Hodde Miller) – “We live in a culture that’s all about self, becoming the best “me” I can be instead of becoming like Jesus. This me-centered message affects every area of our lives–our friendships, our marriages, even our faith–and it breaks each one in different ways. The self-focused life robs our joy, shrinks our souls, and is the reason we never quite break free of insecurity.
In this book, Sharon Hodde Miller invites us into a bigger, Jesus-centered vision–one that restores our freedom and inspires us to live for more.”

American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land (Monica Hesse) – “The arsons started on a cold November midnight and didn’t stop for months. Night after night, the people of Accomack County waited to see which building would burn down next, regarding each other at first with compassion, and later suspicion. Vigilante groups sprang up, patrolling the rural Virginia coast with cameras and camouflage. Volunteer firefighters slept at their stations. The arsonist seemed to target abandoned buildings, but local police were stretched too thin to surveil them all. Accomack was desolate―there were hundreds of abandoned buildings. And by the dozen they were burning.”

When We Were Worthy (Marybeth Mayhew Whalen) – “When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.”

Beartown (Fredrik Backman) – “a poignant charming novel about a forgotten town fractured by scandal and the amateur hockey team that might just change everything”

Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to be Noticed (Sara Hagerty) – “Every heart longs to be seen and understood. Yet most of our lives is unwitnessed. We spend our days working, driving, parenting. We sometimes spend whole seasons feeling unnoticed and unappreciated. So how do we find contentment when we feel so hidden? In Unseen, Sara Hagerty suggests that this is exactly what God intended. He is the only One who truly knows us. He is the only One who understands the value of the unseen in our lives. When this truth seeps into our souls, we realize that only when we hide ourselves in God can we give ourselves to others in true freedom—and know the joy of a deeper relationship with the God who sees us.”

Alive in Him: How Being Embraced by the Love of Christ Changes Everything (Gloria Furman) – “God’s grand plan for the redemption of his creation has been in motion since before time began. The book of Ephesians lays out this glorious vision, revealing what Christ’s redemptive work means for the people of God and showing us how we should live in light of that reality. Alive in Him draws us into the main themes in the book of Ephesians, showing us how the blessings we have received in Christ empower our obedience and love for God.”

Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi)   “Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.
Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.”

No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God (Aimee Byrd) – “Why are so many well-intentioned women falling for poor, even false, theology? The Devil has been effectively targeting women from the beginning, so why are they often left to fend for themselves in so-called women’s ministries?”

The Mothers (Brit Bennett)  “A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community—and the things that ultimately haunt us most. Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition.”

Completely unintentionally, I ended up with 5 fiction and 5 nonfiction on this list.  It makes me wonder if that’s representative of my reading this year. I’m too lazy to check, but my gut says that it isn’t.

And now it’s time to set some goals for 2018 and get a TBR list ready.  Let me know your 2017 favorites in the comments!

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