Favorite Books of 2017

Yes, this is a list of twenty-five titles, but that’s only about 10% of my yearly total.
These are the ones that I loved, the ones that stuck with me, the ones that made me think. I might not recommend them all to you in particular (some definitely need the right sort of reader to appreciate them) but they were my favorites for 2017.

Fiction

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Hands-down the book I recommended most often this year. It’s a slower-paced read, but so absorbing with wonderful characters.

Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
Heart-wrenching but such a compelling look at another world and time.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
Beautifully-written historical fiction, with just a hint of a mystery.

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
Poignant but lovely.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Gripping and fast-paced (unlike all the previous ones I’ve mentioned) it’s not high-quality literature, but it’s thought-provoking and intriguing.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Reminded me so much of an Agatha Christie book, and it would make for a very fun book club selection, as there’s enough going on beyond the whodunnit factor, unlike some mysteries.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
Gruesome yes, but I love the characters so I can forgive all as I wait for the next book in the series.

Series Reads

Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny
I love how the characters have developed throughout the series, and the amazing sense of place most of the books have.

Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
Maisie is such an enjoyable character, and the way the series takes place across the years allows Winspear to show so many changes in the world. I can’t wait to see what happens next in it!

Bess Crawford and Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd
Bess is an appealing character, and I’m so sad to be all caught up on the series. Fortunately for me I still have several with Rutledge. I enjoy the setting and time period for both, and following along with the main and secondary characters.

Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch
I might be cheating a bit by listing this for 2017, as most of the series was read in 2016, but I finished it last year, and read all the “extras” (audio freebie, a short story, and some graphic novels). It’s such a fascinating world Aaronovitch has created.

Nonfiction

Memoir(ish)
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
Heart-breaking yet hopeful and encouraging.

Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
I almost felt like I was there with Doerr as he experienced his year in Rome (and I so want to read the book he partially wrote during that year, and I will get to it in 2018)

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
Excellent on audio, with all the humorous asides. Chatty and fun.

Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper
Surprisingly fascinating look at all that goes into modern dictionaries.

Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs by Heather Lende
Heart-warming and it stuck with me long after I would have expected it to be forgotten in the flood of other reads.

Other Nonfiction

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics by Tim Marshall
A fascinating look at the geopolitics behind 10 significant areas of the world.

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff
More motivating than many self-help books that are all about the “bigger faster more hype” because this one was so encouraging about “this is what actually works to get things finished.” I want to re-read it this year when I can take notes (I listened to it the first time).

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
Incredibly encouraging slash terrifying, as I realize the importance of the mindset I’m developing in my kids. And thinking about how can I ensure they all have growth mindsets, because of how essential they are for long-term success and happiness.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Not always completely practical for life as a stay at home mom, but I’m still mulling over how I can put some of these ideas into practice in my life.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong by Eric Barker
Lots of interesting tidbits of info. I do love this sort of book so I was predisposed to enjoy it.

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin
A fascinating look into the four tendencies, and great ideas about how to work with your own tendency, and the tendencies of people around you.

Special Mention

Because when friends write books, it’s impossible to be impartial.

The Yes Effect: Accepting God’s Invitation to Transform the World Around You by Luis Bush with Darcy Wiley
All about the amazing things that can happen when ordinary people say yes to God.

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel
Interesting summary look at various personality typing systems, and how to use them to make improvements in your own life.


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