If you use Goodreads, they do a nice end-of-year summary of the all the books you read in a given year (see my 2017 summary on Goodreads). They provide some fun stats on the books and your reading habits, including how many pages (15,327 for me) and books (50 for me, which was my goal–woohoo!) you read. These numbers don’t reflect the many, many, many picture books I read to the boys. I don’t keep track of that; it would be way too onerous.
That’s close to my 2016 numbers (48 books) and a little lower than my highest reading years. Having kids definitely takes away from my reading time, though nursing the baby have proven to be a bit of an equalizer because it gives me quiet time to read (I have both the Kindle and Nook apps on my phone, which is how I do most of my nursing reading).
If you set a yearly reading goal, Goodreads also let you know throughout the year how well you’re keeping up. It was consistently about 2 books behind schedule. I think that’s because I tend to read several books at one time (a book or two on my phone, perhaps one on another device, and print book). I finished up a couple of reads right at the end of the year to reach my goal.
Now for some notable reads (novels only, but I’m thinking about doing a picture book one as well…stay tuned). Let’s start with YA contemporary. The highly-acclaimed THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas lived up to the hype. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s a brilliant read that is timely and classic at the same time. For me, though, it was the characters that put it over the top. It felt like they were real people. I also loved Karen M. McManus’s ONE OF US IS LYING. Pitched as THE BREAKFAST CLUB meets PRETTY LITTLE LIARS with four unreliable narrators, what else do you need to know to want to read this one? For a super sweet romance, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon hit all the right notes for me.
Of course I read some great fantasy this year as well. SIX OF CROWS and its follow-up CROOKED KINGDOM by Leigh Bardugo were brilliant heist novels set in a dark fantasy world that is super fun to read about but maybe wouldn’t be so fun to live in. JULIA VANISHES by Catherine Egan was another rich fantasy world full of persecuted witches. For an urban, paranormal fantasy, I really enjoyed HEART BLADE by Juliana Spink Mills. This one takes place in a world like ours but with demons and angels, and definitely had crossover appeal to the adult market.
In the historical fiction category, SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys was beautiful and heartbreaking. It follows the tragedy of the refugees fleeing East Prussia at the of WWII and the sinking of the ship Wilhelm Gustloff.
For what might be considered a surprise pick for my favorite read of the year, I chose a non-fiction book: VINCENT AND THEO: THE VAN GOGH BROTHERS by Deborah Heiligman! Okay, maybe this shouldn’t have been a surprise. It’s about my favorite painter and the relationship he had with his brother…I’m a sucker for stories about siblings.
What were your favorite reads of the year?
Tags: book recommendations, book reviews, Books read 2017, Crooked Kingdom, goodreads, Heart Blade, Julia Vanishes, One of Us Is Lying, Salt to the Sea, Six of Crows, The Hate U Give, Theo and Vincent, When Dimple Met Rishi, YA
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