Friday, December 15, 2017

My Yearly Book & Reading Recap 2017

Welcome to my annual book post-- the time when I recap all that I've read for the year, and I give out awards!  This is the third year and counting that I have read 50 books. Four years ago, I started writing down how many books and which exactly I read, and I read 30 books.  I actually upped the ante, this year, and was hoping to read 60 books. Although I didn't go up in my grand total {this year}, instead, I feel like I blew the goal of 50 to smithereens. Which is fine. Just fine with me.  :0)  It is exciting to think that I have read 180 books in total in 4 years! :)  To check out my reviews and see my reading challenge in total, click here.

On to the awards.... just FYI, I love to read! These award categories are self-created and designed, and based on the types of books I *want* to read. (so important).  If I'm interested in a book, that's either because (a) it's brand new (Not all of these are, FYI),  (b) it's a great story from the get-go, (c) it's simply a fascinating work of nonfiction, (d) it's a quick read, (e) it's heartwarming, or (f) everyone is saying it's awesome and it just is awesome from page one.  So on that note, and with that in mind, aaaaaand without further ado, here they are... my awards for the best books I read this year!

Best Nonfiction Book of the Year:

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Although this isn't new, this is the best book (by far) that I have read in years. I'm giving it the award for best nonfiction because I've read a considerable amount of great fiction this year. But, listen: I have read a lot of mediocre books. Take my advice and drive right past them. You can go straight here and you won't be disappointed or led astray. :)  Louie Zamperini lived an endlessly fascinating life. It's a true story and it will suck you right in.

Best Fiction read of the Year:

Rebecca  by Daphne Du Maurier

I had been wanting to read this classic for a while, and folks, it is a hyped classic for a reason.  It is about the mystery behind a woman's older but new husband: Who was his wife, why and how did she die, and what is Rebecca's role in all of this. (???) The book has a twisty plot, a mysterious but satisfying ending, and it absolutely lives up to its promotion!  I definitely hope to re-read this someday.

Most Readable (Quick Read):

Hillbilly Elegy  by J.D. Vance

I enjoyed this autobiography, and I found it immensely readable and even absorbing.  I could relate, being from the South, and yet I felt like an outsider looking in because I simply wasn't raised this way. (For various reasons).   I loved following his story into the military, into grad school Ivy League, and what he came away with from his roundabout journey to success.  I give it 5 stars because he is able to explain the upward-downward mobility and how many of his peers are trapped by poor, rural education  (and I sincerely agree) do not even glance at the type of lifestyle he ends up leading/living.

Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard 

I almost didn't pick up this memoir, but I bought it in the Spring and fell in love with this sequel to her first book Lunch in Paris.  I'm so glad I gave it a chance: her honesty, humility, and vulnerability are just so relatable, and her recipes do not dash hopes.  She touches on some deep notes of humanity and parenting that are rarely explained with such profound wisdom and truth.

Honorable Mention: Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

I loved this memoir, and I had to mention it.  I unintentionally read it in a day. Wasn't this such a fun year when Gilmore Girls reunion show came out?!  She may not be master of her craft, but Lauren Graham is a GREAT author-- give her a chance. :0)

All in all, this category was a toss-up.

Award for Feel-Good and Heartwarming:

Toss up: between Summer Island by Kristin Hannah and The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella.

I just love books that are absorbing and fun, and both of these fit the bill. I can unconscionably recommend these without reservation. Kinsella can crack me right up. Hannah has a soft and special place in my heart because not only is she a great writer, her novels take place in the Pacific NW where my sister lives - good memories. They both have the skill of writing and wrapping up an amazing, true-to-life story that hooks you from the get-go.  If you're looking for a bit of fun in your reading life, let the others in my list fall to the curb as compared with these!

Best Book of Faith: 

All is Grace by Brennan Manning

I am adding a new category of awards this year, and I hope to keep up with it in the future! This book was stunning. I love love love his unguarded tone. As much as we need wisdom, intelligence, and people who are highly educated and well-spoken (Like Pope Francis), we also need people who are real and profoundly vulnerable.  You see the fruit of the holy spirit in his life and story. (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness... etc.)  These people are the ones who are growing. These people are the ones who have many friends. These are the people who love unapologetically.  I have read other memoirs. Let this one by Brennan Manning take the cake. :)  Buy it now, and love it!

Favorite Book of the Year:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Underrated (I feel, don't you find?), but just so amazingly good! :)  This was a hard choice, and I easily could have gone with something by Nick Hornby or played it safe and said Rebecca again.  I'm choosy and I just think Gaiman is brilliant with ideas, contemporary society, and the mind of children.  He captures the childlike imagination with spotless, imaginative, and memorable prose. He is able to cross between literature for children *and* adults with unique wit (I think it may be that he is British and just so very charming!?), and he creeps me out (as he did in Coraline) without making me feel unsafe or betrayed in any way. Let's put it this way: I don't feel like I'm making a compromise when reading his work.  Rare find, and so gratifying when you're looking for something a little thrilling.

Reading Challenge 2017 (for more info, see this)

A Book You Chose For the Cover ~ Idaho
A Book With a Reputation For Being Unputdownable~ Talking As Fast As I Can
A Book Set Somewhere You've Never Been But Would Like to Visit~ Winter Garden
A Book You've Already Read ~ Hinds' Feet On High Places
A Juicy Memoir~ All is Grace
A Book About Books or Reading~ The Writing Life
A Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid~ Gift From the Sea
A Book You Don't Want to Admit You're Dying to Read~ Seriously, I'm Kidding
A Book in the Backlist of a New Favorite Author~ Truly Madly Guilty
A Book Recommended by Someone With Great Taste~ Crossing to Safety// Winter Garden
A Book You Were Excited to Buy or Borrow But Had Not Read Yet~ Graveyard Book
A Book About a Topic or Subject You Already Love~  Tender at the Bone

books from the "reading for growth" category 
A Newbery Award Winner~ The Giver
A Book of poetry, play or an essay collection~ The View From the Cheap Seats
A Book of any genre that addresses current events~ They Say We Are Infidels
A Book Published before you were born~ Rebecca
A Book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending~ The Graveyard Book
Best Beach read book ~  Summer Island   👍

What I read, and when.... :


Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard

A Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl


Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue

The Hypnotists' Love Story by Liane Moriarty

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier


Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

Roots and Sky by Christie Purifoy

The Revenant by Michael Punke


Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

Talking as Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham


A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself by Judy Blume

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard

The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Best. State. Ever. by Dave Barry 


The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides 

Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres

High Fidelity  by Nick Hornby

About a Boy by Nick Hornby


The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton


Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall

They Say We Are Infidels by Mindy Belz

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks


Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding

Reluctant Pilgrim by Enuma Okoro

All is Grace by Brennan Manning

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Home by Toni Morrison

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson

Bridget Jones' Diary  AND >> Bridget Jones' Baby (!!!!) by Helen Fielding

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Summer Island by Kristin Hannah

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella


Range of Motion by Elizabeth Berg

Possession by A.S. Byatt

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver


Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan{not done yet}

Gift From the Sea -Anne Morrow Lindbergh (reread)

Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard (reread)

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard (re-read!)

reading challenge on goodreads

What I Read 2016
What I Read 2015
What I Read 2014
What I Read 2013

One quick last note, on audiobooks:  I am, by nature not really an auditory learner. I have bad hearing from too many college-days concerts, and I'm often cupping my ears during movies so that I don't miss a line.  I do enjoy the occasional classic on audiobook, (I adore my classic app), but I'm often bored and lost if a book is too slow. I will say I've "read" it and listened to the entire audiobook, but often I end up cheating (skipping some of the book, or the ending, etc) and I just don't like myself if I don't understand a book or didn't finish it because I tried it on audiobook.  I say that because I don't tell you I read a book unless I really actually read and understood the whole book. :)

Linking up with MMD's >> Quick Lit <<  :0)

Have you read any of these books? Any you want to read? Let's chat new books in the comments!


Perfectly Port said...

Wow so many books and many of them I haven't heard of - great recap of the year!!! xoxoERIN

Danielle Siero said...

Wow!! You sure read a lot of books! I love reading, but just can't seem to find the time. Maybe a goal for the new year will be to actually read a few books...

Stephanie of WMMblog said...

Girl, you killed the reading game this year. WOW! I read 58 and may get to 60 before the end of the year :)

Tacy said...

Wow Stephanie! I didn't realize that. You win! :)

Lindsay @ Let Me Give You Some Advice said...

What a list! I'll be looking through it to add some more titles to my own list for next year.

Tacy said...

@ Lindsay- I enjoyed your blog as well! :)

The Sketchy Reader said...

I love The Graveyard Book! Do you have the graphic novel? I enjoyed seeing your book list. Rebecca is always a great choice. I love it, especially since my husband's family is from Cornwall.

I'm linking over from Modern Mrs. Darcy,
Ricki Jill