My goal this year was 52 books. I ended up reading…73! Wowzers! According to Goodreads, that was over 22,000 pages. Here they all are:
Please do not take the fact that a book is posted as a recommendation. There are quite a few stinkers on here (and about 25 others that I stopped reading). But here are some highlights and books I *would* recommend (links are to amazon page):
My favorite book of the year:
The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon: Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I’m a sucker for “look at how all these lives intertwine” stories (see: my favorite of all time, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena) and this one did it so well. I was so entranced I tore through it; now I want to go back and savor it.
My other five-star books of the year:
Salt to the Sea Ruta Sepetys Of all the WWII novels I read this year, this was by far my favorite. My mom and dad both read it and liked it as well. Not only did this involve “intertwining lives” but also “found family,” another one of my favorite themes. I challenge you not to be moved by this book.
Homegoing Yaa Gyasi: Each chapter tells the story of a generation of two families. Each chapter could be a stand-alone winner. Each chapter makes you sad when it ends, but then each new chapter draws you in anew. Also, holy crap, I just noticed the cover and got the meaning.
The Thing About Jellyfish Ali Benjamin: Hey, you know how every “great” middle grade book ends with someone dying? In a twist, the girl dies at the beginning! But it’s not all sad. Also winner of “Best Use of Costume” and “I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying Over Best Use of Costume” awards.
All Over but the Shoutin’ Rick Bragg: I know, how have I lived in Alabama all this time and not read this book yet? This is a masters course in fine, fine writing.
Be Frank with Me Julia Claiborne Johnson (Hey, it’s currently on sale for $1.99 Kindle!) I did have this rated as 4 stars, but I had to up it since it met my five-star criteria of “Do I want to recommend this to everyone I know?” About the only thing I like more than “found family” and “intersecting lives” is “believably-precocious kid teaches us all some life lessons, especially a curmudgeonly adult.” Frank checks that box off wonderfully.
Lab Girl Hope Jahren: Fascinating look into what it means to be a scientist (and also plants are cool).
Good As Gone Amy Gentry (Currently Kindle is free with prime!): My favorite suspense/mystery of the year.
Scientist Greater than Einstein Billy Woodward with Joel Shurkin and Debra Gordon: I read this based on the recommendation of the creator of graphfree.com and I’m glad I did: it was FASCINATING. If you’re into science and/or medicine, this is a must-read! (Yes, I wish they would have found at least one female to put on the list, but that doesn’t take away from the amazing tales that are included!)
I’ve set another goal of 52 books for 2017, and I hope to have a bit more stars awarded next year. Here’s wishing you a happy cozy reading year!