Book Review: The End of the World Running Club
My 2017 Reading Experiences

My Year in Books: the 2017 Edition

This is the fourth year I've put together a list of all of the books I read. I don't always manage to write a blog post about every book (although it's my goal every year!) but I do keep a list of everything I read. 

I use these lists a lot at the library. Sometimes I have to write an annotation and revisiting my thoughts on a book helps quite a bit with that. Sometimes I remember the plot of a book but not a title, and the yearly lists are an easier way to find the title.

Sometimes I just like to remind myself of what I've read!

2017 capture

I didn't read as much in 2017 as I usually do. I think this is because I've spent too much time putzing around on social media. In fact, "spend less time putzing around on social media" is one of my goals this year. I'm not sure if this is an attribute of or a contributor to my depression last year; I do know it's mostly a waste of time. Here's to more reading in 2018! (links to the reviews I wrote)

The Bees by Laline Paull. A dystopia set in a bee colony. A little bit Watership Down, a little bit Daughters of the North. Perfectly strange!

Blackacre by Monica Yoon. "A life is not this supple." These words literally kept me going when I was in my darkest part of the year. 

The Book of Joan by Lidia YuknavitchI both loved and did not love this end-of-the-world retelling of the story of Joan of Arc. Clever and moving but also frustratingly vague on some of the ending details. 

Bright Dead Things: Poems by Ada Limon. This book of poetry, along with Blackacre, got me through my Narnia Winter. Click HERE to read one of my favorites (as if this big/dangerous animal is also a part of me).

The Broken Earth Trilogy books 1 and 2 (The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate) by N. K. Jemisin. These are the books I read in Hawaii. I will write about them when I finish the third book, The Stone Sky, which I bought myself for Christmas. I will say this: I LOVE N. K. JEMISIN. Such great fantasy!

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks, a Librarian’s Love Letters and Break Up Notes to the Books in Her Life by Annie Spence. This is seriously hilarious, which is high praise coming from someone who is rarely amused, and I think all librarians and/or book lovers will also love it. But especially librarians! These are actual letters addressed to different books. 

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller. This was my choice for the library's February book club meeting in 2017. This is the Fuller's memoir of her childhood growing up as a white person in central Africa. I learned quite a bit about Africa that I didn't clearly understand before, as well as gained a better understanding of racism's impact upon individuals.

The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker. Man tries to run across England, which has been devastated by asteroids. Another 2017 favorite.

Gem and Dixie by Sara Zarr. Sadly, didn't love this young adult novel by one of my favorite young adult writers. It was fine, but not amazing like Zarr's novels usually are. 

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow. A YA novel that helped me understand some parts of my adolescence experience a little bit better. 

Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast. I used to get really annoyed at people who wrote or talked about how much they love New York. Now that I've been there (twice!) I am starting to get it more. I still don't want to live in New York, but I completely understand its appeal. Plus, I almost automatically love anything by Roz Chast; her illustrations are just so good.  

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. This post-apocalyptic novel felt like a cross between The Martian and Station Eleven. It was lonely and haunting and cold and beautiful and I loved it. 

Grendel's Guide to Love and War by A. E. Kaplan. An entire novel I read on my cell phone. I hate reading digital books so that's how much I loved this retelling of Beowulf.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. This was a re-read for me and dare I confess I liked it perhaps even more the second time? Since I knew how the book ended, I could see how the structure came together more clearly. 

House of Names by Colm Toibin. A telling of the death of Iphigenia at her father's hand and of her mother's revenge. So, so good. Reimaginings of Greek legends are one of my favorite speculative fiction subgenres. I read this in the car on our drive to Seattle in May (we went to Hawaii via Seattle), my first trip to that city, which I loved and would like to return to. 

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay. A book I liked so much I wrote two separate blog posts about it!

It by Stephen King. When I started seeing previews for the movie, I started wanting to re-read the book. But I resisted because it is 1,000+ pages long. But after I saw the movie I couldn't resist; I went out and bought myself a copy and read it during October; I finished it while passing out candy on Halloween. It took up a ton of my reading time. I still intend on blogging about this reading experience. 

The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron. I loved the pre-history part of this novel but the thread set in current times was less satisfying (and, honestly, a little bit frustrating!). Girl still sneaks into my thoughts now and then. 

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney. Probably my favorite novel I read this year. 

Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding. Essays about resisting, obviously. A wide swath of writerly ideas about how we can survive trump's presidency. 

Poetry Will Save Your Life by Jill Bialosky. I swear I wrote a review of this book, but I can't find it anywhere. It's a memoir/poetry anthology, in which the author writes about how different poems changed her life. I loved it because poetry! but I also felt a little bit disappointed by it, as I wanted her to go deeper into how the poems actually saved her life.

The Promise of Shadows by Justina IrelandA half-human, half-harpy girl must save herself from Hades' realm. Not exactly a retelling of a myth, but a story set in the Greek mythological kingdoms. 

The Reader by Stephanie Chee. A YA fantasy about a world where books aren't invented yet, except for the secret (and very powerful) one in the protagonist's back pack. I had a great time reading this, but then later this fall when the sequel came out, I had no desire to read it. Thus reinforcing my idea that reading trilogies before they're finished just isn't for me. Also: I sat in a little restaurant eating breakfast all by myself and reading this book on the first day that all of my kids were back at school and Kendell was back at work after recuperating from (another) heart surgery. So it's deeply associated with a deep sense of peaceful solitude mixed with guilt over feeling so happy to be by myself for a little while and, you know. Scrambled eggs and avocado toast. 

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I willingly broke my "no unfinished trilogies" for this book. Let's just say I'll break almost any rule to read Laini Taylor's writing! This one did not disappoint!

This Must be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell. Rapidly becoming one of my favorite writers, Maggie O'Farrell can't seem to write a book I don't love. To prove it: I generally detest novels about movie stars, but I loved this one, despite it being about a movie star. Also: I just ordered her memoir, I Am, I Am, I Am, even though it's not out yet in the U.S. It's OK. I love British editions!

Warcross by Marie Lu. I read this for work. I don't really love books about video games, and this is a book about video games, so maybe I was pre-conditioned to not love it. I had to skim the video-game parts as they are just so boring to me. And I guessed the twist at the end about halfway through. But, I think that teenagers will love this book. Which is perfect because they are the target audience! A mix of The Hunger Games and Ready Player One. I liked Lu's previous trilogy, Legend, and the voice here reminded me quite a bit of that early series. 

We Are OK by Nina LaCour. When I finished writing my review of this young-adult novel I thought I would never really think about the book again. But it has actually stuck with me in surprising ways. 

Women Who Read Are Dangerous by Stefan BollmanAn art history book with paintings of women reading. This is my favorite way to learn about art history, a thematic approach that introduces a wide variety of paintings and artists. I read the library's copy of this book (I actually requested that the library buy it!) but I will be getting my own copy. It's lovely. 

Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks by Gavin Aung Than. The other graphic-novel-esque book I read this year (Going into Town was the other), this book is a collection of illustrated quotes. It was instrumental in helping me start to blog again, especially the illustration of the Neil Gaiman quote: make good art. It reminded me that I do have a perspective to share, a thing that might be art and might not be art, but is still my voice against the silence of eternity. 

What did you read and love in 2017?



Only one crossover with my list - and that was from 2016 when I read (and loved) The Bees. So many books in the world, too little time!


Every year I post some of my favorites on FB so here's what I posted today:
Some of my favorite reads in 2017:
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright
The Last Witness by Glenn Meade
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth
A Man called Ove by Frederick Backman
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Caroline: Little House Revisited by Sarah Miller
Nobody Don't Love Nobody by Stacey Bess
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
And a couple of thrillers just for fun:
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
Say Nothing by Brad Parks


LOVE Salt to the Sea! I read A Man Called Ove in 2016 and loved it, too. (Ove is my husbands twin. Grumpy but he builds my bookshelves.) I checked out Caroline and will check it out again and actually read it. Ditto The Women in the Castle!



Typepad HTML Email

The comments to this entry are closed.