reading lists, writing life

2017 in Books

Ya’ll have seen that Weight Watchers commercial, right?

*clears throat*

*activates Oprah voice*

I. Love. Books.


I inhale them the same way I do bags of potato chips: whole, and in as few sittings as possible. If I get ahold of a really great book, and it’s 400+ pages, there’s a good chance I’ll get eye strain before I finish.


Dangers of the vocation.

In On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King wrote, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” In order to write well, to develop skill, taste, and writerly abilities, to fill the creative well, writers need, desperately, to read.

I also love book lists, pitting myself against the MOST IMPORTANT NOVELS OF THE 20TH CENTURY, or the BEST KIDS BOOKS OF ALL TIME, and seeing if I can identify FIFTY BOOK COVERS EVEN ENGLISH MAJORS DON’T RECOGNIZE.

I also love book recommendations.

So I thought I’d post a list of the books I read in 2017, as a (moderately) unique way to “define” and reflect on another 365-day twirl around the sun. These are in the order I read them. Italicized books are re-reads. Bold books are recommendations/favorites I would read again.

(NF = nonfiction, SFF = sci-fi/fantasy, YA = young adult, F = fiction)

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo (NF)
  2. A Storm of Swords, George R.R. Martin (SFF)
  3. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame (YA)
  4. The Habit of Being, Flannery O’Connor (NF)
  5. Trigger Warning, Neil Gaiman (SFF)
  6. The Gift of Being Yourself, David G. Benner (NF)
  7. Mr. Palomer, Italo Calvino (F)
  8. The City at World’s End, Edmond Hamilton (SFF)
  9. Iron Council, China Mieville (SFF)
  10. When We Were Orphans, Kazuo Ishiguro (F)
  11. The Eye of the Heron, Ursula K. LeGuin (SFF)
  12. The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft (SFF)
  13. Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (SFF)
  14. Grace (Eventually), Anne Lamott (NF)
  15. Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer (SFF)
  16. Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino (F)
  17. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn (F)
  18. Hero of a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell (NF)
  19. Authority, Jeff VanderMeer (SFF)
  20. Acceptance, Jeff VanderMeer (SFF)
  21. Magic for Beginners, Kelly Link (SFF)
  22. Kindred, Octavia Butler (SFF)
  23. Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather (F)
  24. Cinder, Marissa Meyer (SFF YA)
  25. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (F)
  26. The Sandman, vol. 1, Neil Gaiman (SFF)
  27. Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery (F)
  28. Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi (F)
  29. Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott (NF)
  30. Anne of Avonlea, L.M. Montgomery (F)
  31. Night, Elie Wiesel (NF)
  32. After the Locusts, Denise Ackerman (NF)
  33. One of Ours, Willa Cather (F)
  34. rash, Pete Hautman (SFF YA)
  35. Borne, Jeff VanderMeer (SFF)
  36. More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own, Joshua Becker (NF)
  37. Strange Library, Haruki Murakami (SFF)
  38. IQ84, Haruki Murakami (SFF)
  39. Basho: The Complete Haiku (NF)
  40. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick (SFF)
  41. Mr. Pye, Mervyn Peake (SFF)
  42. Journeys of SImplicity, Philip Harnden (NF)
  43. Titus Groan, Mervyn Peake (SFF)
  44. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis (SFF)
  45. Revelations of Divine Love, Julian of Norwich (NF)
  46. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess (F)
  47. Swann’s Way, Marcel Proust (F)
  48. Entering the Silence, Thomas Merton (NF)
  49. Lud-in-the-Mist, Hope Mirrlees (SFF)
  50. Thrill Me, Benjamin Percy (NF)
  51. Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty (SFF)
  52. Scarlet, Marissa Meyer (SFF YA)
  53. Cress, Marissa Meyer (SFF YA)
  54. Sea of Rust, C. Robert Cargill (SFF)
  55. Fairest, Marissa Meyer (SFF YA)

Not sure I can top the sheer number of books in 2018…

But I’m ready to try.


Happy New Year.

3 thoughts on “2017 in Books”

  1. Just a few quick thoughts on your list:

    I loved The Wind in the Willows!

    I read a bunch of O’Connor stories for a course on the short story. I am eager to read more of her.

    I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read anything by China Mieville

    I’ve read a lot of HPL, but haven’t looked at any annotated versions. That sounds like fun.

    I’ve read some Lamott. She is very encouraging. I think I read Bird by Bird and Traveling Mercies.

    I’ve heard really good things about Octavia Butler. I should definitely read some.

    Reading Fahrenheit 451 was like finding out I had a lost twin brother.

    If I start talking about Sandman, I might sound like a fan boy!

    I KNOW if I start talking about Philip K. Dick I’ll sound like a fan boy.

    I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was a kid and re-read it a few years back. It’s pretty great, but not my favorite in the series.

    Revelations of Divine Love has been something I’ve been meaning to read for years.

    I tried to read A Clockwork Orange, but I had too much trouble with the neologism. Of course, I was barely in High School. I should try again.

    Swann’s Way… Too scared to start such a long work…

    Thomas Merton? I think you’d better start reading some of my work. I think you’d get a kick out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting choices: I like good Science Fiction too – read Annihilation and …Electric Sheep recently. Some thoughts on those on my blog. A Clockwork Orange I really enjoyed, some years ago, the way Burgess plays with language is very clever and adds to the sense of a different world.

    Liked by 1 person

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