Books read in 2017: my favorites

Y’all already know I love books. I love my library, too. Our library — and used library book sales (just $1 each!) — have been the source of most of this year’s reading.

I like using goodreads to keep up with everything I’ve read and to maintain my big ol’ ongoing to-read list. I can pull it up on my phone at the library and wander on down the aisles hunting by author name. You can see a list of everything I read in 2017, but in this post I’m narrowed them down to just 10 of my favorite reads of the year. It was SO HARD to choose!

I read 75 books this year. I lean heavily towards historical fiction, but I also enjoy a good memoir (though those seem hard to find), and modern fiction. Sci-fi, thrillers, and young adult aren’t typically my thing but I make exceptions because a truly good book is a truly good book. If I read non-fiction, it’s usually because I feel I should rather than because I’m excited about it.

My favorite reads of 2017

A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman

The cliche about “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry…” is 100% true in this one. Featuring the crankiest character you’ll ever love. I had to talk 17 year old Kathryn into reading this one, but once she did, she loved it.

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

Heartbreaking, no doubt about it, but an engrossing story with believable characters. Reviews seem to be love it or hate it but this one will stay with me a long time. I hid it my room when I was close to the last chapter because I knew I’d ugly cry. Consider yourself warned.

Beach Music – Pat Conroy

I hold Pat Conroy largely responsible for my longtime desire to live on the Carolina coast; now that I do, at least part of why I love it is because I get to feel like I’m walking around inside one of his novels.

This book took me a long time to read, simply because I wanted to savor every word. Pat Conroy tells beautiful stories with characters I end up feeling like I know in real life. In many novels, that makes me want to speed through to find out what happens, but Conroy’s words are woven together so delightfully I find myself re-reading sentences just because I love the way the words feel bumping around in my head.

The Islander – Cynthia Rylant

Sweet story about a boy growing up on an island with his grandfather. Aimed at a younger audience but just as enjoyable as an adult. A fast read that would make a really lovely read-aloud.

To Dance with the White Dog – Terry Kay

In the early 1990’s, author Terry Kay came and spoke to my college literature class to speak about writing, and he told us a touching story about his own family. That story that became this novel, which at that time was being made into a Hallmark movie. I went out to get the book immediately. Somewhere along the way I lost my copy of the book but borrowed it from the library to read again and I love it just as much as I did 20-some odd years ago.

The Blue Sword – Robin McKinley

Although considered YA fiction, this is a good book, period, regardless of classification. As a 40-something adult I enjoyed this as much as my 16 year old daughter. Highly recommended.

Love Walked In – Marisa de los Santos

A romance story but it was the writing I adored. I suppose all authors love words and the putting-together of words, but sometimes the love is so much more palpable and that shows in this novel. I’m a fast reader, often a skimmer, but I found myself re-reading sentences or paragraphs just because of how well they were put together. I adored the characters as well.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

I like quirky characters but in the first couple of chapters I couldn’t decide if Eleanor was TOO quirky for my liking. As the story went on, her character deepened and she became far more likeable, although still just as quirky, and the reasons for much of the quirkiness emerged, drawing me in even more.

A Year in Provence – Peter Mayle

Because good memoirs seem to hard to come by, I’m bumping one of the other top-tens to put it on my list. Delightful account of the author’s first year after moving to his dream home in Provence.

I’d love to hear your favorites so I can add them to my To Read list. I’d particularly like some good non-fiction recommendations to expand my horizons in 2018.