My favourite books I read this year!
At the beginning of the year last year I set myself a goal to read 40 books, not counting the hundreds of books I read for work. In 2017 I read 40 books, well over my 30 book goal so I figured that it seemed like a safe bet. I made my goal, but it felt trickier than the year before. I read larger books, more classics and more difficult volumes. I enjoyed almost all of what I read (otherwise, what is the point?) but these are my favourites. These are the books that captivated me last year. The books that made me want to reread them almost immediately after finishing (looking at you A Discovery of Witches). What have you been reading lately? Don't forget you can follow along with what I am reading over on Goodreads.
1. A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES BY DEBORAH HARKNESS
I have had this book on my to read list for a while but just never felt like a witch-y story. Then I decided to pick it up and read the entire series in about a week. It, and the accompanying television series, are FANTASTIC. Set in Oxford, France and Massachusetts, this book tells the story of a professor of history, Diana Bishop, who finds a long forgotten manuscript in the Bodeleain library in Oxford. She is subsequently hunted by a number of creatures (daemons, vampires and witches) as she is the only witch who has ever been able to locate the manuscript. I loved the magical element and this was a vampire story that didn't make me gag. It was so captivating that I have been rereading my favourite parts over and over again since I finished. It's making starting anything else a bit difficult. My favourite part is the love story between Matthew and Diana but I also really loved the historical elements, particularly the focus on alchemy. It was interesting learning about something I wouldn't normally be interested in through the context of a story.
2. THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY BY MARY ANN SHAFFER AND ANNIE BARROWS
This story, despite it's unconventional format (it is a story written entirely in letters and other forms of correspondence), was captivating. The letters made you feel like you were a friend who was hearing about all this happening. Set on the island of Guernsey in the channel islands, the book tells the story of a writer who visits the island in order to write about the experiences the residents had during the occupation in World War Two. At times incredibly sad, this book was ultimately very uplifting. I loved reading about the area even more as my Aunt lived on a neighbouring island for a few years.
3. THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO BY PATRICK NESS
This book, set during some undetermined future time in an odd town devoid of women where everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts, tells the story of Todd who discovers a girl and a patch of quiet whilst out walking. From there he is forced out of his home, loses his family and goes on a race for his life. What is really interesting about this book is the way it is set out. The thoughts that the men can hear are written on top of each other in different forms of handwriting, giving the reader an idea of how it must feel to hear so many different thoughts at once.
4. SISTER HEART BY SALLY MORGAN
Ultimately heartbreaking, this is the story of an Indigenous Australian child ripped from her family and taken to a sort of school. It is told entirely in poems that capture the intense feelings of separation and isolation felt by the child. While not the happiest story, it is definitely one worth reading.
5. ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE BY GAIL HONEYMAN
Spoiler alert: Eleanor is NOT fine. Which certainly makes for an interesting read. You feel for Eleanor the whole way through, while never fully understanding her until the twist at the very end. I recommended it to Jenna who, upon arriving at the twist, swore at me in our hotel room in New Zealand and threatened to never take my recommendations again.
6. THE HATE YOU GIVE BY ANGIE THOMAS
Such a powerful narrative and very apt considering the political environment in America. A young adult book, this tells the story of a young African American girl who witnesses her friend being shot and killed by the police. What follows makes her question her choices and where she belongs. A very interesting read, though the message the author wants you to get from the book almost smacks you in the face.
7. QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS BY CASSANDRA CLARE
The final in the trilogy (which is essentially a sequel to the original City of Bones series) this book sums up the story of Julian and Emma and their doomed love affair. I am much more a fan of trilogies than series that drag a story out for thirteen books so I enjoyed how this finished up all the loose ends left by the previous two books. I still love the love story between Julian and Emma best but enjoyed the familiar narrative of racial hate told from a magical viewpoint.
8. LETHAL WHITE BY ROBERT GAILBRAITH
The third (fourth?) in the Cormoran Strike series by J.K. Rowling, written under a pseudonym follows the private detective and his partner Robin into intrigue in the U.K. parliament. Set during a backdrop of the London Olympics, it had many storylines that relate quite well to the current troubles the U.K. government is facing. I enjoyed the drama but naturally wanted more to happen between Robin and Cormoran. I'm a sucker for a love story concealed as something else.
9. LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE BY NANCY MITFORD
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I actually did. It was one my Aunt picked up for me the last time I was in Hobart, stating that I would love it. I went home with around 20 books that trip. This one was the humorous tale of Fanny and the romantic exploits of her relatives. I really liked Fanny as a narrator. You cared for her and her story, even as she was telling the story of others around her.
10. THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL BY PHILIPPA GREGORY
This one took me a while to get into but by around that 1/3 mark I was hooked. It's a fascinating tale with all the intrigue and drama you would expect about a story about King Henry VIII. I hadn't seen the film before reading the book but had heard about it and, of course, I already knew the story. I liked the historical element to this story and got a little addicted to looking up historical costumes on Pinterest for a while there.
Hi! I'm Louise. I am a writer, photographer, traveler, book fanatic and blogger. I love to post about my adventures and the little things I do that make life fun.
MARLEE'S INSTAGRAM: @marleethecat