Last year I shared a list of books I had read and enjoyed. I mentioned that I set a goal of reading one book per week. This works for me, especially since I am in three book clubs. I also mentioned I keep track of the books I’ve read using Goodreads, which also allows me to set a yearly reading challenge for myself. I read a total of 62 books in 2017 and thought I would share some of my favorites and not so favorites. I would love for you to share some of your picks as well! Comment below!
These recommendations are my opinion. Some of the books I enjoyed did not go over well with members of my book clubs. As with most things, we all have different tastes, but I hope you find a new favorite!
I prefer to read fiction, especially historical fiction, as you will notice in the lists below.
Great Books (in no particular order):
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: The story of a member of the Russian nobility sentenced to live the rest of his life inside a hotel after the Russian revolution.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: A beautifully written story of four college friends and their lifelong impact on each other.
The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly: this is not the usual WWII book as it follows three women and their different experiences during the war.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult: fictional story with three perspectives on white supremacy and how it affects the character’s lives.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: A well-to-do neighborhood, the families that inhabit it and how they have different views about an event.
News of the World by Paulette Jiles: Texas in late 1880’s, one man travels from town to town reading the news. He agrees to take a small child, who was rescued from the Indians, back to her only living relatives.
Beartown by Frederik Backman: By the author of A Man Called Ove. My favorite quote from this book: “Culture is as much about what we encourage as what we permit.” If the #MeToo movement affects you, check out this book.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry along with The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce: Two great stories, written as companion books, about two seemingly ordinary people and the affect one incident has had on their lives.
Good Books (in no particular order):
The Pearl that Broke its Shell by Nadia Hashimi: Story of a woman in Afghanistan in early 1900s and her great-niece in 2007.
Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: the journey of escaped slaves in 1880’s. Not for the squeamish.
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance: I honestly did not like this book but it really made me think and see things from a different perspective.
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline: Fictional story of the woman depicted in Andrew Wyeth’s painting, Christina’s World.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin: If we knew the date of our death would we live life in a way that avoids or fulfills that knowledge?
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer: A small British Isle during WWII and how they survived German occupation.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: Fictional story based on actual events in 1930s when a woman in Tennessee kidnapped children of, what she considered, unfit families to sell to the wealthy.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn: fictionalized story based on a true network of female spies in France during WWI and WWII.
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick: A widower discovers a charm bracelet that belonged to his wife that he had never seen before and, as he traces the origin of the charms, he learns about his late wife.
Books not to bother with (in no particular order):
First Women by Kate Andersen Brower: Anecdotal stories written in the style of People magazine about the previous 10 First Ladies with a bias towards Republicans.
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict: focus on Albert’s wife but I really did not like the writing or the characters.
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware: Predictable mystery with unlikable characters.
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt: Weird story about Lizzie Borden and the murder of her parents.
The Identicals by Elin Hiderbrand: good beach read but, once again, unlikable characters placed in a very predictable story.
We are heading out to California for a couple weeks and I will be doing my best to use up all the food in my fridge before we leave. I will be relying on some tried and true recipes and will be back in a few weeks with something new!