Well, things came down to the wire like they always do. I religiously track my reading on Goodreads, and at the start of December I was almost four books behind my goal of reading 29 books in 2017. I managed to complete that goal by cramming in four (three novels and a poetry collection) in the last week when I returned home from school. I finished things off on Friday the 29th with Home Fire, the review for which will be up in early 2018.
Next year, I’ll be trying to read 30 books after years of moving up. Unfortunately, I think that’s the highest I’ll ever be able to go—it looks like the 50 Book Challenge is out of reach for me, unless I decide to remove myself from society for a year and do nothing but read.
4/29 were not true books: I fleshed out the count this year with two poetry collections (Faithful and Virtuous Night, which you can read my review of here, and Our Numbered Days) and two graphic novels (By Chance or Providence and Kill or Be Killed Vol. 1).
5/29 weren’t novels. This is a mix of two essay collections (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and How to Ruin Everything), one play (Julius Caesar) and two nonfiction (Generation Kill and A Short History of Nearly Everything).
To see my complete list, you can visit my Goodreads page.
- The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides
Far and away the best book I read this year. I’ve had this book for a while, after picking up the hardcover used for ten dollars when I was still in high school. I put it off for ages because I read the ever popular Virgin Suicides first and didn’t like it. To be completely honest, it’s probably best I put it off until I was older, or else I don’t think I would have enjoyed in nearly as much.
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Have you ever cried while reading descriptions of Albert Einstein’s relatively theory? I have, now. The size of this is quite intimidating, and I probably would have never read it if it hadn’t been given to me as a present. However, Bryson’s prose is elegant and engaging, and it makes even the dullest things (like rocks) interesting.
- Generation Kill by Evan Wright
The Generation Kill TV show is one of my favorites of all time, and after watching the series for maybe the fifth time through I decided to pick up the book. Despite the ugly way it’s published, the book is stellar and I think better than the show. I highly recommend both (Generation Kill can be streamed through HBO Go or Amazon Prime), but the book is insightful and specific in ways the show cannot be.
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
This is the second book of this list to appeal to my pretentious nature. A few years ago I read the Goldfinch and to be honest I was disappointed. However, I’m happy to say this novel, the one that truly put Tartt on the map, was everything I wanted the Goldfinch to be (and more!)
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margarett Atwood
After this year, I’m sure everything that has been said about this novel has been said. Do I like the show more? Maybe. But you would be hard-pressed to find a more timely novel than this one.
Two (Very) Honorable Mentions:
- Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn
- By Chance or Providence by Becky Cloonan