Friday, December 29, 2017

Favorite Reads in 2017 - First Book of 2018

I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas had a wonderful day with family and friends.  Our Christmas Day celebrations have been postponed  until New Year's Eve Day due to a Christmas snowstorm (our first in a decade) and, a sick grandchild (ever and cough) and, a sick ME!  I felt like I've been fighting a cold for over 6 weeks but, it finally got the best of me. It seems like a bad sinus infection (chest x-ray was fine), hoping the antibiotics kick in soon.  I'm rarely sick so, hoping this doesn't stick around much longer.  

In 2017,  I read (85) books which I know I shouldn't feel too bad about but, it was the least number of books that I've read in about 15 years. Obviously, retirement doesn't mean one will have more time for books.  I think I hit several books that turned into DNF titles for me and then I took a break hoping to find something that I would love.

In no particular order, here are the books I enjoyed the most this year (links to reviews below):

Here's my complete list of books read.

2017 Books Read

  1. Chocky; John Wyndham - 4/5 (my shelves) - Jan/2017
  2. The Seventh Day; Yu Hua; 3.5/5 (eGalley) - Jan/2017
  3. On Turpentine Lane; Elinor Lipman (eGalley) - 4.5/5 - Jan/2017
  4. The Leisure Seeker; Michael Zadoorian (my shelves) - 5/5 - Jan/2017
  5. The Marriage of Opposites; Alice Hoffman (eGalley-BookGroup pick) - 4/5 -Jan/2017
  6. Second Hand; Michael Zadoorian - (my shelves) 3.5/5 - Jan/2017
  7. Hospital Hill; Katherine Anderson - (library) - 3.5/5 - Jan/2017
  8. The Beautiful Dead; Belinda Bauer - (eGalley) - 3.5/5 - Jan/2017
  9. The Fifth Floor; Julie Oleszek - (library) - 4.5/5 - Feb/2017
  10. Excellent Women; Barbara Pym - (audio & my shelf) - 4/5 -Feb/2017
  11. The Impossible Fortress; Jason Rekuluk - (eGalley) 4/5 - Feb/2017
  12. Is This Tomorrow; Caroline Leavitt - (audio) - 4/5 Feb/2017
  13. Setting Free the Kites; Alex George - (arc) - 4/5 Feb/2017
  14. Being Mortal; Atul Gawande (book group) NF - 4.5/5 - Feb/2017
  15. Hillbilly Elegy; J.D. Vance - NF (audio) - 4/5 - Feb/2017
  16. How To Be a Bigger Bunny; Florence & Wendell Minor (print) - Feb/2017
  17. Behind Closed Doors; B.A. Paris (audio & eGalley) - 4/5 - 2/2017
  18. Everything Happens Today; Jess Browner - (arc) - 4.5/5 - 2/2017
  19. Agnes; Peter Stamm - (arc) - 4/5 - 2/2017
  20. Among the Lesser Gods; Margo Catts - (arc) - 4.5/5 - March/2017
  21. First Women; Kate Anderson Brower - (audio) - 3.5/5 - March/2017
  22. The Residence; Kate Anderson Brower (audio) - 4/5 - March/2017
  23. What I Know For Sure; Oprah Winfrey (NF) (Audio) - 5/5 - March/2017
  24. Books for Living; Will Schwalbe (NF) (audio) - 5/5 - March/2017
  25. Every Living Thing; Cynthia Ryland - (my shelves) - 4.5/5 - March/2017
  26. Ill Will; Dan Chaon (eGalley) - 4/5 - March/2017
  27. All the Stars in the Heavens; A. Trigiani (library) - 2/5 - March/2017
  28. The Widowmaker; Paul Dorion (audio) - 4/5 March/2017
  29. The Futures; Anna Pitoniak (arc) - 4/5 March/2017
  30. Green Pants; Kenneth Kraegel (my shelves) 5/5 March/2017
  31. Rain; Sam Usher (my shelves) 5/5 March/2017
  32. How To Be Human; Paula Cocozaza - 3.5/5 - April/2017
  33. The Inner Life of Cats; Thomas Macnamee - 4.5/5 - April/2017
  34. Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty; Ramona Ausubel - April/2017
  35. Born A Crime; Trevor Noah (NF) - (audio) 5/5 - April/2017
  36. White Fur; Jardine Libaire - (ARC) - 5/5 - April/2017
  37. Strays: A Lost Cat, a Homeless Man, and Their Journey Across America; Britt Collins - 4.5/5 - April/2017
  38. Everything I Never Told You; Celeste Ng - (audio) (book group) - 4.5/5 - April/2017
  39. Dark Flood Rises; Margaret Drabble - library - 4.5/5 - April/2017
  40. The Hideaway; Lauren Denton - (arc) - 4/5 April/2017
  41. The Fall of Lisa Bellow; Susan Perabow (audio) 3.5/5 - May/2017
  42. Anything is Possible; Elizabeth Strout (eGalley) - 4.5/5 - May/2017
  43. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit; Michael Finkle - (audio) - 4/5 May/2017
  44. Her Every Fear; Peter Swanson (audio) - 3.5/5 - May/2017
  45. My Very Own Space; Pippa Goodhart - 3/5 - May/2017
  46. The Ocean at the End of the Lane; Neil Gaiman (book group/library) - 4/5 - May/2017
  47. The Book of Polly; Kathy Hepinstall (library) - 4/5 - May/2017
  48. Woman No. 17; Edan Lepucki - (arc) 4/5 - May/2017
  49. Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions ; C. Adichie - (library) - 5/5 - May/2017
  50. Miss Rumphius; Barbara Cooney - 5/5 (library) - June/2017
  51. The Stars are Fire; Anita Shreve - 4.5/5 (eGalley) - June/2017
  52. The Breakdown; B.A. Paris - 4.5/5 (arc) - June/2017
  53. We Should All Be Feminists; C. Adichie (NF) - 4.5/5 (library) June/2017
  54. Dead Wake; Erik Larson (NF) - 4/5 (book group) June/2017
  55. The Yellow Wallpaper; Charlotte Perkins Gilman - 4.5/5 (eBook) June/2017
  56. Everybody's Son; Thrity Umrigar - 4.5/5 - June/2017
  57. Beautiful Animals; Lawrence Osborne - 4/5 (arc) June-2017
  58. The Leavers; Lisa Ko - 4/5 (library) July-2017
  59. The Lying Game; Ruth Ware - 4/5 - (eGalley) - July-2017
  60. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine; Gail Honeyman - 5/5 (audio) - July-2017
  61. The Best of Us: a memoir; Joyce Maynard - (eGalley) - 5/5 - July/2017
  62. Sea Change; Robert Parker - (audio) 2/5 - July/2017
  63. The Summer That Made Us; Robyn Carr - (eGalley) - 4/5 - July/2017
  64. I'll Take You There; Wally Lamb (arc) - 2/5 - July/2017
  65. Orhan's Inheritance; Aline Ohanesian (library-book group read) - 4/5 (August/2017)
  66. Papa: My Story; David Ortiz - 4/5 (library) (August/2017)
  67. Grief Cottage; Gail Godwin - 4.5/5 (eGalley) (August/2017)
  68. A Stranger in the House; Shari Lapena - 4/5 (audio) (August/2017)
  69. The Lauras; Sara Taylor - 4/5 (arc) (August/2017)
  70. Home going; Yaa Gyasi (reread-book group) 4.5/5 August/2017
  71. Before, During and After; Richard Bausch (ARC) 4/5 (Sept/2017
  72. Little Fires Everywhere; Celeste Ng (eGalley) 5/5 (Sept/2017)
  73. Death of a Busybody; George Bellairs - 4/5 (eGalley) Sept/2017
  74. The Old Man; Thomas Perry (audio) 4.5/5 - Sept/2017
  75. Almost Sisters; Joshilyn Jackson (audio) 3.5/5 (Sept/2017)
  76. The Deep Dark Descending; Allen Eskens - 4/5 (eGalley) Oct/2017
  77. Never Coming Back; Alison McGhee - (arc) 3.5/5 (Oct./2017)
  78. Camino Island; John Grisham (audio) 3.5/5 (October/2017)
  79. The Muralist; B.A. Shapiro - 4.5/5 book group (October)
  80. The Music Shop; Rachel Joyce - 4.5/5 (eGalley) (October/2017
  81. Ties; Domenico Starnone - 5/5 (library) November/2017
  82. Unraveling Oliver; Liz Nugent -  4.5/5 (library) November/2017
  83. Midwinter Break; Bernard MacLaverty; 4/5 (library) Nov/2017
  84. The Heart's Invisible Furies; John Boyne - 4.5/5 (eGalley)- Dec/2017
  85. Small Blessings; Martha Woodroof - 4/5 - (my shelves) - Dec/2017

My First Book for 2018


  1. Eleanor Oliphant is on my TBR shelf waiting for me so I'm glad to see it on your favorites list! I hope you feel better soon, Diane. I'm on my second go-round with this cold/sinus thing. Hoping not to need a second round of prescription meds. I hope you enjoy the Bohjalian. Happy New Year!

    1. Mary, I think you would really like Eleanor Oliphant, the audio is very good.

  2. We Have Little Fires Everywhere in common this year. I added Ties to my list after reading your review... hadn't heard of it before. Happy New Year, Diane.

    1. JoAnn, Little Fires seems to be making everyones faves list or TBR lists. I loved Ties and know you will as it's reminiscent of books written by Eleana Ferrante.

      Happy New Year to you as well.

  3. Miss Rumphius used to be part of our reading curriculum for third grade. (But I thought it was a little boring.) I hope you're feeling better soon! xo

    1. Oh sorry to hear that, I thought it was such a sweet and beautifully illustrated read.

  4. Sorry to hear you and your grandchild are sick and hope you're both better soon.

    I'm working on my list of favorites of the year and I see that I didn't read that many memorable books. Several of your favorites will be on my list too.

    1. I had a lot of just okay reads this year as well Kathy. This sinus infection is just lingering it seems. Happy New Year.

  5. I found your First Book for 2018 very absorbing.

  6. I hope you feel better soon. It looks like you had a great reading year. Little Fires was high on my short list this year. Have a very Happy New Year and enjoy your Christmas celebrations!

  7. I am SO glad that you read and liked The Leisure Seeker. It was one of my top books from a few years ago. And did you know that it was turned into a movie, starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland? It's coming out early next year.

    1. Yes, I can't wait to too The Leisure Seeker movie - great cast too. Happy New Year.

  8. I am sorry to hear you aren't feeling well; I hope the drugs kick in soon! I want Eleanor Oliphant to be one of my early 2018 books as I keep hearing such good things about it. I just read Born and Crime and found it really interesting.

    1. Thanks Helen. This sinus thing is lasting it seems. I think you would really like Eleanor Elephant, the audio is very good. Have a happy New Year.

  9. I sure hope normal and better show up soon.

  10. Diane, I hope you and the little one feel better soon! Thanks for sharing your favorite books of 2017. I hope to read more in 2018, so I will keep your choices in mind. Have a terrific New Year's!

    1. Thanks Susan, Hoping you New years brings you much happiness.

  11. Oh no, sorry to hear you've been sick and had to postpone the celebrations. Hope you get well soon and that everyone in your household also gets well so that you guys can welcome the New Year happy & healthy! Great job on finishing 85 books read. I have some of your favorites on my TBR list.

    1. I'm still not feeling great but we will get together tomorrow to celebrate for a few hours. Happy New Years, Iliana.

  12. Diane,
    To quote my mother's saying, "I do hope you're enjoying ill health."
    By that she meant, "I hope you're not sick enough to suffer, but just sick enough to enjoy the opportunity to dive deep into books without the guilt of things left undone."
    Thanks for listing your reads for the entire year. Your first of 2018 intrigues me lots. I should be doing a TBR thing come Jan. 1st, but must look into this one.

    1. Judith -- Lol

      Have a Happy & Healthy 2018 and may many great books cross your path.

  13. First of all, I feel your pain with regards to fighting col/flu--3 out of 5 in our family were down and out for Xmas, and only now are feeling on the mend. Again, it feels like I was sick for most of December--rotten bug! Hope you and your family are also on the mend and can enjoy what's left of the holidays!

    Now, 85 is about 20 more books than I average, so kudos to you! I also loved Books for Living. Happy New Year--may your 2018 be filled with excellent books, time to read them, and good health to enjoy friends, family, and retirement!

    1. Jane, sorry you were sick as well. The doctor said most everyone they see lately seems to have something sinus related. I finished my meds today but, can't say I'm al that much better.

  14. Little Fires is on everyone's list, including my own, which posts tomorrow.
    I may pitch Eleanor Oliphant for next year's book club list. Everyone has good things to say about it.

    1. I think your book group would enjoy, Eleanor Elephant, the audio is very good as well.

  15. I've seen Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine on a number of these yearly wrap up posts - definitely a title to check out then.

    Happy reading in 2018!

    1. Jade, Hope your 2018 brings you much happiness (and great books).

  16. Sorry you've been ill, Diane! Hope you are better now, but it seems everyone we know has been sick or is getting sick. Also hope you have a happy new year tomorrow! I've not read any of your favorite books this year, but I do have LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE on my list as well as THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT. And, I'm back to blogging tomorrow. :-)

    1. Thanks Kay, and it's nice to see you posting again. I've been a so so blogger this year. Happy New Year

  17. I was sorry to hear your Christmas was postponed, but I do hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow with your family, Diane. I ended up being sick for Christmas too. I hope you are feeling much better. It sounds like you read some great books! I want to read Little Fires Everywhere soon. Chris Bohjalian's new book sounds really good! I hope you enjoy it, Diane! I am reading Wicked City by Beatriz Williams at the moment and enjoying it.

    Have a Happy New Year, Diane!

    1. Wendy, sorry to hear you were sick as well over Christmas. I hope you and your family have a wonderful New Year.

  18. So sorry you weren't feeling well, hope everyone is fine and enjoying a great celebration together. Books For Living was my only NF for the year.

    1. We were able to have a nice post holiday celebration after all.

  19. Looks like a great bunch of books. Happy reading in 2018!

  20. Happy New Year Diane! I hope you are fully recovered. Thanks for your list and favorites. I always enjoy those. Well, I guess all readers do. Best wishes for your reading in 2018. It has been my experience that retirement does not necessarily lead to more books read, but I am determined to change that this year!

    1. Judy, yes, thank you I am feeling better and returned to yoga yesterday - that felt good. Happy reading.

  21. So many great books on your list!

    1. My faves were enjoyable read, but, I also read many just so-so books in 2017 - hope that doesn't happen this year.

  22. I hope you're feeling better by now. My mom and my husband both had terrible colds in early December, but I managed to escape the crud. Lots of hand washing and taking Airborne daily must be the trick, at least for me.

    I think you had a pretty good year, compared to my measly 28! :) I really enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, too. I'm adding Ties, Books for Living, The Leisure Seeker (just read it will be a movie!), Little Fires Everywhere, and The Best of Us to my TBR list. I have a feeling if I do this with everyone's Best of 2017, I'll have a huge list from which to read! By the way, I loved Mrs. Rumphius and it's one of the few children's books I moved to Oregon. I may have to go reread it this afternoon.

    Fingers crossed you're completely recovered by now.

    1. Glad u avoided getting sick (so far). Hey, you had a reason for not reading as much - a major move, retirement and lots of fun travel. Eleanor Oliphant was a great story and yes, Miss Rumpus - we need more beauty these days. Happy 2018 Les.


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