Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Favorite {Grown-Up} Reads of 2017

Happy 2018!  I'm still not done with 2017 where I had another great year of reading!  It's far and away my biggest hobby, probably something you've realized if you've been around here awhile!  It's my favorite "me" time, how I unwind, largely how I learn, and how I get to live a tiny bit of a bunch of different lives.

This year I read a lot.  200 books.  That number was helped by rereading the Little House series as well as the two longest series in the Christy Miller & Forever Friends saga - two 12 book series that I could get through a few a day.   Those shorter books certainly helped push me to the 200 mark but I still did a lot of reading, regardless of how short the books were!

Here are my 10 favorites for the year, something I always enjoy looking back at but also agonize over a little!  This post has sat in my drafts longer than it should have, as I tried to narrow it down to 10!  Some were obvious choices, some took more thinking and reviewing of my Goodreads.  I only included new to me reads this year, 62 of the books I read were rereads and since I obviously like those enough to spend time on them again, I didn't include them so my list can be different every year!  Also, most of these came out in 2017 but not all.  My FULL list is here.

Now, in no particular order, my favorite (non-picture book) reads of 2017:

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The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay (previous post
I, as a 30 something adult, read a decent amount of YA.  And I don't feel bad about it.  This was one of my absolute favorites of the year. Nastya is new to school and doesn't speak.  She's overcome some tough stuff.  She "befriends" a boy, Josh, who has had plenty of his own tough stuff in his life.  They actually become friends and things happen, as things always happen.  I hadn't heard of this one until last year and then realized a lot of people with similar tastes had read and enjoyed it!  Fantastic.

A Paris Year: My Day-to-Day Adventures in the Most Romantic City in the World by Janice MacLeod
I'd love to live in Paris for a year, or maybe would have liked to do so pre-kid, in my 20s.  Regardless, I read a decent amount of Paris set books to fulfill that longing.  This one was a follow up to Paris Letters, another favorite of mine.  All told journal style with pictures and paintings.  It's a very pretty book and super easy to get through.  Great for when I have those itches to go to Paris, and much cheaper than a plane ticket!

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (previous post)
I read this mainly because it was pretty highly regarded sci-fi and I've been looking for more books for Matt to read (I am certainly more interested in getting him to read more than he is in reading more).  It took me 50-75 pages to get into the story of  Jason who is transported to an alt world where his life isn't his life.  Once I was IN the pages turned so fast.  I'm very much trying to get Matt to read it.  It surprised me by how much I might like (some) sci-fi. 

Grace, Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy by Emily Ley (previous post)
I've read multiple books in the last year or two in the "simplify your life" genre and this was one of my favorites.  The title says most of it: embracing simplicity and celebrating joy.   Who doesn't want more of that in their life??  Also, this was a super pretty book.  It's on my reread stack for 2018!

Loving my Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What's Right in Front of Me by Alexandra Kuykendall (previous post)
I was struggling with adoption stress last spring (or for the last 6 years) and this was such a great reminder to love my life as it is, even when wishing there was more.  Besides that, also some practical advice for improving our day to day around home, where most of our living takes place.  Another I should reread annually.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (previous post)
This was a surprise 3rd book to a supposed two book series and I fell in love with the first two when rereading them in anticipation of this one.  I love Lara Jean's relationship with her sisters and Dad, how important family is to her, about figuring out what life will be when graduating high school.  The whole series is fantastic but this is the one I first read this year.

The Futures by Anna Pitoniak
One of those books that I think just came at the right time for me this year.  It was just a fun read about a couple living life in New York (another genre I'm a sucker for) in the late 00s and how they navigate life together, their jobs, the city.  I know the New York setting is a draw for me but I really liked the story too.

Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand
Another surprise ending to a series that was supposed to be complete.  I've been reading about the Quinn family every Christmas since 2014 and I loved another peek at their lives.  This was a much better end to their story than last year's Winter Storms.  I finished it on Christmas Eve and it was perfect timing.  I cried.  And started looking at picture of Nantucket, as I usually do after finishing one of her books.  Their drama reminds me of one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies - The Family Stone.  Different problems but same love of family and the complications it can bring.

At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe by Tsh Oxenreider (previous post)  
Spending a year traveling the world with 3 young children sounds tough.  And expensive.  But Tsh showed it doesn't have to be, even though there are plenty of challenges with navigating logistics and emotions.  It inspired me to want to travel the world or least some of it, with Luke.  It dove into what makes a home and home, how you can find "home" across the world.  Just wonderful. 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Another one I read mainly looking for books for Matt but I ended up loving it.  It's the world after a disease wipes out most of the population and how the remaining people navigate what's left.  There are surprising connections made that I didn't figure out until the final pages.  Definitely outside my normal genre but it was just incredible.  Very readable and just so good.

What were the best books YOU read this year?  I LOVE these sorts of lists!  

Favorite {Grown-Up} Reads of 2016
Favorite {Grown-Up} Reads of 2015

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