I've had a hard time coming up with my favorite books from 2017. I read some really great books in 2017. As always, it's hard to narrow it down to just a small number, especially when there are so many genres, writing styles, and great authors. But, there are always books that stand out, stay with you, or that you HAVE to talk about. So, even though it is a bit late in the month, I have finally come up with a list of favorites to share with you.
Without further ado, my favorite books of 2017 are listed below. Not all of these were published in 2017, but instead, ones that I can't stop thinking or talking about with other book lovers.
Favorite Book Published in 2017
BEAR TOWN by Fredrik Backman
I wrote about it HERE. Hands down, my favorite read from 2017. I can not wait for the sequel, US AGAINST YOU to come out this summer. I now want to read all of Backman's books and hope to do so this year!
Favorite Historical Fiction
THE ORPHAN'S TALE by Pam Jenoff
I wrote about this book, HERE. This was a difficult choice, but I really loved it and found it to be a unique story about WWII that I had never heard about. The two women in this story stuck with me for a very long time.
A MOTHER'S RECKONING by Sue Klebold
I wrote about this book, HERE. Even though this wasn't published in 2017, I STILL can't stop thinking about it. Sue Klebold is no different from me or my other mom friends. The way the media portrayed the shootings at Columbine and what this mother went through in the day, weeks, months, and years after broke my heart and made me rethink my own parenting, my own view of the media, and made me look at my close circle of friends differently. I truly believe this is a MUST READ.
Favorite Children's Book
DUCK AND HIPPO IN THE RAINSTORM by Jonathan London
I wrote about this book, HERE. This sweet story of friendship will brighten anyone's day. I love the muted color scheme, the illustrations, and most of all, the story between Duck and Hippo. They are two unlikely friends who stop at nothing to help each other and brighten each other's days. This is a series and I also reviewed the second book, HERE.
Favorite Middle-Grade/YA Book
I WILL ALWAYS WRITE BACK by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda
I wrote about this book, HERE. This also wasn't published in 2017, but I read about it and knew I had to read it. It was such an inspiring true story and I am still talking and thinking about it. One simple act of generosity changed the lives of two people in such a powerful way.
FREDDY THE FROGCASTER AND THE FLASH FLOOD by Janice Dean
I wrote about this book HERE. One book in a series that shares important safety information in a way that isn't scary or full of sadness.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S WISE WORDS by K.M. Kostyal
I wrote about this book, HERE. I am a sucker for these types of books. I loved the quotes and then ways to live by those quotes. This book is perfect for classrooms or dinner table discussions.
A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman
I wrote about this book, HERE. I know I already mentioned a Fredrik Backman book, but I read BEAR TOWN first and then knew I HAD to read A MAN CALLED OVE because I was so enamored with Backman's writing. I ended up listening to A MAN CALLED OVE on audio and was not disappointed. I truly loved this story of a cranky, sad, lonely man who decides to kill himself. Fortunately, too many things keep happening to stop him from going through with it. I highly recommend this book!
BENEATH A SCARLET SKY by Mark T. Sullivan
I wrote about this book, HERE. This fascinating story of WWII set in Italy was also a new look at that travesties that happened during the war. The fact that is was based on a real person and what really happened to him made it all the more heart-breaking. It's a story I won't forget. The rights have been released for this to be made into a movie. I hope it happens soon.
OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck
I wrote about this book, HERE. This was a re-read for me, but it hit me differently this time through. I taught this to freshman and I think when you are reading it slowly and then having regular discussions about what friendship means and what George and Lennie were going through, the story hits you differently. It's a classic and one I would recommend again and again. The movie version is also very well done.
SISTERS FIRST by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush
I wrote about this book, HERE. I listened to it on audio and then bought the hardcover for our friends that have twin daughters. I really enjoyed listening to the stories of the girls growing up as well as how their lives are different today.
OPTION B by Sheryl Sandberg
I wrote about this book, HERE. This was another audio and even though it deals with the unexpected death of the author's husband, I still found it to be hopeful, inspiring, and thought-provoking.
THE BRIGHT HOUR by Nina Riggs
I wrote about this book, HERE. Another audiobook and again, another difficult topic. The author is diagnosed with breast cancer, at the same time as her mom, and does not survive even when in the beginning they told her this was "nothing". But, what stood out to me was the beautiful prose and uplifting moments Riggs shared. When she wrote about her children and the legacy she wanted for them, I was overcome with emotion. I just recently found out that Riggs spouse is now in a relationship with the spouse of the author of WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR (another really great read from this year). This news made me so happy for them.
My Thoughts on My Year of Reading
This list doesn't mean I didn't like the rest of the 100+ books I read last year. There wasn't a single book I didn't like. There was only one book I did not finish and that was because my library digital loan ran out and I am back on the waiting list to continue reading it. I didn't give a single book less than three stars. So, to me, that's a good reading year!
I found it interesting that I read more children's books (60%) than adult books (40%). But, I can read children's/middle grade/YA books a lot quicker and I was running a regular review of those books every week which forced me to read them. I read more female authors (70%) than male authors (30%) which actually surprised me. I had no idea the ratio was that far apart. I'm not surprised that I read more non-fiction (55%) than fiction (45%). I have been loving all the non-fiction books lately. I have one going all the time.
I'm so glad I took a leap of faith (okay, maybe not a leap, but I stepped out of my box) and tried audiobooks. I am in LOVE! The first thing I do when I find a non-fiction book I want to read is look for the audio version. I LOVE LOVE LOVE having an audiobook going all the time. I don't even listen to the radio anymore (sorry local broadcasters) because I always want to listen to my book. I listen while getting ready in the morning, while doing dishes, and while driving. I listened to 14 books on audio this year and I expect that number to grow next year. I still prefer non-fiction on audio, but I am getting better about listing to fiction on audio as well.
If you can think of a fabulous book I should listen to on audio or maybe a book from 2017 that I missed, be sure to let me know in the comments. What was YOUR favorite book from 2017?
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