December 22, 2017

The Best Books I Read in 2017

This year has been a pretty weird year for reading. Until this year, I always felt like I had to finish every book I started but I gave up on a lot of books this year. There were so few books that I actually enjoyed that when I started a book I couldn't get into, I barely gave it a chance. I feel like that's a good thing though because if I'm being honest, there has only ever been one book I've read that I actually enjoyed after a slow start (The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, if you're wondering).

Despite the weird year, I can say that I did read a few books that I really loved. Here's a list of my favorite books I read this year:

1. The Shadow of the Wind, The Prisoner of Heaven, and the Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - I loved every single one of these books. If these had been the only books I read this year, I would have been happy. These books in Ruiz Zafon's series, "The Cemetery of Forgotten Books," are desert island status. I loved each of these books in more than the last and I can't wait to read the next book in the series when it comes out this year! They are so beautifully written (and translated!) and I love how each book dives into the history of a character from the previous book. I couldn't recommend these books enough!

2. Britt Marie was Here and Beartown by Fredrik Backman - Fredrik Backman could write graffiti on a cardboard box and I would read it. This man is brilliant and I love everything he has written. I discovered his books last year when I read "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry" and "A Man Called Ove." I liked "Britt Marie Was Here" but "Beartown" was intense. I loved that book. It was raw and emotional and touched on a very heavy subject, all while delivering exceptional character development in a brilliant plot. If you haven't started reading Backman, cancel your plans through the New Year and go read all of his books.

3. The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows - I discovered Annie Barrows when I read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" last year but I really loved "The Truth According to Us." Set in a small West Virginia town during Prohibition, I was surprised at how much I loved this book. I recommend either of her books because they're both wonderful stories that are beautifully told!

4. The Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French - Murder mysteries aren't a genre that I'm typically drawn to but I've really loved Tana French's books. They're quick reads and I feel like every book I've read is better than the last. Each book in the series is primarily centered around a different detective in the Dublin Murder Squad solving a different murder. The latest I read, "The Secret Place," was my favorite. While I feel like all of the books could desperately use an epilogue, I keep reading them because they're quick page turners!

5. Educating Alice by Alice Steinbach - I normally don't enjoy travel writing but this book was brilliant. Alice Steinbach was a journalist for the Baltimore Sun who spent time traveling the world, learning things...taking a literature course about Jane Austen in the village where she grew up, taking a cooking class at the Ritz in Paris, learning to fold origami in Kyoto...Every chapter brought her story to life and I felt like I was learning these things with her myself. 

Every year, I set a Goodreads challenge. This year, my goal was 55 books but I only managed 41. With a little over a week in the year left, I don't see myself hitting that goal but at least I did manage to read some books I really loved!
What were the best books you read this year?
You can link up with Carolann and me to share! I'm desperate for good recommendations for next year!

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