2017 book list

The 2017 book list:
(favorites marked with an *)

Marrow Island, Alexis M. Smith
The Comet Seekers, Helen Sedgwick
Carry On, Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton
*To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee
The Wonder, Emma Donoghue
*A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman
News of the World, Paulette Jiles
My Antonia, Willa Cather
The Horse Dancer, Jojo Moyes
A Thousand Mornings, Mary Oliver
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert
The Lost Art of Mixing, Erica Bauermeister
One Plus One, Jojo Moyes
The Housemaid's Daughter, Barbara Mutch
My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You She's Sorry, Fredrik Backman
Ship of Brides, Jojo Moyes
*A Country Road, A Tree, Jo Baker
*The Road, Cormac McCarthy
The Fever Tree, Jennifer McVeigh
Suttree, Cormac McCarty
The Moon is Down, John Steinbeck
*A Piece of the World, Christina Baker Kline
Vitamin N, Richard Louv
Caroline: Little House, Revisited, Sarah Miller
*Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate
The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
*Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
*Beartown, Fredrik Backman
*The Alice Network, Kate Quinn
H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald
*Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery (with Claire)
The Poet's Dog, Patricia McLachlan (with Claire)
Little House in Brookfield, Maria D. Wilkes (with Claire)
Little Town at the Crossroads, Maria D. Wilkes (with Claire)
My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George (with Claire)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J.K. Rowling (with Claire)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling (with Claire)
*Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling (with Claire)


It's possible that I look forward to this annual book list post more than any other.  I love the looking back at previous lists and rereading folks' recommendations.  There's something about it that feels tidy and good and comforting, a long list of books read.  All the stories imagined and characters met- it's like I've got this whole new world of experiences to pull from, even if I merely lived vicariously through the words someone else put to paper.

I've come to find I really like Fredrik Backman's style.  I read three of his books this year (after previously having read zero).  He gets to the point but provides plenty of imagery without being too 'flowery', and I find his work generally "quippy", which I quite appreciate as long as it doesn't involve someone being a real asshole.  I also read three books by Jojo Moyes this year, and liked them all, especially The Horse Dancer and The Ship of Brides.  I'd say I see her books as being somewhat light (in a good way), and a sure bet that I will be entertained for a few days and come away glad that I read them (with the exception of Me Before You, which I loved, but it left me sobbing and feeling pretty bare for a couple days, and The Girl You Left Behind, which was definitely a bit heavier than the other books I've read of hers- the fact that it was her writing blended with a historical fiction made it an easy sell for me and it was one of my favorites from last year).  Sometimes a book moves me so much I find I can't start another one for a bit because I need more time to let it really settle in (The Grapes of Wrath, The Snow Child, Poisonwood Bible, All the Light We Cannot See, To the Bright Edge of the World, and How Yoga Works, to name a few).  I can't say I really felt that way about any of the books I read this year, though there certainly were several books that I really loved.  I suppose, actually, that I felt that way after reading The Road, but that may have been more a feeling of being disturbed than generally moved, if that makes sense.  Some I found very intriguing and original even though I wouldn't call them favorites- The Comet Seekers, The Wonder, The God of Small Things.  The Signature of All Things is one that I had tried to read last year and just couldn't get into.  I stuck with it this time and have to say I eventually got hooked in and then lost myself in a world of travel and mosses and sad love stories but it took a solid 100 or so pages to get me feeling like I really cared about what was going on.  From there on, I really loved it- but I feel like to put a little star next to a book I need to not feel so 'meh' about the first 100 pages.

The Road really got to me.  Oooph.  It is so intense and horrific and so unlike the books I usually read.  I felt gutted by it, and yet still it was a favorite, for sure.  I just loved the writing.  It was raw and sparse but somehow just beautiful.  I loved his writing so much that I went and checked out Suttree pretty immediately after but gosh that was different.  I felt like I slogged through that one.  Still, I'm looking forward to reading more Cormac McCarthy.

The Alice Network was right up my alley- historical fiction about strong women in German-occupied France during (mostly) WWII.  Parts of it reminded me of The Nightingale, which was one of my favorites from last year.

Lincoln in the Bardo was such an interesting read.  I've never read anything like it.  It took me a bit to settle in and get a clear picture of what on Earth was going on but once I was in I was so glad I stuck around- it is so entertaining and vividly described.  It is essentially one evening in the life of Abraham Lincoln (the night his son dies) narrated by a whole host of 'ghosts' that are stuck in this purgatory-like existence and are watching the goings on.  I found it to be a really quick read.  It is wild and different and........ well, I liked it a lot.

Braiding Sweetgrass is..... well, it's just gorgeous.  From the book jacket: "...she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers....to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world."  Really, it is just beautiful.  It is science and folklore and indigenous wisdom, and the secret lives of plants all mixed up in this perfect little package.

As you can see- we've entered the world of Harry Potter.  It's a family affair- I read chapters aloud on the evenings papa isn't at the fire department, that way we all know what's going on.  We're about 150 pages into book 4 now, and once we finish it we plan to hold there for a good long while.  No need to rush her little self into too dark a world just yet, I figure.  She can go back and reread the others if she wishes.

And I suppose that's that.  Of course there were nonfiction reads too- mostly about the AIP (autoimmune paleo) diet, general wellness, gardening, homesteading this and that, etc.  Oh there was a beautiful book called Cabin Porn (NOT porn) that was full of gorgeous images of interesting dwellings and stories about the folks who built and lived in them.  Such eye candy.

I started making these lists in 2013 after being inspired by a friend to do so.  If you're interested in reading previous lists, you can follow the links below:


Also, as always, I'd LOVE to hear what your favorites were, and heartily encourage the sharing of book recommendations and reviews.  Cheers!


  1. I always enjoy reading your annual book recap. I posted my favorites on my blog if you care to take a peek. I just added The Alice Network to my to-read list as that sounds like something I will enjoy. I'm currently reading The Perfume Collector and I am loving that one.

    1. thanks, Kelly~
      I did check out your list, thank you for sharing it!

  2. Thank you for sharing your book recommendations from 2017! You are such an avid reader. I'm impressed! You listed My Antonia which I just reread last month. Love that one. I will definitely choose my next book from your list!

    My boys and I also read the first three Harry Potter books in 2017. They really like the illustrated editions so we haven't begun the fourth book yet. I liked your idea about not moving past the fourth book until our kids are a bit older. Just finished reading them the original Pinocchio which they both loved. Maybe Claire would enjoy it, too!

    1. I find that I'm just happier if I've got a good book going~ I love watching movies, but ever since becoming a parent I've found it hard to really fit them in and so escaping into novels is pretty much my main form of entertainment/way to 'decompress'. But gosh, I've been a parent now for almost 8 years, so I'm thinking it's time to work out a way to watch movies from time to time!

      We are about 250 pages into book 4, but will definitely take a good long pause after this one. Our books 1-3 weren't illustrated- I bet they are such fun! And Pinocchio- Mike went to Italy last year and brought back an ornament and a copy of the book for C and they read it together at the beginning of the year. She did like it, very much.

    2. Like you, I've also found it difficult to watch movies the past ten years! In fact, my husband and I often joke about how we haven't seen many movies at all for a decade now. I feel that beginning to change now, however.....!

  3. you read "the moon in down"!! :) i love going through your book lists each year. i've been reading all non fiction lately and i'm really ready to get my hands on some fiction. first, i plan to read "the grapes of wrath" because we recently purchased that one and i have wanted to read it for a very long time. then, i plan to come back to this very list to choose my second :) i have a couple recommendations for you... "the giver" by lois lowry and "the witch of blackbird pond" by elizabeth george speere. they were both books i read and could not put down. also, "a pocket full of rye" by agatha christie... couldn't put that one down either.

    1. yes, I did! (as per your recommendation) I'm looking forward to reading some more Steinbeck, just not sure what I'll pick next. Oh The Grapes of Wrath.......sooooooooooooo good. It's long and maybe a bit slow in parts, particularly in the beginning, but it just moved me so much and stayed with me for a good long while. His voice + a well-researched historical fiction? yes, please.

      I haven't read any of the ones you mentioned, so I'll definitely add them to my list- thanks!


thanks for taking the time to read and comment~