I love rainy, dreary days. I do. I love waking up and being barely able to discern if the sun has risen or not. I love the sound of errant raindrops hitting window panes. Each passing car kicking up puddles turns up the corners of my lips. Nashville has been far too sunny and dry for my tastes. I want getting enough Vitamin D to be a challenge, not a given. I dread sunny days because I feel guilty for not wanting to go outside. I’m so quick to take beautiful days for granted here. When the sun is out, all I want to do is lay in the rays and fry my skin. My wrinkles will not thank me later for our time in Tennessee.
It is rainy days such as this I long to be under a fluffy blanket, Emily Kitty within petting reach, hot cup of tea out of reach (that I will quickly forget about once it’s a reasonable temperature to drink), and reading a book. Transporting my mind elsewhere.
I had set a goal of reading 40 books in 2016. Within the last three months, I adjusted my goal to 30 books. I may hit the 30 book book by the grace of the pregnancy books I’ve been devouring. I’m also slightly ashamed to report about ten of the the thirty completed books are from a salacious series, inspired and executive-ly produced by the author of Gossip Girl. It was a dark time. At least I was reading something?
2017 will be different. I have crowd-sourced “best book read in 2016” from those I am connected with on Facebook. From the recommendations, I have compiled a list of ~30 books. I was shocked at how few people only gave me their ONE best book of 2016. A few people split them up into genres, which is a bit more forgivable. I was also baffled by how many people declined to include the author’s name, and nearly fell out of my chair when I was realizing people wrote incorrect book titles. Rude. This list is my best attempt to parse out which books will narrate my 2017.
My favorite part about crowd-sourcing my 2017 reading list is the variety of people whom responded. I often forget how many delicious nooks & crannies my life has already had. I’m hoping to include a post on each book as a review – but perhaps also include a few words about where this recommendation came from. We shall see.
The below list is mostly for my own future reference and is in no particular order, but please, enjoy!
2017 Reading List
Off the Radar: A Father’s Secret, a Mother’s Heroism, and a Son’s Quest by Cyrus Copeland
- Source: Tiffany S.
- Page Count: 368
- Description: A spy story, a mystery, a father-son heartbreaker: Cyrus Copeland seeks the truth about his father, an American executive arrested in Iran for spying at the time of the 1979 hostage crisis, then put on trial for his life in a Revolutionary Court.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
- Source: Grant M. & Jen P.
- Page Count:
- Description: “Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
The Last Girl (The Dominion Trilogy, #1) by Joe Hart
- Source: Kayla H.
- Page Count: 386
- Description: A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than 1 percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
- Source: Brandon R.
- Page Count: 466
- Description: Vilified by his critics as an anti-white demagogue, Malcolm X gave a voice to unheard African-Americans, bringing them pride, hope and fearlessness, and remains an inspirational and controversial figure.
Room by Emma Donoghue
- Source: Stacy S.
- Page Count: 321
- Description: Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) by Joe Abercrombie
- Source: Dohnall G. (Recommended the whole Trilogy)
- Page Count: 517
- Description: Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.
Elric of Melnibone (Elric #1) by Michael Moorcock
- Source: Brian S.
- Page Count: 181
- Description: It is the colour of a bleached skull, his flesh; and the long hair that flows below his shoulders is milk-white. From the tapering, beautiful head stare two slanting eyes, crimson and moody….He is Elric, Emperor of Melnibone, cursed with a keen and cynical intelligence, schooled in the art of sorcery.
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
- Source: Jessica M.
- Page Count: 375
- Description: The Shining Girls is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.
Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich
- Source: Caitlin R.
- Page Count: 290
- Description: Clayton Burroughs comes from a long line of outlaws. For generations, the Burroughs clan has made its home on Bull Mountain in North Georgia, running shine, pot, and meth over six state lines, virtually untouched by the rule of law. To distance himself from his family’s criminal empire, Clayton took the job of sheriff in a neighboring community to keep what peace he can. But when a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms shows up at Clayton’s office with a plan to shut down the mountain, his hidden agenda will pit brother against brother, test loyalties, and could lead Clayton down a path to self-destruction.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
- Source: Julie W.
- Page Count: 336
- Description: Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah’s voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood–the world of the red tent.
The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
- Source: Liz C.
- Page Count: 317
- Description: The New York Times bestselling author of Promise Not to Tell returns with a simmering literary thriller about ghostly secrets, dark choices, and the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters . . . sometimes too unbreakable.
Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
- Source: Philip L.
- Page Count: 89
- Description: Ocean Vuong’s first full-length collection aims straight for the perennial “big”—and very human—subjects of romance, family, memory, grief, war, and melancholia. None of these he allows to overwhelm his spirit or his poems, which demonstrate, through breath and cadence and unrepentant enthrallment, that a gentle palm on a chest can calm the fiercest hungers.
In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi
- Source: Philip L.
- Page Count: 432
- Description: From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author of Backlash, comes In the Darkroom, an astonishing confrontation with the enigma of her father and the larger riddle of identity consuming our age.
The Vegetarian by Kang Han
- Source: Philip L.
- Page Count: 192
- Description: A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.
Passenger (Passenger, #1) by Alexandra Bracken
- Source: Brandi M.
- Page Count: 496
- Description: In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- Source: Holly B.
- Page Count: 352
- Description: From the author of Maybe in Another Life—named a People Magazine pick and a “Best Book of the Summer” by Glamour and USA Today—comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.
My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1) by Elena Ferrante
- Source: Erin V.
- Page Count: 331
- Description: A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.
This Is Where It Ends by Njikamp Marieke
- Source: Nicole V.
- Page Count: 285
- Description: Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival
Mercury Falls (Mercury #1) by Robert Kroese
- Source: Tammy C. (recommended last on in series….but ya gotta start somewhere)
- Page Count: 337
- Description: Years of covering the antics of End Times cults for The Banner, a religious news magazine, have left Christine Temetri not only jaded but seriously questioning her career choice. That is, until she meets Mercury, an anti-establishment angel who’s frittering his time away whipping up batches of Rice Krispy Treats and perfecting his ping-pong backhand instead of doing his job: helping to orchestrate Armageddon.
The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines
- Source: Cassie H.
- Page Count: 208
- Description: The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.
The Hand That Feeds You by A.J. Rich
- Source: Megan K.
- Page Count: 273
- Description: Devastated and traumatised, Morgan tries to locate Bennett’s parents to tell them about their son’s death. Only then does she begin to discover layer after layer of deceit. Bennett is not the man she thought he was. And she is not the only woman now in immense danger.
The Frontiersmen by Allan W. Eckert
- Source: 603brown
- Page Count: 626
- Description: From Eckert’s acclaimed The Winning of America series, this book continues the tale of westward expansion, focusing on the history of the Northwest Territories & the Louisiana Purchase & relating the dramatic events of the Black Hawk War of 1832.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
- Source: Sarah H.
- Page Count: 336
- Description: Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
Commonwealth by Ann Pratchett
- Source: Jessica H.
- Page Count: 322
- Description: Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Source: Dan G. & Carolyn M.
- Page Count: 152
- Decription: In a series of essays, written as a letter to his son, Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black bodies and lives.
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
- Source: Megan K. & Holly B.
- Page Count: 336
- Description: The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
- Source: Chris L. & Kim P.
- Page Count: 374
- Description: In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
- Source: Justin P.
- Page Count: 705
- Description: Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
- Source: Megan M.
- Page Count: 340
- Description: From New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin 10, an equally suspenseful novel from Ruth Ware—this time, set at sea.
The Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba
- Source: Rob S.
- Page Count: 192
- Description: The real way of the warrior is based on compassion, wisdom, fearlessness, and love of nature. So taught the great Morihei Ueshiba (1883–1969), founder of the Japanese martial art of Aikido. Aikido is a disciple Ueshiba called the “Art of Peace.” It offers a nonviolent way to victory in the face of conflict, and he believed that Aikido principles could be applied to all the challenges we face in life—in personal and business relationships, as well as in our interactions with society.
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
- Source: ShanBabe
- Page Count: 244
- Description: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is the deeply personal and revealing narrative of Brownstein’s life in music, from ardent fan to pioneering female guitarist to comedic performer and luminary in the independent rock world.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Source: Kylee H.
- Page Count: 530
- Description: From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Oryx and Cake (MaddAddam, #1) by Margaret Atwood
- Source: Ashlon S.
- Page Count: 400
- Description: Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved.
Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman
- Source: Chris L.
- Page Count: 340
- Description: A mix of amusing anecdotes, opinionated lessons and rants, sprinkled with offbeat gaiety, Paddle Your Own Canoe will not only tickle readers pink but may also rouse them to put down their smart phones, study a few sycamore leaves, and maybe even hand craft (and paddle) their own canoes.
Think that’s enough? I sure as hell do. I cannot promise to finish everyone but dammit, I’m going to try! The page count for a few of these is pretty intimidating. We’re only six days into December but I feel like I should start now!