Books of 2017

What a year! I feel like I've heard the phrase, "The more things change, the more things stay the same" so often but it's never felt as true as it has this year. As much as things feel the same, I feel like 2017 has been a big year.

IMG_6190.jpg
IMG_6207.jpg

I created an Instagram account for books (best decision ever) and started listening to audiobooks. I made space for more creative things - specifically sewing and it is changing my perspective and teaching me to slow down.  And of course, I read some incredible books. I read more than I ever have in a year and finished at 67 books (!!!)

IMG_6189.jpg
IMG_6191.jpg
A7EF5C2C-.jpg
IMG_6193.jpg
9FADD742-.jpg
IMG_6192.jpg
F3AF3095-.jpg
IMG_5566.jpg
06A80846-.jpg
IMG_6199.jpg
009AF7DB-.jpg
IMG_6200.jpg
IMG_6201.jpg

Regardless of how many books you read, I just really value READING. And one book is better than no books! Here's what I read (in order) in 2017:

1. Kira-Kira
2. The Mothers
3. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks
4. We Should All Be Feminists
5. Commonwealth
6. The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress
7. The One-in-a-Million Boy
8. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
9. Small Great Things
10. Brown Girl Dreaming (Audio)
11. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
12. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
13. The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book
14. The Last Days of Night
15. Big Little Lies
16. Columbine
17. Pachinko
18. Divergent
19. Feathers
20. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (Audio)
21. I Found You
22. Insurgent
23. Exit West
24. Allegiant
25. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
26. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between (Audio)
27. The Hate U Give
28. The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun
29. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
30. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
31. In the Woods
32. Crazy Rich Asians
33. Goodbye, Vitamin
34. This Is How It Always Is
35. Behind Her Eyes
36. The History of Bees
37. Live from Cairo
38. Dreamland Burning
39. Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything
40. Stella by Starlight
41. Castle of Water
42. The Address
43. Between the World and Me (Audio)
44. The Graybar Hotel: Stories
45. Hum If You Don't Know the Words
46. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (Audio)
47. The Captain's Daughter
48. Sing, Unburied, Sing
49. White Bodies
50. Stuart Little (Audio)
51. Little Fires Everywhere
52. I Was Anastasia
53. The Alice Network
54. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
55. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
56. Seven Days of Us
57. The Magician's Nephew
58. Oliver Loving
59. The Horse and His Boy
60. A Short History of the Girl Next Door
61. The Room on Rue Amelie
62. Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood (Audio)
63. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
64. The Great Alone
65. Bonfire
66. Delicious!
67. Wild in the Hollow

While I read so many good books, the favorites truly were standouts. My favorites were Castle of Water, Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. These books gave me ALL of the feelings. And when I say all, I mean all. I sat outside Whole Foods sobbing while finishing one of these and it was truly the best. I have had the most fun reading this year and am already eyeing my bookshelves to see what I want to get 2018 started with. I've loved connecting with so many people over a shared love of reading. It's been a hard but beautiful year and I think those are some of the very best kind. 

What was the best book you read this year?!


 

 

#BUJOFORBOOKLOVERS

Maybe it's a millennial thing but I feel like I've been hearing about bullet journals (or #bujos if you're on the internet) for so long now. The idea (in my own words) is that it's a place for all of your lists, goals, and ideas to be in one place. I have friends who are far more artsy than I who use it as a bit of a catch-all. Theirs are full of lists but also memories, photos, and quotes. I loved it but didn't think it was for me - it seemed like a lot to keep up with. 

I started tracking what books I was reading in 2013 and have kept a notebook specifically for my lists since. I knew that I loved tracking bookish things and figured that would be something I could actually keep up with. I followed my friends' lead and bought a leughtturm1917. This is the one I have - I love how bright the yellow is! Now, I had space to track not just what I'd actually read but keep lists and organizers of other things - books I wanted to get through, how many fiction vs. non I've read in a year, etc. I don't feel like there's a ton out there in relation to bookish spreads specifically, so I'm hoping that as more people start using a bullet journal for books, we can all share ideas. 

IMG_6160.jpg
IMG_6161.jpg
IMG_6162.jpg
IMG_6163.jpg

I absolutely love it! All of my bookish things are in one place and it's an excuse for my washi tape addiction. I personally love using felt tip pens. These are my favorite - I love the size small! And the mildliners come in the very best colors. 

I'm learning as I go but I've loved having another creative outlet for all things books. Can't wait to see what you come up with and make sure to use #bujoforbooklovers so we can see! Happy reading and bullet journaling. 

The Short History of the Girl Next Door

From the jacket:

“Matt Wainwright is constantly sabotaged by the overdramatic movie director in his head. He can’t tell his best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her. He implodes on the basketball court, even though no one cares about the JV team. And the only place he feels normal is in Mr. Ellis’s English class, discussing the greatest fart scenes in literature and writing poems about cantankerous candy-cane lumberjacks. If this were a movie, everything would work out perfectly. Tabby would discover that Matt’s madly in love with her, be overcome with emotion, and fall into his arms. Maybe in the rain. But that’s not how it works. Matt watches Tabby get swept away by senior basketball star and all-around great guy Liam Branson. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough, but screwing up and losing her as a friend is even worse. After a tragic accident, Matt finds himself left on the sidelines, spiraling out of control and in danger of losing everything that matters to him. From debut author Jared Reck comes a fiercely funny and heart-wrenching novel about love, longing, and what happens when life as you know it changes in an instant.”

15C9FC8B-.jpg

I went into this book pretty blind, only knowing the inside flap and not having heard of it otherwise. I was immediately drawn in by the snarky and honest voice our narrator has. This book is technically YA and I think that made me love it even more. Reck puts into words the thoughts so many of us have undoubtedly had as an unsure teenager trying to navigate the social norms and despair of high school. I felt like I was living in Matt’s head the entire time which was such as satisfying experience as a reader.

The one caveat I will give to more sensitive readers is that this book uses a LOT of language and if you are not a fan of the F word, this probably won’t be for you. I loved Matt and Tabby enough to overlook it but I do wish the author had been a BIT more sparing with the cursing.

643A0AE1-.jpg

I finished this book with a smile on my face while tears were streaming down. It was sweet and sad and so very brutally honest. I thought Matt was endearing and candid and I was totally drawn into this story. I think some might argue this book is not totally realistic to which I would respond that it’s young adult and I’m okay with that. Even if it might not be the most accurate or lifelike, if it can make me feel something – I’m sold. I was willing to suspend disbelief and this book left me with a LOT of feelings. After reading, I saw this book compared to Looking for Alaska. I will say that I enjoyed this book MUCH more. I can’t wait to pass this along to my friends who teach high schoolers to hear what they think.

I wouldn’t have found this book if it weren’t for Blogging for Books. Thank you for this free copy in exchange for an honest review.

November Wrap Up

Happy December 1st! I can't believe it's already December. I'm so excited for Christmas but feeling a little nostalgic that the year is already ending. I won't lie, my days feel pretty monotonous sometimes, but I look back and see just how good this year has been. Cue all of my sentimental feelings about the end of a calendar year. 

This month I've gotten into a new routine of actually leaving the speech room for lunch. I have a few co-workers who also like to read during their lunch break so it's been nice to have some camaraderie in that. Overall, I finished seven books this month! Two historical fiction, two middle grade, one magical realism, and two contemporary fiction. It was a wonderful month of reading and I'm eager to round out 2017 with some incredible books. 

IMG_5891.jpg

Not pictured are I Was Anastasia (currently being loaned out) and The Alice Network (library book).

I absolutely loved Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance and was so fascinated with I Was Anasastia. If you like magical realism or historical fiction, definitely add them to your list! Many thanks to Flatiron Books, Doubleday Books, Berkley Publishing, and Ruth Emmie Lang for sending books my way! 

What was the best thing you read this month? Anything I should definitely try to read in December? Happy reading everyone!