In 2017, I set a goal to read 50 books over the course of the year and I actually achieved 52! I read an average of one book per week, which is the most I have ever been able to read in my life. I love reading, but with work and different responsibilities, it is always hard to read as much as I would like to. I made 2017 about both living in my community and using my down time (which there was plenty of) to focus on my personal growth. I’m proud of this achievement and overall thrilled that I could read 52 books that have been idling on my “To Read” list for a long time. So, in honor of all of the great literature I have experienced over the past year, I have made a list of my top 10 favorites.
10. Jennifer Ackerman’s The Genius of Birds
Published in 2016, Ackerman’s book describes the intricacies and characteristics of the inner workings of birds. She even makes a compelling argument for why the term “bird brain” is a compliment. I was completely fascinated by her stories of birds and this book even inspired me to purchase the Birds of Peru book and begin birdwatching wherever I go.
9. Niall Ferguson’s Civilization: The West and the Rest
Published in 2011, Niall Ferguson’s work explores how the West became a symbol of dominance in the world. I was particularly interested in his account of the demise of the Incans and his explanation of dress in the Andes mountains of Peru, since that is currently where I am living. I have read a lot of books of this kind this year, but I found this one the easiest to read and jam packed with interesting facts.
8. John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men
Published in 1937, this book is a classic. I read it once in high school, but have not revisited it in my maturity but it is something I have wanted to re-read for a long time. I got so much more out of this heartbreaking story this time around and I definitely recommend revisiting this popular work.
7. Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go
Published in 2005, Never Let Me Go is written by 2017’s Novel Laureate in Literature. It is a simple story but has huge emotional depth and is known as one of Ishiguro’s most influential works. It is eerie at times and a complete page turner.
6. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Published in 1813, this is the furthest back I ventured in history to read this year. It is a book I have heard about practically all of my life and never actually read until now. I have to say, I absolutely loved it. It is a romantic story that keeps you hanging by a thread the entire read with the “will they, won’t they” relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. This is a comedic and romantic book that will make you swoon.
5. Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood
Published in 1987, Norwegian Wood is a romantic, and tragic, coming of age story about a college student and his love for a kind of lost soul of a women. This book got me really interested in checking out other works by Murakami and I have a bunch of his works on my reading list for 2018!
4. E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars
Published in 2014, this book surprised me more than any book I read in 2017. It is about a group of very close cousins who go to a family owned estate every summer and fill their times with different adventures. There is a huge twist that I didn’t see coming from a mile away. Oh, it was just so good!
3. Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in 15 Suggestions
Published in 2017 , the book is by far the shortest on my list coming in at just 63 pages. Those 63 pages were packed with a huge punch about how to raise a daughter to be a feminist in 15 suggestions. The suggestions are straightforward, sincere, and powerful. They hit home on all of the biggest points in feminism today and I would recommend this book to every single person I know.
2. Jeffery Eugenide’s Middlesex
Published in 2002, Middlesex is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2003 along with many other prestigious awards and there is a clear reason why. This book is about a young girl who is slowly transition into the boy she knows she really is. It is about living in a traditional family and finding your own identity despite difficulties. I loved this book and I highly recommend it.
1. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
Published in 2006, The Road won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007. It is an apocalyptic, father/son story that talks about survival, relationships, and God. The language is stunning and the story is thrilling, earning it my favorite book that I read in 2017.
I would love to hear what recommendations you have to add to my list for 2018. I made a goal to read 30 books in 2018 and I would love to hear your thoughts!