Best Books of 2017

Best Books of 2017

Hello everyone! I’ve got my Christmas
decorations, I’ve got my Christmas sweater, and I have my second cup of
cocoa that I’ve had today… I’m ready to talk about the best books I read in 2017.
I’ve also had a little bit of a cough and a cold the past week so if my voice
sounds different, that’s why. So as always with my favorite books of the year these
are not necessarily books released in 2017 but the books that I’ve read in
2017 and they are pretty much in order of when I read them. First on the list is
the March graphic novel series by John Lewis. I started this graphic novel
series not too long after the inauguration on January 20th, so they had
extra importance and meaning as I read them in the context of who was getting
inaugurated. This graphic novel series is set in the civil rights era and follows
representative John Lewis as he got into protesting and working with Martin
Luther King JR to promote peaceful resistance. It covers a lot of really
dramatic events and it also ties in scenes of Barack Obama’s inauguration so
it was really beautifully told and the art was really beautiful too and I
recommend this series to anyone and everyone. Next on the list is My
Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. I finally gave into all the hype about
this series and read the first book, and I really enjoyed it. I thought it had a
really great tone and mood to it and I loved learning about the characters’
lives as little kids and growing older and seeing how they changed and how
their relationship changed and I definitely want to continue on with the
series. I also really would love to travel to Italy someday so I enjoyed
reading a book set in Italy. Third on the list is Sherman Alexie’s memoir You
Don’t Have to Say You Love Me and I read this over the summer and I really
enjoyed it. I’ve read most of what Sherman Alexie has written and I love
his writing and his storytelling and this memoir was beautifully written
in a combination of poems and prose that wove together really beautifully. His
memoir focuses on his relationship with his mother, who passed away I think a few
years ago. Next on the list is a very similar book thematically, which is Born
a Crime by Trevor Noah. This is another memoir that also focuses very heavily on
a mother-son relationship and I found a lot of similarities in the two memoirs
about being of a minority race in a country where white people have
infiltrated and decimated the culture and they also both talked about language
and the intersection of white culture versus their own culture. Born a Crime I
listened to on audiobook because it was free on Audible at one point and Trevor
Noah has one of the most beautiful voices that I have ever heard so it was
a really enjoyable listening experience as well. Next on the list is another
comic and that is Monstress Vol 2. This is written by Marjorie M Liu and
illustrated by Sana Takeda and it is seriously the most gorgeous graphic
novel or comics illustration that I have ever seen. It just suits everything I
like about what can be done with visual art. The story is also really interesting
and the characters are all very diverse and there is a lot of female power in
this series. Another one of my favorite books this year are more comics by Kate
Beaton. I read Step Aside Pops this year, which is her
second book in the Hark! A Vagrant collection, and I just really love her
humor and my favorite part of this book was the retelling of Wuthering Heights
and she only made it through, I think, the first half of the book but I can’t wait
to see more because it’s hilarious. Even though Wuthering Heights is my favorite
book of all time I am totally down for any and all
parodies that make fun of it. If you don’t follow Kate Beaton on Twitter you
definitely should because she posts a lot of comics about her family and right
now she’s been posting a lot about her and her sister who has been diagnosed
with cancer, so even though there’s a lot of funny stuff there’s also a lot of
really deep meaning to her work as well. You may notice that so far I haven’t
included any of the big books that I’ve read in 2017 but the next one was one of
them and that is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clark. I absolutely
loved this story and even though it took a long time to get through, it was all
very enjoyable and so worth it at the end. There is a lot of detail to this
world but it makes you feel like you are there and experiencing it and it makes
it feel so real even though it is a fantasy story. I have now seen the
miniseries and really enjoyed that as well. I thought they really did it
justice even though of course the book is better. Next on my list is yet
another graphic novel. This one is Thornhill by Pam Smy and
this is one that I saw at the library and read right around Halloween which
was perfect because it’s a very spooky mysterious tale about two girls living
in different times but are still somehow connected and the story does get a
little dark but I absolutely loved it and I really enjoyed the art as well. And
for my next one on the list is yet another – at least partial – graphic novel
and that is The Marvels by Brian Selznick. When I read one of his books
it’s always in my top books of the year because I absolutely love his art and
just the experience of the story as a whole and this of course is an
absolutely gorgeous cover, and this one is set up a little differently from his
previous two books in this style that go back in the forth between just pictures
and just text. This one is told the first half all pictures,
and then the second half is mostly just text until the very very end when it
gets back to more pictures, and all of his drawings are in graphite which is
one of my personal favorites drawing methods. His stories are also always
connected to the arts in some way, which I love. So I just love everything about
his books. The next book on my list has also made my top favorite books of all
time list and that is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I had a sneaking suspicion
that this would be a new favorite all-time book and it definitely was.
It’s absolutely beautifully written, the first chapter is just so good and
potentially my favorite chapter of all time and I will definitely be rereading
this in the future. For those of you who are familiar with the plot you might
know that Jane Eyre has some similar thematic elements to it and I’m actually
rereading Jane Eyre right now, and I’m really enjoying it and also definitely
picking up on some of those similarities. And the last one on my list is the last
big book that I read this year and that is Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials
series so this has The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife,and The Amber Spyglass,
and it was the first time that I’ve read this series or consumed anything related
to this series, and I really really enjoyed it. My favorite book out of the
three was the first one and then the third one was my second favorite, and I
just loved the originality to the first story and although of course many
elements are taken from previous fantasy stories it still felt like something
that I hadn’t encountered before. I really loved getting
to know Lyra and exploring Oxford with her and then exploring the wider world
as she learns more about it herself. I’ve heard that the BBC is producing a
miniseries of this so I will probably skip watching the movie of The Golden
Compass that’s already out there and just wait for the miniseries because
they will probably, from what I’ve heard, do a better job of representing this
story. So those are all my favorite books that I have read in 2017. I didn’t
mention star ratings because they’re all five star books for me. There are
technically 11 items on the list but the first and last one all have three parts
or three books to them so really I think there’s 15 on the list, which is really
not too bad. Looking back over the course of the year I think it was a really good
reading year. I also just wanted to talk a little bit about my stats for the year
and the reading goals that I had. I had set my book challenge to 50 books which
is a very reachable goal for me, and I actually ended up reading 66 books. I
might finish maybe one or two more by the end of the year but nothing that I
think will show up on my favorites list. And as I’ve mentioned many times my main
reading goal for the year was to read all my big books, and if you saw my last
video you know how many are still left. And I ended up reading 10 big books off
of my shelves which I think is definitely an accomplishment, and I’m
really glad that I took this project on and I’m also really glad that I can
leave it for at least a couple years, and maybe sometime in the distant future
I’ll take another year to finish off all the rest, but for now I’ll be moving on
to other things. One interesting statistic that I found
from my reading this year is that I read zero sci-fi books. All of the others
that I have on my reading spreadsheet I read at least one, if not many more than
that, but no sci-fi. There were a couple sci-fi ish stories in the fantasy
anthology that I read but on its own, no sci-fi, which was interesting. So maybe I
will try to read a little bit more of that in the next couple years. For male
authors versus female authors I read thirty-one male authors and 34 female.
Thirty three of the books were from authors from the United States, three
from Canada, sixteen from the United Kingdom, two from India, three from Japan
which I think is mainly the Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up books
that I read this year and then one or two of several other countries including
Dominican Republic, Norden, Italy, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, and
Russia, and as far as diversity goes for the books themselves it’s broken up into
a few different categories. So there’s race-based, LGBTQIA, mental
illness, author only, where only the author is diverse, #ownvoices,
where it is telling the story of their own people, not including white people of
course, and then none. There’s a couple other categories that I didn’t fit any
of my books into, so 39 books were in the none category where nothing was really
diverse, ten books were race-based diverse, and eleven books were in the
#ownvoices and one or two were in the other categories that I mentioned.
So a total of 32% were diverse under the categories of race or ownvoices which I
think is better than I’ve done before, so that’s how that went. For the original
languages that the books were written in 92% were written in English, one was
translated from Italian, three from Japanese,
one from Russian. My average star rating for the whole year was 4.05 and I read 5.5 books on average every month. The total number of
pages I have read is 21,061, and it will be a few hundred
more than that by the end of the year once I mark Jane Eyre as completed. And
that is an average of fifty eight pages per day. I also did not finish or dnf’d
three books and I would really like to make a video just about books that I
dnf’d on Goodreads. So the spreadsheet that I
used in 2017 was the LetsRead spreadsheet which I will link down below
if you are interested. I don’t think I’ll be using it for 2018 because I will be
doubling my reading goal and I don’t really feel like taking the time to
track it all on the spreadsheet and on Goodreads. I will definitely still track
everything on Goodreads. So that is everything for this video. If you are
interested in learning about my 2018 goals I will link that at the end of the
video. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful reading year, and that you have a
wonderful reading year in 2018. As always, thanks for watching, and I’ll see you
next year!

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  1. I didn't do extensive stats this year, but I think I upped my normal intake of SciFi due to the huge amount of audiobooks I listened to this year.

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