I read 42 books this year – woohoo! Here I list my top likes and dislikes of the year, as well as some numbers (because I like numbers!). I’ll also share some of my reading plans for 2018.
First, I want to share a list of all 42 books from this year, in the order that I read them. There were a few short story collections, and a sizable collection of Aesop’s fables. Here you go (I also have a page, titled “What I’ve Read”, which is on my menu bar):
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
The Sound of His Horn, by Sarban
Persuasion, by Jane Austen
Treasure Island, by Robert L. Stevenson
The Unholy Trinity: Blocking the Left’s Assault on Life, Marriage, and Gender, by Matt Walsh
Aesop’s Fables, by Aesop
Behind a Mask and Other Short Stories, by Louisa May Alcott
Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton
Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
The Mayor of Casterbridge, by Thomas Hardy
Scythe, by Neal Shusterman
A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, by James De Mille
We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin
The Stranger, by Albert Camus
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, by Mark Twain
The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane
The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë
The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne
Animal Farm, by George Orwell (again)
The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower (book 1), by Stephen King
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe
All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
Far From the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy
Looking Backward, by Edward Bellamy
Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen
Tales of Mystery and Terror, by Edgar Allan Poe (13 short stories)
Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
An Old-Fashioned Girl, by Louisa May Alcott
The Purple Cloud, by M.P. Shiel
The Death of Ivan Ilyich, The Kreutzer Sonata, and Master and Man (short stories), by Leo Tolstoy
Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne
The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
George Silverman’s Explanation, Hunted Down, and Holiday Romance (short stories), by Charles Dickens
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
A Night to Remember, by Walter Lord
In no particular order, my five favorite books of the year (and this was hard to whittle down to five):
- A Night to Remember – the Titanic disaster fascinates me, and this was an excellent account of that fateful night. All of the little stories, as recalled by survivors Lord had interviewed, really add to the book.
- Scythe – I don’t really read much of contemporary Young Adult fiction, but Neal Shusterman is amazing. This book’s premise of what the consequences are of becoming “immortal” brings a lot of interesting and thought-provoking ideas. I look forward to its sequel coming out in early 2018.
- Jane Eyre – I had put off reading this book for several years and had no idea what to expect. I was very pleased with this book and it made for a strong start to this year’s reading. I really liked Jane Eyre’s character, and oooh the dark Mr Rochester! I now want to work my way through all of the Brontë sisters’ writings.
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin – the ending. Holy. Moly. I cried a lot. It was a sad but beautiful book (if that makes sense, or you can understand what I mean by this if you’ve read it).
- An Old-Fashioned Girl – reminiscent of Alcott’s famous Little Women, I loved the sweet and lightheartedness in this novel, and praising the “old-fashioned” virtues of charity, modesty, frugality, and selflessness. It was refreshing and positive.
My five least-favorite books of the year, in no particular order:
- The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger – it was way too vague in plot and background, but not in a “oh gosh, I can’t wait to read more to learn more!”. It didn’t hold my interest because I didn’t really understand what was happening. Also, I’m not a fan of King’s… choice of what details to give? I don’t care much for reading about crotch-scratching, for starters.
- The Stranger – There wasn’t much emotion in the story, and the main character was way too “blah” about everything. Boring.
- The Bell Jar – Plath’s writing style was too scattered for me, and I felt that some details could have been better explained to help better understand what was happening.
- The Haunting of Hill House – for a horror story, there wasn’t much to it for scares, and I couldn’t find a single character to even remotely like. It was a bit of a let-down since I had really enjoyed her short story “The Lottery”.
- The Awakening – boring, boring, boring. And I didn’t like the main character at all.
Last bit on 2017: two numbers. But first, a few quick notes. For Aesop’s Fables, I ended up choosing the year of publication for the specific collection that I had (from 2004), or else it would have been like 500BC. Meh. For short stories, I found all of their original publication years and took their average to create the “year” for the one book containing them.
Average year of publication: 1908
(Oldest was Sense and Sensibility , most recent was The Unholy Trinity )
Average number of days to read a book: 6.6 days
(Shortest was Animal Farm [one afternoon], longest was Uncle Tom’s Cabin [16 days])
So… what do I have in mind for 2018?
- I now have a good number of larger novels in my collection, and I’d like to tackle a few of them (maybe Vanity Fair, Gone with the Wind… yeah, those kinds of big ones); they won’t be quick finish-in-a-week things.
- I want to read some Shakespeare, and I ordered a few “No Fear Shakespeare” (dual old- and contemporary- English) plays.
- History is a subject that fascinates me, but I struggle to remember events, timelines, etc (and military history is very tough for me to understand, despite my interest in watching reenacted battles); I want to read at least one or two history books.
- I need to complete C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy (I read the first two [Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra] a few years ago), and then I have the sequel for Scythe.
I probably won’t do book reviews in batches of five next year; it’ll likely be in threes, especially if it’s the much longer novels.
Did you make/meet reading goals for 2017? Do you have any reading goals for 2018?
I pray that everyone stays safe for New Year’s Eve (I know that a good part of the US is under some very cold temperatures right now), and until next time…