2017 book report

One of my resolutions for 2018 was to correct my lapse in reading. In 2015-2016, I steadily increased the number of books I was reading, meeting my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal each year. For 2017, my goal was 20 books. I failed to meet my goal for the first time in two years. 

For the last two years I've also put together a little recap of my reading activity, an idea I borrowed from my friend Erin at like/want/need. I've always enjoyed doing them, and in the spirit of my 2018 motto, I've decided to dive back into blogging with an easy start - my 2017 Book Report.

Past Book Reports: 2015, 2016

2017 Books.PNG

Seeing these covers laid out like this makes me cringe a little - because a good chunk of these books were audiobooks I have already read! It definitely throws into sharp relief how little reading I did last year. 

  • GOAL: 20 books

  • READ: 16 books

  • BOOKS BOUGHT AT INDIE STORES: 9 - this is the one positive from last year! Almost every physical book I read was purchased at an indie store.

  • FAVORITE: A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Predictable, but dystopias are my favorite genre and it was far and away the best book of the bunch. Honorable mention to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, my second-favorite HP book, and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry (Fredrik Backman).

  • LEAST FAVORITE: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. This was very much NOT a book for me. I read this for a book club I attended one meeting for and quickly realized I was out of my element and that I needed to find a different club.

  • LONGEST: The longest book I "read" (really listened to on audiobook) is an HP book for the second consecutive year - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 759 pages.

  • SHORTEST: An exact tie between What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell and On Love by Alain de Botton - both 194 pages.

  • FUNNIEST: Continuing with my theme of reading mostly sad, dark or serious books, not many funny ones in this bunch. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry is the clear winner here, although I find Half-Blood Prince to be very funny in parts.

  • SADDEST: Honestly don't think I can choose one - a lot of these were quite sad. I guess if forced to choose I would say that The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan would probably be it. I need to balance out some uplifting books...

  • BEST COVER: Not a lot of great covers here. I always love the HP illustrated covers, but my favorite is probably The Association of Small Bombs.

  • WORST COVER: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek - a boring cover for a boring book.

  • MOST OVERRATED: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek again. It astonishes me that this has 4+ stars on Goodreads.

  • READ OFF MODERN LIBRARY TOP 100: 0 - in my last book report, I said I needed to focus on this in 2017. So much for that... at this rate I will finish this list when I am 100.

  • READ FOR BOOK CLUB: 3 - I read the first two books for a book club I stopped attending, and I was able to join a great new club at the end of the year!

  • AUDIOBOOKS: 5 - the last two Harry Potter's and Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy. I genuinely loved listening to these series from my childhood and I miss them now that I've finished. I started on some embarrassingly nerdy and VERY childish series after that - I refuse to put them on Goodreads though...

  • GOAL FOR 2018: I decided to try to keep my same goal (since I didn't finish it last year). I'm already doing much better this year having read 6 books already!

2016 book report

Last year, I got the idea of doing an annual book report from one of my favorite blogs, like want need. It was a nice way to revisit all of the different books I read throughout the year. I realized suddenly that it's already halfway through March and I never posted one for 2016! You can read last year's book report here

This year I tried something different - I had been wanting to reread the Harry Potter books (my favorite books of all time, no shame), but I didn't want to spend my already limited reading time just rereading the same books over and over again. My friend Maggie gave me the idea to listen to audiobooks during my commutes, and that has been awesome. Not only are the Harry Potter audiobooks really well done, it's made my dreary hours in the car so much more enjoyable. The audiobooks are quite expensive if purchased individually, but with an Audible subscription you can get them for much cheaper. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial and get one free book credit *here!

  • GOAL: 16 books - though I see now that when I wrote last year's book post, I thought I'd read 24!

  • READ: 17 books

  • BOOKS BOUGHT AT INDIE STORES: 7 - this is slightly down from last year, which is probably because I started Book of the Month Club as well as threw in some audiobooks

  • FAVORITE: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. A close second was Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

  • LEAST FAVORITE: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. This book wasn't bad, really. It just felt like an attempt to capitalize on all the hype from Gone Girl, and it wasn't nearly as well done.

  • LONGEST: Although I listened to the audiobook instead of reading it, Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix is easily the longest at 870 pages. Next was A Thousand Splendid Suns (372 pages).

  • SHORTEST: The Pearl by John Steinbeck - 96 pages.

  • FUNNIEST: This is one of the reasons I like doing these reviews... not one of these books is really "funny", and most were kind of depressing. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is pretty lighthearted, I guess. Maybe I should read some at least a funny book or two this year...

  • SADDEST: Quite a few sad books in this group, but I think Sophie's Choice is the clear winner here. Runner up would be All at Sea by Decca Aikenhead, a memoir about the aftermath of her partner's drowning death.

  • BEST COVER: I do really love the Harry Potter cover illustrations, but Dark Matter's cover is my favorite out of the new books I got.

  • WORST COVER: I really disliked the covers for both Sophie's Choice and Under the Net.

  • MOST OVERRATED: Definitely The Girl on the Train.

  • READ OFF MODERN LIBRARY TOP 100: 3 - books #94-96. I really didn't read enough of these this year, I need to focus more on that list in 2017.

  • READ FOR BOOK CLUB: Only 4... my book club sadly fell apart last year.

  • BOOKS FROM BOTM CLUB: 2, and I still have a whole pile to get through. I actually stopped ordering them until I can catch up!

  • AUDIOBOOKS: 5, which is quite a few for someone who never enjoyed an audiobook before in her life.

  • GOAL FOR 2017: Trying to keep things reasonable and just adding 1 book per quarter, so 20 books.

* This is an affiliate link, which means that if you sign up for an Audible free trial, I get a small commission. You can cancel at any time and I still get to keep the commission, so I'd love if you signed up! I only recommend products or services that I really love. Thanks for supporting my blog!

2015 book report

One of the most satisfying things I accomplished in 2015 was to fall in love with reading again. I had always been a voracious reader - my parents actually used to punish me as a kid by taking books away - but somehow, particularly during a tough period of my life, I stopped reading almost completely. I decided a few years back that I wanted to read Modern Library's Top 100 Novels, and from 2012-2014 all the reading I did was various attempts at struggling through Ulysses, and that was pretty much it. 

Then, this past year, I realized it made way more sense to start reading from the BOTTOM of the Top 100 list. I also put together a book club with some friends, which provided some great peer pressure to actually finish what I started reading. It really helped me to reintroduce reading back into my life, and I once again have piles of books all over my apartment because my bookcase is too small. 

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 6.42.56 PM.png
  • GOAL: 12 books

  • READ: 12 books! I actually thought I had only finished 11 and was really disappointed, but then I remembered that I read Coming Clean on Kindle at the very beginning of the year, before I really started using Goodreads.

  • BOOKS BOUGHT AT INDIE STORES: 9 - going to local bookstores is one of my favorite things and I willingly shell out money to buy my books there. #hipster

  • FAVORITE: Easily Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman.

  • HATED: The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy. This is supposed to be a "wildly funny" novel, according to descriptions, and the first couple dozen pages involve the main character beating his wife and trying to strangle his kid. Har har. I can't believe this made the Top 100 Novels list; it's awful.

  • LONGEST: Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - 447 pages.

  • SHORTEST: The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain - 116 pages.

  • FUNNIEST: Most of these books were not at all funny, so definitely One More Thing by B.J. Novak, though I wasn't a huge fan of it.

  • SADDEST: Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli, told from a child's point of view during the Holocaust. Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller is a memoir about a childhood spent living with hoarder parents; very sad in a totally different way.

  • BEST COVER: I bought The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman entirely based on the cover, so that's a clear win. Honorable mention to The Postman Always Rings Twice.

  • WORST COVER: The Ginger Man's gross illustration matches its repulsive interior.

  • MOST OVERRATED: I know everyone loves Devil in the White City, but it left me cold, despite being from Chicago and loving the history of the city.

  • READ OFF MODERN LIBRARY TOP 100: 4 - I made it through books #100-97 (I finished #96 a few days into the new year).

  • READ FOR BOOK CLUB: 8

  • GOAL FOR NEXT YEAR: I'm being ambitious and going for 24, double what I finished this year. I'm on track so far!