Reading Round-Up: 2017

Since 2013, I have been keeping a reading log, and have faithfully recorded every book I’ve read. A friend of mine keeps a very detailed log that includes things like dates started and ended, genres, impressions/notes, etc. — but although I like the idea of having all that data, I know myself well enough to know that I would never keep it up. But it’s now been five complete years of keeping my simple log — just title and author — and that’s probably enough to confirm that this will be a life-long habit! (Now if I could add flossing to that, we’d really be talking.)

I also keep track of some very simple statistics. So here are my stats for 2017:

  • Total read: 117
  • Monthly average: 9.5
  • Fiction: 83 (71%)
  • Non-fiction: 34 (29%)
  • New reads: 74 (63%)
  • Re-reads: 43 (37%)

As far as the numbers go this is pretty far down from my high of 216 books (!) in 2013 — but that was before I went back to school or had children, and included a few months of unemployment, so no wonder I was putting up such ridiculous numbers. In 2014 I read 138, in 2015 just 74, and in 2016 a mere 64. So actually I am quite pleased to be up over 100 again. This year is also proportionately high in both non-fiction (compared to other years, that is) and new reads, both of which were very vague goals of mine. So I am quite satisfied.

When I look through my list I can see a few trends. I read several fantasy series start to finish (the nine books of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, and David Eddings’s Belgariad and Mallorean series, which are five books each). I got on an “amusing travelogues” theme, with Bill Bryson and J. Maarten Troost each contributing several books, among others. I’ve blogged extensively about my Lucy Maud Montgomery reading project, and late in the year I read through as much Noel Streatfeild as I could get my hands on. This year I also made an effort to read more by black authors, and while I didn’t read many, I am glad to have read what I did — most notably the poetry of the incomparable Gwedolyn Brooks, and Ralph Ellison’s classic Invisible Man.

Along the way I encountered some wonderful new-to-me authors: Fredrik Backman probably tops that list, along with Graeme Simsion, Graham Greene, Kory Stamper, Ken Jennings, Noel Streatfeild, and Seamus Heaney. I also read some new books by authors I’ve long followed, like Crosstalk by Connie Willis and The Rise and Fall of D. O. D. O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland. In all, 2017 was a very satisfying reading year, and the length of my to-check-out lists at the library makes me hopeful that 2018 will follow in its footsteps.

(If you want to see the list of all the books I read last year, you may find it after the jump. The asterisks denote books I read for the first time.)


  1. Indiscretions of Archie (P. G. Wodehouse)
  2. His Majesty’s Dragon (Naomi Novik)
  3. Throne of Jade (Naomi Novik)
  4. Black Powder War (Naomi Novik)
  5. Empire of Ivory (Naomi Novik)
  6. Victory of Eagles (Naomi Novik)
  7. Tongues of Serpents (Naomi Novik)
  8. Crucible of Gold (Naomi Novik)
  9. Blood of Tyrants (Naomi Novik)
  10. League of Dragons (Naomi Novik) *
  11. The Theatrical Tapes of Leonard Thynn (Adrian Plass)
  12. The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion) *
  13. Do Butlers Burgle Banks? (P. G. Wodehouse)


  1. A Spool of Blue Thread (Anne Tyler) *
  2. The Rosie Effect (Graeme Simsion) *
  3. Grunt: the Curious Science of Humans at War (Mary Roach) *
  4. The Ghosts of Berlin (Brian Ladd)
  5. Tangerine: Poems at 94 (Tangerine Bell) *
  6. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (Laurie R. King) *
  7. Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make it Harder for Blacks to Succeed (Jason Riley) *


  1. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) *
  2. Round Ireland with a Fridge (Tony Hawks) *
  3. The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift on the Equatorial Pacific (J. Maarten Troost) *
  4. The Complete Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi)
  5. On Writing (Stephen King) *
  6. The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, Christian Speaker, aged 45 3/4 (Adrian Plass)
  7. Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer (Chuck Thompson) *
  8. Getting Stoned with Savages (J. Maarten Troost) *
  9. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry (Fredrik Backman) *
  10. Britt-Marie was Here (Fredrik Backman) *


  1. The Road to Little Dribbling (Bill Bryson) *
  2. Underground Airlines (Ben H. Winters) *
  3. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union (Michael Chabon) *
  4. No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame (Janet Lansbury) *
  5. The Liturgy of the Ordinary (Tish Harrison Warren) *
  6. Crosstalk (Connie Willis) *
  7. Star Wars: Thrawn (Timothy Zahn) *
  8. Northanger Abbey (Val McDermid) *
  9. About a Boy (Nick Hornby)
  10. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Becky Chambers) *


  1. Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison) *
  2. 11/22/63 (Stephen King) *
  3. Infidel (Ayaan Hirsi Ali) *
  4. NightWatch (Terry Pratchett)
  5. Hillbilly Elegy (J. D. Vance) *
  6. Equal Rites (Terry Pratchett)
  7. Making Money (Terry Pratchett)


  1. A Walk in the Woods (Bill Bryson) *
  2. Pawn of Prophecy (David Eddings)
  3. Queen of Sorcery (David Eddings)
  4. Magician’s Gambit (David Eddings)
  5. Castle of Wizardry (David Eddings)
  6. Parenting Towards the Kingdom (Philip Mamalakis) *
  7. Enchanters’ End Game (David Eddings)
  8. The Illumined Heart (Frederica Mathewes-Green) *
  9. NurtureShock (Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman)
  10. The Undomestic Goddess (Sophie Kinsella) *


  1. Shopaholic to the Rescue (Sophie Kinsella) *
  2. A Blink of the Screen (Terry Pratchett) *
  3. Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
  4. Anne of Avonlea (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
  5. Bleachers (John Grisham) *
  6. Anne of the Island (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
  7. The Wonder (Emma Donoghue) *
  8. Anne of Windy Poplars (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
  9. Anne’s House of Dreams (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
  10. Anne of Ingleside (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
  11. Crocodile on the Sandbank (Elizabeth Peters)
  12. Precious Little Sleep (Alexis Dubief) *
  13. The End of the Affair (Graham Greene) *


  1. Rilla of Ingleside (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
  2. The Chamber (John Grisham) *
  3. Word by Word: the Secret Life of Dictionaries (Kory Stamper) *
  4. Rainbow Valley (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
  5. The Rainmaker (John Grisham) *
  6. Emily of New Moon (Lucy Maud Montgomery) *
  7. Lucy Maud Montgomery: the Gift of Wings (Mary Henley Rubio) *
  8. Emily Climbs (Lucy Maud Montgomery) *
  9. Emily’s Quest (Lucy Maud Montgomery) *
  10. Redwall (Brian Jacques) *


  1. Lost on Planet China (J. Maarten Troost) *
  2. The Road to Yesterday (Lucy Maud Montgomery) *
  3. Maphead (Ken Jennings) *
  4. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild *
  5. The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery *
  6. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield *
  7. Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories by Lucy Maud Montgomery (ed. Rea Wilmshurst) *
  8. Theater Shoes by Noel Streatfeild *
  9. Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfeild *
  10. Magic for Marigold by Lucy Maud Montgomery *
  11. Brainiac by Ken Jennings *
  12. Jane of Lantern Hill by Lucy Maud Montgomery *
  13. Pat of Silver Bush by Lucy Maud Montgomery *
  14. Mistress Pat by Lucy Maud Montgomery *
  15. Chronicles of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery


  1. Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story about Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables (Phil Vischer) *
  2. Guardians of the West (David Eddings)
  3. King of the Murgos (David Eddings)
  4. Demon Lord of Karanda (David Eddings)
  5. Sorceress of Darshiva (David Eddings)
  6. The Seeress of Kell (David Eddings)
  7. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity (Nabeel Qureshi) *
  8. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galla) *


  1. Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit (Andrew Moore) *
  2. Because of Winn-Dixie (Kate DiCamillo) *
  3. Skating Shoes (Noel Streatfeild) *
  4. Party Shoes (Noel Streatfeild) *
  5. Possession (A. S. Byatt)


  1. The Battle for Middle Earth: Tolkien’s Divine Design in The Lord of the Rings (Fleming Rutledge) *
  2. Star Wars: I, Jedi (Michael A. Stackpole)
  3. Selected Poems, 1988-2013 (Seamus Heaney) *
  4. Horoscopes for the Dead (Billy Collins) *
  5. Celebrations (Maya Angelou) *
  6. Selected Poems (Gwendolyn Brooks) *
  7. All My Friends are Dead (Avery Monsen and Jory John) *
  8. The Fellowship of the Ring (J. R. R. Tolkien)
  9. The Two Towers (J. R. R. Tolkien)

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