If you know me, you know that there’s nothing more I love than reading. (Maybe eating. Reading and eating at the same time? Best life.)
I challenged myself to read sixty books this year on Goodreads, and (drum roll please) I’m going to finish! It for real wasn’t easy, thanks to 1) the Goldfinch and 2) getting sidetracked watching Grey’s Anatomy. (Seriously, those both knocked weeks off my challenge.) With four days before the New Year, I have about half a book left to complete.
I’ll be honest: not all of the sixty books were amazing. Some were downright crap (Winter Street, Into the Water) and plenty were just so-so. But overall this was one of the most enjoyable years for me as a reader, and I wanted to share my favorites with you below. (They aren’t in any particular order, as I loved them all equally.)
I’d read the first seven Harry Potter books when they were each released (my brother and I would fight over who got to read it first), but I’d never read them as an adult. When I knew my days as a teacher were numbered, I decided to take advantage of an elementary school media center fully stocked with Harry Potter and reread the whole series. Y’all, I have to say I think they were even better the second time around, and it was amazing to get to read them back-to-back vs. waiting YEARS in between. I noticed so much more nuance and was able to keep track of the stories so much better. Also, I had forgotten how dark these books get, and the fact she trusted young people to have the emotional depth to handle it shows her true genius. I thought I’d never read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but I loved it. Don’t let the fact that it’s a play put you off-it’s super easy to follow. If you’ve been on the fence, trust me and just read it.
HOW had a I not read this until now? I loved Lauren Graham’s novel a few years back, and stumbled upon this at the library. If you loved Gilmore Girls and/or Parenthood, this is a must-read. It was really fun to learn about her career from the beginning and hear that working on Gilmore Girls (both times) was as magical as we’d all hoped it would be. LG is also a hilarious writer and my husband asked me about 10989213 times what I was laughing at when I was snuggled up in bed with this.
Sometimes I love a heavy nonfiction book, and sometimes I’m in the mood for a book that a literary version of my favorite romantic comedy. A little predictable, but I enjoyed every minute. The main character is super lovable and the ending had me misting up with happy tears. If you need an escape, this is your book. (Note: I’m not a fan of the Shopaholic series (too annoying), but I’ve loved Sophie Kinsella’s other novels. Remember Me and the Undomestic Goddess are favorites!)
Another score from my library’s new release section (it’s sort of dangerous for me in there), I can’t recommend this book highly enough. This book was intelligent and thought-provoking while also feeling light and easy to read.
With all of my friends having babies, I’ve become a little obsessed with childbirth and pregnancy. It just seems like something so natural can’t be as hard as Western medicine makes it seem. Women are constantly told that, before doctor’s interventions women died “all the time” in childbirth. Actually? Not so much. Back when the midwife model prevailed, very few women died in childbirth. In the 19th century, medical schools started producing graduates who wanted in on the birth business (despite all being men), and convinced women that midwives had no idea what they were doing. Fun fact? The word “obstetrician” comes from the same Latin root as “obstruct”, meaning to get in the way. The history of Western medicine’s attempt to manage women and childbirth is often cringeworthy, sometimes painful, but entirely fascinating. A great pair with The H-Spot, as I read them back to back.
“If you know that you have enough, then you are truly rich.” (Tao Chapter 33.) This was my favorite book from my yoga teacher training required reading. While it’s the kind of book you read over and over and learn something new each time, its austerity is beautiful and breathtaking. I love pulling lessons from it into my yoga classes.
Y’all, this should have counted for like five books on my Goodreads challenge. At 771 pages, I had to renew it from the library two or three times. (I swear it took me like SIX WEEKS to read. Not a great book for right before bed.) Even so, it may be one of the best books I’ve read-ever. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and devastating and poignant. I can see why it won the Pulitzer, and nothing I say will come close to doing it justice. Incredible.
08 | Eat, Pray, Love
I’ve read MANY books in my lifetime, and this will always hold the #1 spot. People either love or hate this book, and obviously I’m in the former category. I reread it at the beginning of each new year, and every time I find something else that speaks to me that hadn’t before. I underline, make notes, and love knowing what I was thinking as I read it in years past. If you tried it before and weren’t a fan, try it again. (Whatever you do, DON’T tell me that you’ve seen the movie. It barely scratches the surface.)
Now I have to think about what I want my reading challenge for 2018 to be…60 again? 75? 100?
What were your best reads of 2017? I’d love to add them to my to-read list!