Sunday, December 31, 2017

Best of the Year, 2017

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Already time for the yearly roundup of some of the best reads this year. I always wait until the very last possible moment to post my list; you never know what you'll come across around Christmas! I like to give every book I've read this year a chance to appear on my favourites list, no matter if I read it in the first week of January or the last few days of December. 

I also create a statistical summary each year, mostly for my own geekish pleasure. As I've said before, I don't think of reading as a competition -- I keep track of numbers and various stats for my own interest, not to prove anything or compare myself to anyone. 

Here are my reading stats for 2017:

Total Reading: 157


Female: 138
Male: 18
Both/Neither: 1

Genre etc.

Fiction: 82
Non Fiction: 53
Poetry: 10
Graphic Novels: 8
Short Stories: 4 

In translation: 11

French (Quebecois):3
French (France): 1
Italian: 2
Norwegian: 1
Dutch: 1
Japanese: 1
Hebrew: 1
Turkish: 1 

My Own Books: 38
Library Books: 105

Review Copies: 14

Rereads: 0
E-reads: 2
E-Audio: 5
Author who I read the most fromMary Burchell (7)

2017's Weird Random Stat - Books with a Proper Name in the Title: 15


It's interesting to see that the ratio of fiction to nonfiction is quite different this year -- I've read a lot more nonfic than usual, most of it connected to the textile arts which I've been studying for the last half of the year. 

Once again Mary Burchell comes out on top as the author with the most titles read. This could have something to do with the big score of a stack of vintage Burchells I found while thrifting this summer. 

I read fewer books in translation this year, but they were spread over a much wider range of languages. This is an area to keep working on increasing. 

And I'm kind of happy to see that the number of review copies has been halved since last year. I've been trying to take on less 'necessary' reading, and I do think that finishing up with some library committee work has made a difference here. 

How has your reading year looked?


And now on to some of my favourite titles of the year! I read less fiction this year, and found fewer spectacular reads in those I did read. But there were some standouts which I really enjoyed, either for the style or characters or concepts, and here they are:

Specimen by Irina Kovalyova 
This short story collection was a wonderful discovery; as I said at the time, it felt like a breath of fresh air. The focus on international settings and stories with overt political content, plus the fine writing, made this a hit for me this year.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A classic that I finally read, it was also a really great book on its own -- compelling story and wonderful characters. Glad I finally read it!

Son of A Trickster by Eden Robinson
A 2017 Canadian novel set in BC, this indigenous, magical, blackly funny/sad novel was a standout! And it is only part one of a projected trilogy which I am really looking forward to now.

Come Away by Anne Hines 
This little novel was quite literally a surprise -- I found it on my shelves with no memory of how it got there. Switching between the distant past in Babylon and current day academia gave it a vibrancy I enjoyed.  

Monoculture by F.S. Michaels 
My only nonfic pick on my final list, this simple read covers the idea that we are operating under a monoculture, a 'master story' if you will, that colours everything our civilization does. It's an economic story, and Michaels lays it all out clearly for those new to this discussion, with many examples. Thoughtful and engaging.

The Diviners by Margaret Laurence
Another classic that I finally got to this year, and another outstanding read. I loved this book about Morag Gunn, her past, her present, and her future as represented by her daughter. So good. 

The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby
A YA novel by a Canadian author I've enjoyed in the past, this one dealt with fashion and two high school students trying to get into an elite school via this route. Great characters, love and lust, high style, family dysfunction, drama and more.

The Purple Swamp Hen by Penelope Lively
One of my very favourite writers, Penelope Lively, released this book of short stories this year. I knew I'd read it, and as it turns out I really enjoyed it, and was surprised by some of the edgier content -- a fun collection.

Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto 
Another favourite writer, I picked this one up for August's Women in Translation month. Such a slow moving, thoughtful, book with lots of heartbreak and hope in it. I like her writing style, and her sense of life passing away before our eyes.

The Bone Mother by David Demchuk 
This was a surprise to me -- a horror novel that I loved? Weird! This collection of connected tales was mysterious, magical, dark, evocative -- all the things I love, without being too gory. 

So there you have it. Some of my faves of the year -- hoping I'll be more on my usual reading track next year and able to find more great reads to share.

Happy Reading in 2018!


  1. Happy New Year's Eve! I do love these lists, and other people's reading stats are always so interesting.

    I am reading some early stories by Penelope Lively, because reading The Purple Swamp Hen made me realize I had not appreciated her stories the first time I picked it up.

  2. And to you! I'm glad to see someone else reading and appreciating Penelope Lively. I still have to go back to some of her older stories, but otherwise I've read all her works.

  3. I still have yet to tally up my stats, but am enjoying reading others' end-of-the-year posts right now. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn has long been one of my favorites, too.

    1. I enjoy year ends as well. I'm so glad I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn this year :)

  4. Melwyk,
    I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn a long time ago--I hope to reread it this year! Moshi Moshi sounds terrific. I have read other work by Banana Yoshimoto. Thanks for sharing your stats and your list of favorites.

    I've posted my First Lines post and hope you will stop by. Have a safe and happy New Year's!

    1. Great first lines! Glad that you've done it even with a few missing months -- still so enjoyable to read through the year this way.

  5. Oh, I love A Tree Grows in Brookyn. I want to re-reread it, now. And I have seen Moshi Moshi a few times on different blogs lately. I need to pick that up. Happy New Year!

    1. I think you might like Moshi Moshi. Her sense of melancholy and locality is really interesting.

  6. Happy New Year! Hope 2018 is a great reading year!

    1. And to you too! I hope I'll find some real gems this year.

  7. Oh, isn't A Tree Grows in Brooklyn just wonderful?! And especially for a librarian. (Although Francie's experience with them isn't stellar.) It's a favourite of mine, too, one which I also reread this year. Along with The Diviners, coincidentally. I'm most keen to read Moshi Moshi. She is a favourite writer of mine and I feel like it's been too long since I read one of hers. I hope you have many more lovely reads ahead of you in 2018: enjoy!

    1. Yes, I had some wonderful reads. I can't believe I'd never read The Diviners. Took me a while to get to it but worth it!


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