Out of the 26 books I’ve read this year, there were five that I absolutely loved and gave a coveted five star review to on Goodreads. Not surprisingly four out of my five star reads of 2017 were written by female authors.
Not pictured and it was by far my favourite book of the year is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, which I listened to as an Audio Book. Not only is the story incredibly powerful, but it was beautifully narrated by Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduve. Inspired by the appalling way that slaves were treated in Charleston during the early 19th century and the lives of the Grimke sisters, who fought for the abolition of slavery. The Invention of Wings was very difficult to read at times but definitely worth it.
My second favourite read of 2017 was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman which I really struggled to put down. I absolutely loved the character of Eleanor, she made me both laugh and cry. Raymond, the IT guy who becomes her only friend, utterly restored my faith in the human race. This was such absolute joy to read; I am so impressed that it’s Honeyman’s first novel and that she wrote it while working a full-time job. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
I can’t believe The Paying Guests is the first book I’ve read by Sarah Waters, I’d heard of her, of course, but just hadn’t gotten to any of her previous works. I loved The Paying Guests, set in 1922 South London, it is an absolute gem of historical fiction, Post World War I, times are very much changing in London. Having run out of money, Frances and her Mother are forced to take in lodgers and quite frankly that is when the shit hits the fan.
I do so love a good apocalypse book and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a bloody good one. It almost comes across as a patchwork quilt of peoples experiences in a world destroyed by a virus. It’s only right at the end that you see how everything comes together. Of my five favourites, this is the one that I most want to read again. I feel that I would get even more from it on a second reading.
On a completely different note, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman was both incredibly touching and funny. Ove is the most fabulous of miserable gits, but as is quite often the case, actually has a heart of gold. He is such a wonderful character, just thinking of him now makes me smile.
But, it would be remiss of me not to highlight the fact that I have failed tremendously in my reading goal for this year! Back at the beginning of 2017 I decided that one book per week was perfectly reasonable. You hardly need to be a mathematical genius to work out that 26 is only half of 52. As well as these five wonderful books, there have also been quite a few absolute stinkers and I think I spent too long trying to get into books that I hated, instead of just giving them up as a bad job and starting something new.
But I’m not one to be beaten, so I’ve added those missing 26 books onto my target for next year. Which excites me greatly, I get to read 78 books next year. Did you hit your reading challenge for this year and what’s your magic number for next year?