The 50 Books I Read in 2017

As I reviewed all 50 books I read in 2017, I could connect reoccurring themes. For instance, the theme of wanting to belong was beautifully depicted in Braving the Wilderness, Autobiography of a Face, Leavers, and Born a Crime. Deep and uplifting friendships can be traced through A Little Life, Stephen King’s IT, and Lab Girl.

I find that the more I read, the more of a community I build in my imaginary world of characters and authors. With each book read, I build a collective memory that informs and influences how I experience my reality. This fuels my yearly goal of reading 50 books!

So finally, here’s my list of books read in 2017. If you make it through my list, I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of these books and what your favorite reads were from last year!

    Books I Loved

  1. March is a three-part graphic novel memoir series by Congressman John Lewis. You can buy all three in one set. I started gifting this series as soon as I finished the third book. I think everyone should read it.

  2. March: Book Two
  3. March: Book Three
  4. A Little Life is probably tied with the March series as my favorite for 2017. Unlike March, I don’t feel comfortable gifting it because it was maybe the darkest novel I’ve read. Though this coming-of-age story is an unrelenting tale of pain and suffering, there was also unconditional friendship.
  5. Brené Brown is one of my heros and Braving the Wilderness is a balm to today’s political climate.

  6. Pachinko is a historical family saga about a Korean family living in Japan. It covers four generations and it was so engrossing. Save this one for a cozy rainy weekend. You won’t want to leave your couch.
  7. Lab Girl is a memoir by a scientist. She writes about work, plants, and her friendship with one of her coworkers. It gave me insight into Sugarface’s academic and scientific world. It also inspired me to consider getting another houseplant.

  8. IT was such a fun experience last year! One of the first books I read in 2017, I originally picked up the 1775 paged novel out of curiousity. Shortly after finishing the novel, I made my podcast friends watch the original TV miniseries. We were all unaware that a remake was being released later in 2017. The remake was the first movie I went to see as a resident of North Carolina. It was awesome!
  9. I want everyone I know to read Homegoing so I can have long conversations with them about it. I think this debut novel condensing 300 years of family history into 300 pages was masterfully written. Okay, let’s make it a three-way tie between Homegoing, A Little Life, and the March series. Final answer!
  10. Books I Liked

  11. American Wife is a novel loosely based on Laura Bush’s life.

  12. The Hate U Give is a YA novel centered around the murder of an unarmed black youth by a policeman.
  13. I almost didn’t read Hold Still. It is almost 500 pages and I had just a few days left in the year to finish my reading goal. Luckily, I had a leak in my car tire that needed to be attended to and Hold Still was the only book I had on me to keep me company during the wait. Photographer Sally Mann did not hold back in diving into her family history and laying it out for us. Her writing is whimsical and free-spirited. I googled Mann after devouring her book and stumbled on this interview between her and Ann Patchett.
  14. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body is a raw and powerful memoir by Roxanne Gay about her life as an overweight woman. It’s heartbreaking, especially when she writes so candidly about a violent childhood trauma, a trauma that catapulted her into a troubled relationship with food and her body.
  15. I read Street Car Named Desire for a podcast assignment. I was already a Tennesee Williams fan!
  16. As a World Domination Summit alum, I’m a Chris Guillebeau fan girl. In Born For This, Guillebeau shares case studies on how to find the work best suited for you. I loved the Joy-Money-Flow model he presented in this book.
  17. Trevor Noah’s memoir Born a Crime, sheds light on South Africa’s history of apartheid and what it was like to literally be born a crime.
  18. I Let You Go is a mystery page-turner!

  19. Carry This Book is a cute picture book about what people carry with them in their pockets and bags.
  20. Scratch: Writers, Money, and Art of Making a Living is a collection of essays by celebrated writers centered around making a living around your art.
  21. I listened to Three Wishes as I drove from Texas to North Carolina. It’s hard for me to stay focused listening to audio books but Three Wishes, written by the same author as Big Little Lies, had me entertained and helped me stay awake during the tedious parts of the drive!
  22. It’s Okay to Laugh is a grief memoir told with a touch of humor.

  23. When I was feeling vulnerable and homesick for Texas, my friend Amy recommended I read Brave Enough for comfort. It worked!
  24. One of my new friends in North Carolina lent me Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too. I found it so charming, I bought it for one of my best friends for Christmas.

  25. Option B is a comforting read offering hope to those who are grieving an Option A.

  26. Leavers toggles between the perspective of an immigrant mother and the perpsective of a boy grieving her disappearance.

  27. Conversations with Friends reminded me of the show Friends from College.
  28. A short Stephen King to make up for the long one I read! A Good Marriage is a creepy short read about a not so good marriage.
  29. I like Lauren Graham and thought her first book, Someday, Someday, Maybe was a light and fun read. I related to the struggling creative point of view.
  30. Carrie Fisher’s memoir Wishful Drinking had me laughing out loud a few times.
  31. The Red Parts is a true-crime memoir. The author was just about to release a book of poems about her murdered aunt when over twenty years later, her aunt’s unsolved murder case was reopened.
  32. Personal Development Books

  33. I read Start with Why because I loved Simon Sinek’s TED Talk.
  34. I recommend Refuse to Choose to anyone who struggles with having more than one passion.
  35. Gig Economy: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want provides some practical tips on how to mitigate the trials of being entrenched in the gig economy.
  36. I enjoyed Rich Bitch and liked her realistic and practical approach to money. I recommend this book if you’re looking for an introductory book on personal finance.
  37. The Curated Closet motivated me to pare down my closet. Perfect for moving across statelines!
  38. Rob Bell’s How to be Here is a comforting read if you’re feeling stuck or impatient about your life.
  39. Careergasm reads like a career pep talk from your bestie.
  40. Better than Before is Gretchen Rubin’s study on habits. Her rigid personality really comes through in her writing, but I still enjoyed some of her reporting on the varying approaches to habits depending on aspects of your personality. (I’m an “upholder” according to her!)
  41. Never Split the Difference
  42. She Means Business
  43. Permission Marketing

  44. Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
  45. Books that Disappointed Me

  46. 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl was the last book I read in 2017, picked for its brevity and the fact that it made NPR’s 2016 book list. I was captivated and really felt for the overweight protagonist in this collection of vignettes. It traced Elizabeth’s life from her being an overweight teen to finally losing weight as a professional adult. I thought the writing fell a little flat halfway through the book when she lost the weight, which felt like a deliberate narrative choice, but it sadly lost me as an engaged reader.
  47. I chose Autobiography of a Face, a memoir by Lucy Grealy, who lost half of her face to childhood cancer, after reading Ann Patchett’s memoir about her friendship with Grealy. While I loved Ann Patchett’s memoir, Truth & Beauty, I had a hard time getting into Grealy’s. I hated classifying this well-written memoir as a book that disappointed me because I think had I flipped the order of which I read these two books, I would have really appreciated Autobiography of a Face.

  48. It’s hard for me not to compare similar books even if it’s unfair. I think I would have liked Happiness Like Water had I not been comparing it to The Thing Around Your Neck. The girls of the podcast loved Happiness Like Water!
  49. All Grown Up

  50. Troublemaker
  51. A Life in Parts
  52. The Universe Has Your Back
  53. I’m Judging You

You may also like: 50 Books I Read in 2016 and 50 Books I Read in 2015

Question: What were your favorite reads of 2017? Please share in the comments!