Creative,  Reading

2017 In Books

Compared to last year I almost doubled the amount of books I read. And if I count the five or six books that I started but didn’t finish (they are good, I have just been reading them in spurts) my number would be closer to 50.

The year started off good with reading and I dipped into audio books more this year, however I find that I can only really focus on those when I have a big project at work that lets me focus for hours on end. When I’m bouncing between projects or am doing other things that require more brain power like report writing, I can’t really listen to audio books. Reading on the Kindle was my primary means of reading this year but that dropped precipitously when Forest’s bedtime routine was changed at the end of October. I only read one book in the last six or so weeks and that was The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. And I made myself read that because it came up in my digital lending borrows after having been on hold for many months. Sometimes when those holds come up they are something that I had flagged because it was interesting but then it just wasn’t the time to focus on them so I pass them up. This was one I wanted to read and I really enjoyed it!

If you want to go back through my reviews of what I read throughout the year, you can peruse those here. A note on the abandoned books, I have stopped feeling guilty about quitting books because a lot of other people are sharing that they are working on the same thing—life is too short to trudge through a book that is only mediocre (to you) or maybe isn’t meant for that particular moment in time. I may have abandoned a few more than this but I think I deleted them off my Goodreads feed so I couldn’t go back and figure out what they were.

A summary of the reading year will be after the book list.

*denotes that the book was abandoned


  • Ilsa by Madeline L’Engle
  • Euphoria by Lily King
  • The Orphan Mother by Robert Hicks
  • Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend
  • Deep Summer by Gwen Bristow
  • Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
  • Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
  • The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
  • The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
  • Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell
  • Leave Me by Gayle Forman
  • The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
  • The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett


  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Sunshine State by Sarah Gerard*
  • Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle
  • The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
  • This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
  • Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
  • This Life Is In Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone by Melissa Coleman
  • Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher


  • The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
  • Coming of Age at the end of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planted by Julie Dunlap*
  • Appalachian Odyssey by Steve Sherman
  • Finding Everett Ruess by David Roberts
  • On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor
  • Bird Watcher’s Digest Butterflies Backyard Guide by Erin Gettler
  • Along the Appalachian Trail: West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania by Leonard M. Adkins


  • Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway
  • A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future by Benjamin Vogt
  • Companion Planting for the Kitchen Gardener by Allison Greer
  • Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy
  • The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife by Nancy Lawson
  • Paths of Desire: The Passions of a Suburban Gardener by Dominique Browning*
  • Grow Curious by Gayla Trail
  • Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education by Michael Pollan
  • Epic Tomatoes by Craig Lehoullier


  • Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel
  • Unlatched: The Evolution of Breastfeeding and the Making of a Controversy by Jennifer Grayson
  • Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon

Best Fiction Book
Let’s break this down into YA fiction and adult fiction. Best YA Fiction goes to the Code Name Verity series by Elizabeth Wein. Starting with CNV I devoured the subsequent two in the series and really loved the characters and plot. It was a series that I could easily find myself revisiting in the future. As for adult fiction, I want to make it a three way tie with Enchanted Islands, Euphoria, and Ilsa. All three left me wanting more and were so unique and unexpected in their own ways.

Best Memoir
What Happened, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and This Life is in Your Hands round out my top three and almost all are near equal. I would probably say they come in a close 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in that order.

Best Outdoors/Nature
On Trails tops my list of best outdoor writing for the year followed closely by The Stranger in the Woods. I liked Finding Everett Ruess but found myself not liking Ruess himself at all. It would a good read for people interested in the current events going on with the Utah National Monuments because it takes place in many of these areas. I need to re-read On Trails at some point or add it to our book collection.

Best Gardening
So much good in this category that I find it hard to rate them! Let’s go with Second Nature, Grow Curious, and Bringing Nature Home, but in reality they were all excellent in their own ways and they all offer up good stuff to their own sub-category of the gardening world.

Best Other Non-Fiction
Notorious RBG and Men Explain Things To Me are probably the most appropriate considering the year. Long may RBG live and let’s keep this momentum going with #metoo and maybe we can get some progress on the ERA sometime soon.

I think that the amount of books I read this year is probably my max capacity at this stage in my life. If I drop some podcast listening and sub in audio books that might help but I like my podcasts for the time being. Also, last year was a bit more balanced in the fiction/non-fiction mix but I gravitated heavily towards non-fiction this year. So, maybe a bit more fiction next year.

What about you? How was your 2017 reading year?

One Comment

  • Patrice La Vigne

    I’m so glad you like “The Stranger in the Woods” because I think I am reading that next (my SIL said it came available at her library and I use her account occasionally). I still haven’t found “On Trails” from the library, but will sometime.

    Holy cow you are a voracious reader!!! I’m lucky if I hit 12!

    And I now agree. Abandon bad books = good choice!

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