Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What I Read in 2017

I began this past year with a book challenge for myself to read a book a week. I actually exceeded that challenge by reading a total of 55 books in 2017.

I grew up surrounded by books and reading was a huge pastime in our family. During road trips through New England, we'd often stop by our favorite bookshops to stock up on books to add to our library.

I ended 2016 a little disappointed in myself because I realized I had hardly read anything that year and I decided to challenge myself by reading more in 2017. At times it has been a struggle to keep up. I doubted myself that I could do it but I am so glad I stuck with it.

I experienced some amazing reads in 2017 and I was so happy to write mini book reviews on each one. Feel free to search for them on my blog! I wanted to share a few of my favorites and a few of my not-so-favorites with you. Maybe I can suggest some new reading material to you for 2018!

The Best 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This book immediately came to mind when I reflect back on favorite reads this past year. I am a WWII fanatic and this fantastic novel about the very different journeys of two sisters outside of Paris during the second World War is a book I couldn't put down. 

Waiting to be Heard: A Memoir by Amanda Knox  

I vaguely remember the media frenzy when American Amanda Knox was convicted of murdering her British roommate while they were living abroad in Italy. This autobiography of Amanda's life before, during the conviction, life in prison, and the aftermath of her release, left me stunned and I couldn't rest until the last page was turned. 

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff 

This charming read is the compilation of letters spanning over 20 years from Helene, a free-lance writer living in New York City, and a used book dealer in London. Although they never actually met in person, they shared a sentimental friendship based on their mutual love of books. 

Other favorites I read include Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne by Catherine Reef, The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett, and A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett. 

The Worst 

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

This classic piece of literature bored me to tears. I couldn't tolerate the main character and his reckless, egotistical attitude. The story really dragged for me and it was hard to follow along. I'll need to give F. Scott another chance but hopefully The Great Gatsby will be a little more lively. 

The Stranger by Albert Camus 

"This is the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach." That sentence is what drew me to read this book. Unfortunately, that was the most interesting thing throughout the 123 pages.

The Burden by Agatha Christie 

As this was my first book to read by Agatha Christie, I had high expectations. Instead this story was very slow, dull, and fairly predictable. 

My Book List for 2017 in the Order I Read Them: 

  1. Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery 
  2. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls - Lauren Graham 
  3. Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir - Amanda Knox 
  4. Sarah, Plain and Tall - Patricia MacLachlan
  5. Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate - Jerry Bridges 
  6. Because He Loves Me - Elyse Fitzpatrick 
  7. Never Left Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
  8. The Kind Worth Killing - Peter Swanson 
  9. Night - Elie Wiesel 
  10. This Side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald 
  11. Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty 
  12. A Girl and Five Brave Horses - Sonora Carver 
  13. The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne - Catherine Reef
  14. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know For Sure You Are Saved - J.D. Greear
  15. Giselle: Or the Wilis - Violette Verdy & Marcia Brown 
  16. The Prodigal's Sister - John Piper 
  17. The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton 
  18. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Marie Kondo 
  19. The Secret Garden - Francis Hodgson Burnett 
  20. Captain January - Laura E. Richards 
  21. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood 
  22. The Burden - Agatha Christie 
  23. Envelope Poems - Emily Dickinson 
  24. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter - Tom Franklin 
  25. Forever Liesl - Charmian Carr 
  26. 84, Charing Cross Road - Helene Hanff
  27. A Grief Observed - C.S. Lewis 
  28. Paris Underground - Etta Shiber 
  29. Lilac Girls - Martha Hall Kelly 
  30. The Stranger - Albert Camus 
  31. What Did You Expect? - Paul David Tripp 
  32. The Loveliness of Christ - Samuel Rutherford 
  33. A Victorian Posy - Sheila Pickles 
  34. A House in the Sky - Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett 
  35. Miss Jane - Brad Watson 
  36. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness - Susannah Cahalan 
  37. The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir - Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
  38. Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Norway - Virginia Haviland 
  39. The Nightingale - Kristin Hannah 
  40. Animal Farm - George Orwell 
  41. Just Being Audrey - Margaret Cardillo & Julia Denos 
  42. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck 
  43. Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie 
  44. The Grown Up - Gillian Flynn 
  45. The Bad Seed - William March 
  46. Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World - Paul L. Maier 
  47. Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter - Kate Clifford Larson 
  48. The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long for and Echo the Truth - Mike Cosper 
  49. The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God - John Piper 
  50. Silent Movie - Avi 
  51. 882 1/2 Amazing Answers to Your Questions About the Titanic - Hugh Brewster/Laurie Coulter
  52. Emily of New Moon - Lucy Maud Montgomery 
  53. Milk and Honey - Rupi Kaur 
  54. The Faith of Christopher Hitchens - Larry Taunton 
  55. If - Amy Carmichael 

In 2018, I've set a lower book challenge for myself at 15 books (but hoping to read more). 
You can keep track of my books & reviews on my Goodreads account. 


  1. This is such an accomplishment, Hannah! And I hope you know that I don't think I would have got on the reading train again had it not been for seeing your book review blog posts. I exceeded my goal of 10 books and am setting the bar higher this year with a goal of 15 books! Thank you for being such an inspiration- your writing encourages me to be a better version of myself :)

    1. Jenni! I'm so glad to have "met" you through Instagram! You inspire me as well and I'm so glad to have challenged you in even a small way to read more! It's so rewarding. Thank you for dropping by and saying so. :)

  2. Way to go!! How did you like the life changing magic of tidying up?!

    1. Thank you! It had some good points but if being honest, wasn't one of my favorites.

  3. What a great list of books! I love to read, but in the past few years have been reading less and less. Following your blog posts about books has definitely inspired me again- and this year it's one of my goals to read more!

    1. Hi Nicole! Good for you! I'm so glad you are choosing to read more! What are some books you've added to your reading list for this year?

  4. But more importantly, where did you get this bookshelf?????

  5. Great authors you have there! C.S. Lewis is my favorite of all times. I know AMy Carmichael too. So good!
    I've been thinking of reading "The Murder of the Orient Express", did you like it?
    Also! Amanda Knox is such an interesting case! I am a crime biography and novel addict xD So, thanks for mentioning this interesting new read. Didn't know she had a book!
    Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir - Amanda Knox

  6. I'd also very much like to know where you got that beautiful bookcase from?