We are already over two weeks into 2018, so I thought it was about time to get this post up and out! I always find it fascinating to see what others are reading and loving (aren’t real recommendations the best?) even when our tastes in books can be different. I’m planning some more posts with some of my favourite books (of all time) in certain areas but here’s a little recap of 2017 in books.
2016 was a dry year of reading for me– admittedly I did have 3 little ones at home and a baby for the majority of that year, but I know that if I looked at my time honestly I wasted a lot of it just browsing the internet- when I could have read something. But I did read the whole Bible that year- so that counts for 66 books, yes!? Otherwise I read about 12 books which I was quite shocked to realise.
This year I aimed to read two a month, but other than that didn’t plan a lot. I came down with some horrible flu like thing in February half term, the only positive of which was that I read 3 books in that week. In about April I started the Always Reading Club as a little online bookclub and that in itself has meant that I’ve read at least one book a month since then. Reading in community has made such a difference, and I love reading books at the same time as others and being able to chat about them at the same time. I really miss university for this, and love that I get to have a little part of that through our little Facebook group.
I have found that now unlike any other time in life I’ve embraced reading multiple books at once. I often have one on my kindle/ kindle app, one by the bed and one downstairs so I’m never too far from a book. A page or two here or there really does add up. The satisfaction of finishing a book, of knowing tangibly where my time went – and less sucked into the internet vacuum has done wonders for looking after my mind. I knew I needed to read more as it’s the best way to give my brain a break- and obviously, I love books and always have so it’s really important in that way too. In the crazyness of life and children and all the things that go on I don’t always read every day- other days I weave, or paint, or write, or go to bed early- but reading is a huge part of my life and I’m so glad to have spent more time doing so this year, and with remarkably little effort. Perhaps I can ramp it up next year to a book a week- or maybe not! I’m missing reading the Bible in a year so I am doing that again this year.
My favourite fiction books this year-
To Kill a Mockingbird– I can’t believe it took me so long to give myself permission to get hold of and read this amazing book. Some of my year studied it at school but I never did, just knew that it was much loved. A story of racial tensions in a town called Maycomb in America, TKAM is full of childhood adventures and observations from Scout, wisdom from her father and adventures with her brother Jen and friend Dill, all whilst their community goes through the trial of a black man who is alleged of rape. It includes both lovely childhood pictures and important bigger issues of how we relate to people.
Little Women is another classic children’s books that I don’t remember reading as a child. I was captivated by the tales of the four March sisters as they grew up, their trials and individual natures being so apparent. Reading it as a parent myself was so interesting and I loved all the wise words that Mrs March had for her daughters, especially when she advised them of the true happiness and the care of their Heavenly Father.
Lyrebird is Cecelia Ahern’s latest, and having not read any of her books for a few years I found this delightfully different and a fascinating tale of Laura, a girl a film crew discover in the woods where they had previously filmed a documentary. She holds a natural ability to repeats sounds like the Australian bird Lyrebird. The book follows Laura and her emergence as ‘Lyrebird’ as she is pushed into a modern life with a talent for mimicking sounds, is overwhelmed by culture and eventually finds her footing amongst fame.
My Cousin Rachel is written by Daphne Du Maurier (Rebecca is one of my all time favourites) and was recently made into a film. I love the mystery and Intrigue of this novel as you follow young Philip and his complex relationship with his uncle’s widow as she arrives following Ambrose’s death. He swings from suspicion of her part in his beloved guardians demise to adoration and back again throughout the novel as her complicated identity and his relationship to her is explored.
(Other books we have read this year in our little online Bookclub are One Day, The Rosie Project, The Cuckoo’s Calling, Life After Life, The Handmaid’s Tale!)
My favourite non fiction books-
I have a huge list of Christian non fiction I’d love to get to one day- and I read some of them which was great. By mixing fiction and non fiction, often at the same time, I’m able to keep reading even if I am mourning the ending of the pages of a fictional character.
One of the best of those was Humble Roots by Hannah Andersen, which was a beautiful exploration of humility mixed with some lovely imagery from nature. I wrote more about it here.
Life Creative was an amazing read about creativity and motherhood that I will have to revisit and I’m currently in the middle of True Feelings and Mission of Motherhood which are both looking great so far.
There were a couple of books that didn’t work for me this year- one I really wanted to like but forced myself half way and finally abandoned- and another which the plot ending just enraged me. I am finally at the point of realising it’s fine not to finish a book or come back to it another time if it’s just not the right book for that particular time. Quality over quantity and all that!
I hope to get stuck into Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (as part of the world’s slowest re-read of the books) and finish a nonfiction book or two soon. If you want to see what I read- you can hop to my Goodreads account (it’s not all perfectly there but mostly in the kind of order I read it!)
How’s your reading year been? What was your favourite book?