My goal for 2017 was to read 30 books, while I fell short by two I still feel great about the accomplishment of reading 28 books in a year. Since I didn't quite reach my goal and I will also be turning 30 this year, I am going to challenge myself to read 30 books in 2018. I look back on this list fondly and enjoyed every read, I once again surfed through various genres but my love of fiction books is clear. Enjoy my list & let me know your thoughts on any of these titles if you've read them. Also, feel free to leave me a note about your reading challenge for 2018 (if you're setting one) and/or what book you are currently reading or want to read.
*THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR - NICOLA YOON | This book is young adult fiction but the story is great. It is a mix of science and love, practical and fantasy and it was the perfect way to start the year.
SWEETBITTER - STEPHANIE DANZLER | I love wine...then I found this book about wine and I had to check it out. The story is of a young woman that gets a job in one of NYC's hottest eateries. Life lessons & wine lessons are beautifully intertwined throughout the book.
OPENING BELLE - MAUREEN SHERRY | This book takes on the age old question "can women have it all" with the main character working on wall street while also married with children. This one was pretty middle of the road for me, I didn't hate it but I also didn't absolutely love it.
THERE IS CAKE IN MY FUTURE - KIM GRUENENFELDER | This is one of the books I laughed through as I read it, basically just know the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. This would be a good beach/vacation read.
*I AM MALALA - MALALA YOUSAFZAI | I think everyone knows what this book is about, Malala is an education advocate from Pakistan. This book is her autobiography and while an interesting read I wished for more details in the later parts of the book versus the beginning.
MODERN ROMANCE - AZIZ ANSARI | This was a friend's recommendation because quite a few of us are working on this whole dating thing (lol). This book is more relatable than you would first think since it is written by a comedian and I actually found some of the tips to be helpful. Maybe one day I will apply them to a real world situation.
*A MAN CALLED OVE - FREDRIK BACKMAN | I see this book as a tale on usefulness, there are some funny parts & plenty of sad parts as we follow Ove through this book. He is quite the curmudgeon but his surliness is really what makes the book. This read is very applicable to life in general and was enjoyed by not only my book club but also my mom's.
*THE GOOD GIRL - MARY KUBICA | This book is very Gone Girl-esque, and that book royally pissed me off (the movie too even though I knew what was going to happen) just about as much as this one did. I did enjoy the read, just had some emotions going because sometimes I just cannot with the characters. Guess that is a sign of good writing if a fictional person can make you mad.
MILK AND HONEY - RAPI KAUR | Beautifully written, emotion evoking poetry with line drawing doodles serving as illustrations throughout. This is a quick and enjoyable read.
*THE QUIET ROOM - LORI SCHILLER & AMANDA BENNETT | This is a tough read because of the topics addressed not the story. A memoir of Lori, a woman that suffers from mental illness, that does not glaze over the struggle of dealing with mental illness for both the person suffering from it and the people that surround them. I do not suggest you listen to this on audiobook as the reader does various voices for the voices that Lori hears in her head and it actually makes the book feel even darker, but I do suggest you read it. We read it in honor of mental health awareness month.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS - KEVIN KWAN | My new book obsession for 2017 was Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. This is the first book and I devoured every word to the point of losing quite a few hours of sleep and productivity. A look into the lives of mega rich Asian families that are basically dynasties because of their power and influence I definitely mark this as a must read. The movie comes out in August so get to reading ASAP!
*YOU ARE A BADASS - JEN SINCERO | The title is probably quite explanatory but just in case, this is a self help book about learning to accept yourself and walking confidently in your awesome-ness. She's straightforward and if you are looking for a kick in the butt to get things accomplished (or boost your confidence) you should probably pick up this book.
BORN A CRIME - TREVOR NOAH | Apartheid in South Africa ended in 1991, Trevor Noah was born in South African in 1984, he has a black mother and a white father, his conception and birth were a crime. He tells stories of growing up in South Africa and of course there is lots of humor tied in. My dad even enjoyed this book!
THE HATE U GIVE - ANGIE THOMAS | A young adult novel that touches on one of the most sensitive topics of the last few years, police brutality. Specifically, this book talks about the killing of unarmed black boys & men by police. I actually cried a couple of times while reading this book but it was so good. Filming of the movie adaptation started in fall 2017, I definitely recommend reading the book prior to the movie release.
*CITIZEN: AN AMERICAN LYRIC - CLAUDIA RANKINE | The microagressions that plague everyday life in America are front and center in this book of poetry. I had to put this one down a few times and think about what I had just read, it is thought-provoking and a great book for discussion.
THE SANTANGELOS - JACKIE COLLINS | I cannot remember when exactly I became obsessed with Jackie Collins' Santangelo series of novels but they are a true guilty pleasure. This is the final book of the series and the last book she wrote before she died. It was just as awesome and thrilling as all of the others (there are nine books in the series, the first was published in 1981).
THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 - RUTH WARE | A book to make you ask what in the heck just happened?! I actually had to go back and re-read a section or two after I got to the end of the book because I was trying to figure out how I missed seeing the ending coming.
THE SIMPLICITY OF CIDER - AMY E. REICHERT | Author of my favorite book last year I, of course, had to read as many of her other works as possible. This book stays with the familiar themes of midwestern familiarities and food. Instead of coconut cake this time we have hard cider and an apple orchard. I loved the familial theme that was also the base of this book and of course there is a love story.
*ONE PERFECT LIE - LISA SCOTTOLINE | *insert mindblown emoji* This was one of those novels that you pulls you into a plot then totally flips it and you are left with your mouth open (or at least I was) with no choice but to sacrifice some sleep to get to the end because you must know what is going to happen.
I'M JUDGING YOU - LUVVIE AJAYI | Do-better! This book is broken down into four sections, life, culture, social media, and fame. Luvvie is to the point and quite hilarious. If you watch Real Housewives of Potomac I would call this the book equivalent of an etiquette mirror.
*THE HANDMAID'S TALE - MARGARET ATWOOD | A tale that doesn't seem very far off based on the current climate toward's women and our bodies. Once you read this book you will understand the emergence of women dressed as handmaids at state capitols across the country as bills to restrict women's reproductive rights are being introduced. The story is dystopian fiction and definitely one to read. There is also a series on Hulu which I will soon begin watching.
*THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF GUCCI MANE - GUCCI MANE & NEIL MARTINEZ-BELKIN | Read it, enjoy it, reminisce on the music. I sped through this book and every time he shared a backstory for a song I instantly heard it in my head.
HILLBILLY ELEGY - J.D. VANCE | I had the opportunity to hear J.D. Vance speak late in 2017 which led to me finally picking up a copy of this book, something I had been putting off for a few months. I am so happy I finally read it! The popularity of this book increased after the 2016 presidential election when the voter demographics were released, once you read it you will totally understand why.
CHINA RICH GIRLFRIEND - KEVIN KWAN | The second book in the Crazy Rich Asian's Series, this time we take a more in-depth look at Rachel. This book was just as much fun to read as the first and only increased my love for the series. It continues with the themes of mega rich families, influence, but also introduces more secrecy and spilling of family secrets.
THE LAST BLACK UNICORN - TIFFANY HADDISH | I ended my 2017 with this book and it was perfect! In this autobiography humor is brilliantly combined with tough childhood and life stories. I found myself talking out loud to this book more than once and it was a very easy read. There are themes of perseverance, strategy, and attraction that make you think about your own life even though you may not have had the same experiences.
RICH PEOPLE PROBLEMS - KEVIN KWAN | The final book of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy goes out with a new bing, a funeral, and just as many rich people shenanigans as the first two. The scale of the shenanigans definitely increases and there seems to be more money (if that was even possible) and crazy family secrets.
LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE - CELESTE NG | After looking at the cover of this book over and over I finally picked it up and I was not disappointed. Family is the center theme of this book and connections to those around us. Drama and mystery abound in this book. Is anyone who they seem or who you think they are?
LOVE, LUCK, & LEMON PIE - AMY E. REICHERT | The last of the currently published books by Reichert stays true to the themes of Midwestern familiarities and food. This one does differ from the others as it does not have a new love story and instead focuses on an already established marriage with the world of poker mixed in. Next I want to try the lemon pie recipe from the book, it sounds amazing.
Note: an asterisk (*) denotes book club selections in 2017. We usually have a book for each of the first eleven months of the year then celebrate the holidays together with an outing. There are only ten listed here as I previously read one of this year's selections so it does not count toward my reading goal. The omitted book is The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, I discovered her books 2-3 years ago and quickly read through most of them. If you haven't already I suggest you read her books Big Little Lies (+ watch the HBO series) and The Husband's Secret.