I took the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge this year, setting a goal for myself that I’d make it to 50 books or audiobooks this year. Though I only made it to 40 this year, I’m glad I challenged myself because it prompted me to actually start making my way through my ever-growing list of books and audiobooks, rather than just collecting them for future reading. I’d love to share my favorite reads/listens from this year.
Best Reads of 2017
To say that Caitlin Moran is just brilliantly funny would be to undervalue her work. I devour everything Caitlin writes, often re-reading her books and articles and laugh/crying my way through with nods of “me too” and shouts of “yes!” She tackles feminism, sex, career, relationships, and family with raw honesty and blunt force. She’s not here to make people feel comfortable, she’s here to kick the door down and raise hell – and I love every minute of it. Her writing always fires me up and makes me want to shake my fist in the air in solidarity with all of womankind. Read Moranifesto. Read everything you can get your hands on from Caitlin. The first book I ever read of hers was How to Be a Woman, and I highly recommend it as well. If you want to get a bite of her style, check out this article from Esquire.
Lindy West is out there slaying dragons and telling it like it is in this memoir. She makes me recognize how much I’ve been conditioned as a woman to apologize for things that I should not be sorry for and her writings on body positivity are something every
girl person on this earth needs to hear. True to the title, Lindy is loud – but you have to be when you’re crushing the patriarchy. Lindy does it with humor, grace, and whip-smart intelligence. Check out more of her work at The New York Times.
This was a really fun, satisfying read that had alot of meat to it. The novel follows a silver screen legend, now in her 70s, who hires a journalist to write her tell-all memoir of celebrity, glamour, and 7 husbands. Though this premise might sound like a flimsy beach read at first glance, I found the writing to be substantial and the characters well-fleshed out and intelligent. The themes of the book touch on feminism, sexuality, grief, and relationships. The book is equally sexy as it is heartfelt, but I never felt that I was reading a cliche romance. I was evenly gripped from beginning to end.
I recently read through this series for the 3rd time after it was announced that they were adapting the series for TV. The story follows a witch named Diana Bishop who has rejected her magical education in favor of traditional academics. Diana’s life is soon upturned by a lost enchanted manuscript, a community of witches, daemons, and vampires, and a dangerous romance with tall, dark academic who also happens to be a 1,500-year-old vampire. Read more about this series and my thoughts on each book in this blog post.
Sometimes you just need a good fluffy read. Something that makes you feel good, like a fluffy pair of socks and a big mug of tea. How to Find Love in a Bookshop was just that for me. It’s the book you pick up when you need a distraction from all of the stress and anxiety the world throws at you each day. Did it leave me on the edge of my seat? No. But that’s not the point of a good fluffy read. It’s a book you can pick up when you’re having a gray week and just fall into for a bit. The premise was charming. A small English village in the Cotswolds, a sleepy little bookshop, and a charming group of characters. I felt that this book would make a good rom-com ala Love Actually.
I really didn’t want to like this book as much as I did. It’s the kind that you’ll readily see stacked next to books by John Green and Nicholas Sparks. The kind that adopts a cult following around the author, who churns out new
heartfelt sappy novels that get turned into heartfelt sappy movies nearly every year. Generally, not my style. I don’t remember what prompted me to pick this novel up, but I’m glad I did. The story follows a curmudgeon named Ove (ooh-vuh) after his wife passes away and a new family moves into his neat and tidy neighborhood. Ove is a strict follower of the rules and prefers things neat and tidy. Even as he plans his own death. This ended up being a sappy heartfelt choice and I’m glad I read it.
It wouldn’t be a complete list if I didn’t include my favorite cookbooks of the year. I know this volume came out in 2013, but it was brand-spankin’ new to my bookshelf this year. For all of those following a Paleo lifestyle or those dabbling in Keto, SIBO, or even low-carb – this book is a must! Michelle writes in such an approachable way, and I love that she includes step-by-step instructions and pictures for many of her more detailed recipes so the reader is able to learn the mechanics of cooking well, rather than just following a recipe and hoping for the best. Her latest book, Ready or Not! 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo dropped this year too and it’s wonderful, but her first volume is still my favorite. Check out her blog Nom Nom Paleo for more recipes and tips.
Tasty & Sons and Tasty & Alder are two of my favorite Portland restaurants, so I was thrilled when I heard Chef John Gorham was releasing Hello! My Name is Tasty. This beauty is chock full of recipes and anecdotes from both Tasty restaurants, a plethora of fare ranging from Asian, Middle-Eastern, Latin- American, and the American southeast. Pick up this book and start with his radicchio salad with lardons, manchego, and 6-minute egg; it’s my favorite dish on the entire menu. The fella and I also own Toro Bravo: Stories. Recipes. No Bull. a collection of recipes from his insanely good Toro Bravo restaurant, and it is also worth owning.