Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
2017 felt like a down year in reading for me. Numbers down, interest down, time invested in reading down. But I’m not sure that’s really true. I managed a picture book a day as well as 100+ other books completed (and probably 100 more started and left partly read somewhere around the house). That’s not as much as I usually read, but it’s also not that far off.
I think it felt like a down year because I didn’t have a lot of swoonworthy reading experiences–you know, the ones where you fall hard for a book and feel torn between wanting to read really fast because you love it so much and have to find out what’s going to happen and wanting to read really slowly because you love it so much and never want it to end. I had a lot of those reading experiences in 2016 but only two in 2017. It does occur to me that the type of book that gives me that kind of experience tends to be fantasy/sci-fi for grown-ups, and that’s not a genre I seek out very often. In fact, it’s usually a genre I specifically claim not to like! So perhaps I’d have more swoony reading in 2018 if I read what I actually enjoy most.
I was surprised to note that two of my Top 10 were #MustReadin2017 titles, and my list was entirely crowdsourced from other lists. So even though I didn’t finish all my #MustRead titles, the ones I did finish made a big impact. And I will definitely be crowdsourcing my 2018 list as well.
In any case, my top 10 for 2017, in no particular order.
Thick as Thieves isn’t a book to pick up unless you’ve read the rest of the series, but if you have, it’s guaranteed to delight. (And if you haven’t, get to the library and check out the first book in the series, The Thief, right now!) The world-building, the intrigue, the characters, the sentence-level writing…. it’s all superb. And I was so very happy when my guess about the identity of the Attolian turned out to be correct.
Victoria Jamieson’s All’s Faire in Middle School was by far my favorite graphic novel of the year. I loved the richly developed Renaissance Faire setting and the ways that Impy’s weekday and weekend lives eventually intertwine. Jamieson captures the struggles and challenges of middle school so well.
Princess Cora and the Crocodile amused and delighted from the first page and felt much more like a book published in the 1960s or 1970s than a book published today. There was an edge and a threat to the crocodile’s bad behavior that I feel like we don’t see in children’s books very often anymore, though the message about overscheduled children is very much of the moment. Brian Floca’s illustrations are terrific.
A professional development book made my top 10! But since it’s by Katherine Bomer, you know it’s beautifully written and thoughtful and wise in addition to providing some excellent practical strategies for teaching essay.
I loved Rain in Portugal so much that I vowed to read more collections of poetry… and then didn’t. But it’s a new year with new reading resolutions, so perhaps 2018 will be the year I actually follow through and read entire books of poetry.
Town Is by the Sea is so lovely in both word and illustration. Just look at the sun shining off the sea on the cover. Don’t you want to read it? A great mentor text for writing as well.
My son is doing online school this year, and this was the assigned reading (the ONLY reading, besides thousands of excerpts read only for the purpose of answering multiple choice questions) for an entire semester of 9th-grade English. The Way to Rainy Mountain is a fairly daunting task for a 9th-grader and most likely supremely uninteresting to that audience, but I found it fascinating and brilliantly structured. And I like to think that my spirited read-aloud made it a little more engaging to my son. We did have some good conversations about it.
I wish every novel could be as fun and entertaining as My Lady Jane. Most definitely the most swoonworthy read of the year for me.
Gift from the Sea still has much to say to readers. I expected it to be dated, but instead found myself appreciating Lindbergh’s wisdom, clarity, and graceful writing. An excellent contemplative read.
This is not the first year that When I Was the Greatest has made it onto my final top 10 list. But this year, it makes it as my favorite read-aloud with my son. He teetered on the edge of wanting to stop our nightly read-aloud for most of the year, but this book alone bought me several more months of reading with him simply because it was such a positive experience. He adored this book and its characters and their moral decisions, and I loved reading it aloud.