Friday, January 5

my 2017 in books!

School is closed today due to freezing temperatures in my area, so I thought I'd seize the opportunity to complete Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner's annual end of year reading survey. My reading life took a dive last year as I got shaken up in so many ways: instead of my usual 40-50 books, in 2017 I completed 25, not counting a few additional pregnancy nutrition books. 

After accepting my new position as an instructional coach last spring, I had two jobs until the school year was over, so when I wasn't actively teaching I was working on plans for the new school. This summer was travel-heavy with a big business trip for work and our trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This fall, I realized how much of an impact those Mondays and Fridays reading with my students had made on my TBR pile when I didn't have that time anymore. And in my first trimester of pregnancy, I was too tired and lazy to do anything after work but watch TV or play games on my iPad. One thing that did help me get my reading groove back a bit was joining the Creating & Co. Book Club on Facebook, and I hope to continue to 
make more time to read in 2018.

2017 Reading Stats:

Number Of Books Read: 25
Number of Re-Reads: 1 (A Wrinkle in Time)
Genre You Read The Most From: YA, with the most-read categories being paranormal/fantasy and contemporary

Best in Books:

Best Book You Read In 2017? 
Best YA: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (also the most amazing debut I read in 2017, and the book that made me cry this year - that list of names.)
Best Nonfiction: Helping Children Succeed by Paul Tough
I highly recommend both of these for every educator, especially those who work with teens.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? 
The Girls by Emma Cline, which is kind of a fictionalized version of the Manson family forming - the main character, Evie, becomes infatuated with an older girl who draws her into a cult led by a charismatic man. I have a weird interest in cults, but in reading this book I realized that I'd rather read memoirs about cult survivors than a fictional account.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  
Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - and I don't want to spoil why it was so surprising for those who haven't read it yet, so I'll just say I thought I knew what genre I was reading until I realized I really didn't!

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Probaby a tie between The Hate U Give and Becky Albertalli's Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda - I recommended both to all of my middle school teacher friends.

Best Series Ender read in 2017?
The Dire King by William Ritter - I loved the characters first introduced in Jackaby and didn't want to leave them, but the ending and epilogue of this book were perfect.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?
Emma Donoghue - after reading Room on my mom's recommendation ("book recommended by your mom" should be a category in every reading challenge, IMHO) I was excited to read her historical novel The Wonder, and definitely wasn't disappointed. The Wonder had a compelling main character who reminded me a little bit of Claire from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series in her tenacity, and a few plot twists I definitely didn't see coming.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
For me, it was Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution (my review is here)- I started empathizing so much with the main character and got so interested in the secondary plot set during the French Revolution that I had to know what happened to both heroines. It was also the most beautifully written book I read this year.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. The movie has been one of my favorites since college, but when I decided to be Holly Golightly for Halloween this year, I was like, okay, I have to read the original short story now. Turns out the original Holly is a much more terrible human being than the Audrey Hepburn version...

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
Shortest: Lumberjanes Volume 1 by Noelle Stevenson (graphic novel)
Longest: The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Elle and Sage's friendship in Geekerella - I saw a review that described Sage and her mom as Elle's "fairy godfriends" and don't we all need a few of those in our lives? I liked that Elle's realization that Sage had really become her best friend was almost as big of a deal as the romance storyline.

Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown appeared in my mailbox at school - that's how my best friend recommends books, by thrusting them upon the intended reader. She thought it would be inspirational to me in starting my new job, and it certainly was - I basically highlighted something on every single page. If you need to be fired up about a creative endeavor or professional challenge, definitely recommend this one.

Other Books Completed in 2017:

Blogging/Bookish Life

Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
The Creating & Co. Book Club's RIP (Read in Peace) Readathon - the photo prompts were probably my favorite part because I got to pretend I was a bookstagrammer for a week.

Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Finding time and passion for either - I love my new job and I'm so proud of my school, but work ate my life for most of this year. I took a hiatus from August-November and I feel like I've come back to blogging much happier and not feeling like I owe anyone anything or like I need to participate in a popularity contest.

Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Fashion: My December 2016 Stitch Fix Review
Life: I'm Back... With News!
Pinspiration: Easter in the Garden
Roundup: Galentine's Day

Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? 
I really enjoyed curating my June Pinspiration post, "Pride and Pineapples." Looking at it now has me longing for warm weather!

Looking Ahead

Books You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018? 
I got Sarah J. Maas' Empire of Storms, the fifth Throne of Glass book, for Christmas and can't wait to dive in even though it's a doorstopper. I saw a lot of buzz this year around The Alice Network, which sounds right up my alley with its WWI and post-WWII settings an female spies! I also want to get to Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens - love that more YA authors are featuring LGBTQ+ main characters.

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?
After reading Jamie's post about upcoming YA releases, I'm excited about Caleb Roehrig's White Rabbit- mystery is not usually my jam but I'm always ready to find a good one.

2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Melissa Albert's The Hazel Wood sounds so good with dark fairy tale vibes. I also want to check out the 2017 debut The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui and Samantha Mabry's A Fierce and Subtle Poison from 2016 - have any of you read either of those and loved (or hated) them?

Sequels You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?
I'm looking forward to Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli, which features Leah from Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda and will be out in April, Julie Murphy's Puddin', the companion to Dumplin', which is coming in May. Some sequels I didn't get to this year were The Boy on the Bridge  by M.R. Carey (sequel to The Girl with All the Gifts), The Astonishing Mistakes of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone (loved the first geeky mystery featuring Dahlia)

Things You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?
Read books I'm actually interested in instead of just reading whatever I can get for free as a reviewer - I think doing that contributed to me getting burnt out on both reading and blogging. I always told my students it was okay to abandon a book they weren't loving, but I have a very hard time doing that myself. I also want to actually read the physical books I have on my shelves that I haven't gotten to yet because I'm usually reading library books from Overdrive on my Kindle. 

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