2017: Pretty Good Year

I won’t speak for the rest of the world, which at large has had a crazy old year; but my 2017 was a pretty darn good’un. I made new friends, visited new countries, skied new slopes, quit a job I liked for two jobs I like more, saw people I love marry people they love, played with new puppies, saw some great shows and live music, and of course read some great books. I rarely make new year’s resolutions: if there’s something I want to do (or think I should,) I’ll either do it, or I won’t. 2016 was an exception though, when I decided I wanted to read 100 books that year. I hit this goal with eight to spare, and decided for 2017 I’d just read as and when I wanted to. I didn’t read much in January (busy seeing the world and doing other things) and figured I’d fall far short of my 2016 tally in any case, but finished on 104.

The book I was most excited to read also turned out to be my favourite, so perhaps I’m a little bit biased, but I’m certain I would’ve loved Tin Man even if I’d never heard of Sarah Winman. Coming in second is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This is her debut novel, so I came into it with no expectations, but knew very quickly that this book and I would be friends. My third favourite is The Idiot by Elif Batuman, which was a very pleasing novel to take my time over and get to know – the type of book where while not every sentence contributes to the narrative, I didn’t want to drift away for even a second for fear I’d miss one of the many moving one-liners.

An honourable mention goes to The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which has been around for a while, and I was just late to the party. My non-fiction pick goes to Just Kids by Patti Smith, and I don’t think you need to be a fan of her music to luxuriate in her writing.

There are quite a few books I read either because I felt I should have them on my list at some point (Little Women, a Sherlock Holmes and an Agatha Christie) which is not to say they aren’t worth their classic status. Plenty I read out of what I’d term “professional interest” – typically award winners, or the ones everyone seems to be reading/have read (Big Little Lies, The Girl on the Train, Eat, Pray, Love etc.)

More as an aside, I haven’t listed the times I’ve listened to Harry Potter on audiobook. Really this is because I listen to it in bed to help me drift off, have stopped and started all over the series for several years now, and it’s hard to put a number on the amount of times I’ve covered each book. Having said that, I’ve been gifted a copy of The Philosopher’s Stone translated into Scots, and also have some of the books in German. When I read those, they’ll definitely make the list.

Please let me know what you’ve read and enjoyed this year. As it turns out, even when I don’t set a goal of 100+ books, sometimes these things just happen and I don’t really do much else.

  1. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  2. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  3. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
  4. Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple
  5. The Drifters – James A. Michener (this one was a reread)
  6. The Natural Way of Things – Charlotte Wood
  7. Just Kids – Patti Smith
  8. The World According to Anna – Jostein Gaarder
  9. The Carnivorous Carnival – Lemony Snicket
  10. Furiously Happy: a Funny Book about Horrible Things – Jenny Lawson
  11. Regions of Thick-Ribbed Ice – Helen Garner
  12. M Train – Patti Smith
  13. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  14. See What I Have Done – Sarah Schmidt
  15. The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
  16. Tin Man – Sarah Winman
  17. Our Souls at Night – Kent Haruf
  18. Down the Hume – Peter Polites
  19. Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty
  20. Nutshell – Ian McEwan
  21. The Journey Back from Hell: Memoirs of Concentration Camp Survivors – Anton Gill
  22. Midnight Express – Billy Hayes with William Hoffer
  23. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
  24. The Slippery Slope – Lemony Snicket
  25. Maus – Art Spiegelman
  26. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – Aimee Bender
  27. All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
  28. The Return – Hisham Matar
  29. The View from the Cheap Seats – Neil Gaiman
  30. Bertie Plays the Blues – Alexander McCall Smith
  31. If I Forget You – T. C. Greene
  32. The Museum of Modern Love – Heather Rose
  33. The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells – Andrew Sean Greer
  34. What Belongs to You – Garth Greenwell
  35. The Ruins of Gorland – John Flanagan
  36. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay – Elena Ferrante
  37. The Lost Pages – Marija Pericic
  38. The Girl from Everywhere – Heidi Heilig
  39. The Idiot – Elif Batuman
  40. We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
  41. Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami
  42. Carry On – Rainbow Rowell
  43. The Girls – Emma Cline
  44. Woman of Substances – Jenny Valentish
  45. Reckoning – Magda Szubanski
  46. Everywhere I Look – Helen Garner
  47. What W. H. Auden Can Do For You – Alexander McCall Smith
  48. A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle
  49. The Nothing – Hanif Kureishi
  50. Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
  51. Flesh Wounds – Richard Glover
  52. A Long Way Home – Saroo Brierley
  53. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy
  54. Out of Orange – Cleary Wolters
  55. Half Wild – Pip Smith
  56. The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce
  57. The Sun is also a Star – Nicola Yoon
  58. The Weight of Him – Ethel Rohan
  59. Go Ask Alice – Anonymous
  60. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
  61. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
  62. The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton (reread)
  63. Spectacles – Sue Perkins
  64. The Last Painting of Sara de Vos – Dominic Smith
  65. Candy – Luke Davies
  66. Colombiano – Rusty Young
  67. Fight Like a Girl – Clementine Ford
  68. A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters – Julian Barnes
  69. Gut: the Inside Story of our Body’s most Underrated Organ – Giulia Enders
  70. The Last Great Australian Adventurer – Gordon Bass
  71. Hunger: a Memoir of (My) Body – Roxane Gay
  72. Commonwealth – Ann Patchett
  73. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
  74. The Age of Kali – William Dalrymple
  75. Between a Wolf and a Dog – Georgia Blain
  76. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead – Tom Stoppard (reread)
  77. Note to Self – Connor Franta
  78. More Fool Me – Stephen Fry
  79. Turtles all the Way Down – John Green
  80. Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noel Harari
  81. Nevermoor: the Trials of Morrigan Crow – Jessica Townsend
  82. Sunshine on Scotland Street – Alexander McCall Smith
  83. How to Talk About Places You’ve Never Been: on the Importance of Armchair Travel – Pierre Bayard
  84. Sing, Unburied, Sing – Jesmyn Ward
  85. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson
  86. His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrae Burnet
  87. Born on a Blue Day – Daniel Tammet
  88. Holy Cow: an Indian Adventure – Sarah Macdonald (reread)
  89. The Underdog – Markus Zusak
  90. Far from the Tree – Robin Benway
  91. The Bricks that Built the Houses – Kate Tempest
  92. When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
  93. Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
  94. Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders
  95. Going Solo – Roald Dahl
  96. Feel Free – Zadie Smith
  97. Goodbye Christopher Robin – Ann Thwaite
  98. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – Matthew Quick
  99. Devotion – Patti Smith
  100. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
  101. The Spare Room – Helen Garner
  102. Adventures of a Young Naturalist: the Zoo Quest Expeditions –David Attenborough
  103. The Northern Lights – Philip Pullman
  104. A Horse Walks into a Bar – David Grossman


Oh, and here I am with some of my best friends. We had sold out of Eleanor Oliphant, so last year’s fav stepped in.


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