I was pondering the best way to do a 2017 wrap-up post when I saw this awesome bingo card over on Cleopatra Loves Books. She says anyone can join in, so here’s my list and I hope to see many other lists pop up in my Reader. 😀
Most of my 2017 reads fit into multiple categories so I had to mush them around a little, especially since I haven’t yet finished 50 books this year.
(Links lead to my reviews.)
A book with more than 500 pages
At 1,116 pages, It is the longest book I read this year. Given how well my attempts to read The Stand have gone I didn’t expect to enjoy it. However, there were some excellent scary moments and the friendship between the kids was a heartwarming through-line.
A forgotten classic
This is the toughest square because no matter which book I pick someone will say: I’ve never forgotten that one! I’ve listed She because it’s not usually the first Haggard book to come up in conversation.
A book that became a movie
Let the Right One In has two film adaptations: the Swedish original and an unnecessary remake. Though it’s been a while since I’ve seen either, they’re both solid even though the original better captures the book’s vibe. This book was more thoughtful and terrifying than expected and I plan to write a full review.
A book published this year
I started with NetGalley this year and read many more new releases than usual. I wasn’t sure which to pick, but House of Names is the one that prompted me to sign up for NetGalley in the first place. I’m in the minority for rating it so highly, but it’s still the best ARC I’ve gotten.
A book with a number in the title
…There’s a number on the cover, does that count? Goodreads lists the title as “Stone Mattress: Nine Tales” so I’m going with that. I haven’t gotten my review together yet but the title story (link) is superbly done.
A book written by someone under 30
Mary Shelley was 21 years old when she wrote Frankenstein which makes me feel old and unaccomplished. When I looked up the ages of authors for this square I also learned that Colson Whitehead wrote The Intuitionist at 30. Wow.
A book with non-human characters
Gulliver’s Travels has a whole cast of non-human characters. The tiny Lilliputians and giant Brobdingnagians are most memorable but there are also immortals and talking horses.
A funny book
Best satire ever! The Sellout may also be the first Man Booker Prize winner that didn’t remind me of homework. Beatty’s prose has the rhythm of great stand-up comedy and he even writes a joke in proper APA format. My quest to read all the Booker Prize winners is going to hit a snag next year when I read Lincoln in the Bardo (which sounds awful).
A book by a female author
Daphne du Maurier has been one of my favorite authors since I first read Rebecca in high school. Jamaica Inn felt a little campy in places but it was an excellent read on a stormy night. Why are so many books better when it’s raining?
A book with a mystery
I’m really enjoying the Miss Marple series and The Moving Finger is my current favorite. Each mystery has had a different narrator and occurred in a different place (all in small towns, though). I don’t often like books where a regular person solves mysteries in their immediate vicinity, but Miss Marple has travelled a bit and nicely sidestepped this particular pitfall.
A book with a one-word title
I don’t like this book. At all. However, it’s my most recent review and has a one-word title so… Artemis has a place here.
A book of short stories
I still don’t entirely know what to make of The Dinner Party and Other Stories. Ferris’ writing quality was quite varied, even within a single story, but there were a few I really enjoyed. Mostly I’m just excited to have finished one of his books. He’s one of those writers whose short fiction I much prefer to their novels.
My review for The Gathering was a lot of fun to write even though I didn’t finish the book. I will read another by Enright, but it’ll be a long long time before I return to this one.
A book set on a different continent
My Name Is Red takes place in Istanbul and the setting is a major part of the book—it becomes a character.
A book of non-fiction
I read so little non-fiction that Dead Wake is my only option for this square. (Technically, The Glass Castle is also non-fiction since it’s an autobiography, but I’ve always understood “non-fiction” to be research-based with an index/bibliography at the back.)
The first book by a favorite author
This one is a little bit of a stretch because it’s the only Colson Whitehead book I’ve read. I don’t think I can say he’s a “favorite author” based on one book. That said, The Intuitionist is a strong debut and he’s one of the few authors on my “to read more of” list for the year. I can see him becoming a favorite.
A book you heard about online
I haven’t reviewed The Lodger yet, but when I do I’ll link to FictionFan’s blog because I only picked it up after she named it the Best Vintage Crime Fiction/Thriller.
A best-selling book
Sometimes I worry I don’t pick enough popular books so I read Big Little Lies to be cool.
A book based on a true story
I’m not saying The Glass Castle isn’t strictly true by putting it in this category. Saying it’s “based on” a true story doesn’t mean it isn’t a true story—just that it has been balanced and curated to craft a linear “plot” and “characters” for the reader to follow.
A book at the bottom of your TBR pile
My copy of Girl with a Pearl Earring was purchased at a book sale for $1.00 almost 15 years ago. While I heard good things about it, I thought it was going to be much drier and more like a history book. It sat on the shelf until I read New Boy from NetGalley. Surprisingly, many of the things I disliked in New Boy were on display here though to a lesser degree.
A book your friend loves
The Shape of Water was recommended by a friend who was kind enough to let me keep it for the two years it took me to pick it up. My inability to read books on a deadline is why I’m not the best with challenges. Of course, this won’t dissuade me from signing up for challenges in 2018.
A book that scares you
Not conventionally scary, but the book with the greatest number of jump-scares (Stephen King’s It) is filling the “500 pages +” square. This one gave me a shiver though because The Talented Mr. Ripley‘s lead character, Tom Ripley, has got a real dark side. His entitled air and willingness to take whatever he wants is chilling. Though a lot of the book is darkly funny, there are some brutal moments that are made more effective by how they slice through the humor.
A book that is more than 10 years old
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde holds up well for something written in 1886. I plan to pull together a full review at some point. Maybe for next October…
The second book of a series
I read 80% of the second book of a series but I didn’t finish it because I just needed a refresher before book 3. Next time, I’ll read the whole book and complete this square.
A book with a blue cover
Scrolling through Goodreads, I realized I’ve read a number of blue-covered books this year. I picked The Ballad of the Sad Café for this square because it’s almost entirely blue and it has blue content to match. (The Goodreads cover of Breathing Lessons has just as much blue, but that book made me see red.)
I hope everyone had a great year of books! I can’t say “see you in 2018” just yet though because I’ve got a few NetGalley reviews I need to post first. It would be great to start the new year fresh (and not behind)!