2017 has been a good year for reading…even by my standards! At the beginning of the year, I’d set myself a target of 72 books, but someone I know didn’t think that was challenging enough and threw down a 3 figure gauntlet – 100 books. As insurmountable as that seemed initially, at just over half way through the year, it actually looks like I’m on track (little happy dance!)
It’s been a while since I wrote a post so I figured a good way to get back into the swing of things was to reflect on the reads I have really enjoyed so far this year. A few of the books that have made this list have been reviewed elsewhere on my site, so for those I’ve included the links to the reviews themselves.
The books (in no particular order) are…
When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi) – in this beautifully written memoir, Kalanithi reflects on what drove him on his journey to become a Neurosurgeon and what it meant to him to live a meaningful life, especially after being diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer.
The Girls (Emma Cline) – Cline perfectly captures what it felt like to be a lonely and awkward teenage girl desperately searching for belonging in the heady and hippie late 1960s. The author builds up the tension of how a girl, desperate to belong and in thrall to a beautiful older girl and charismatic cult leader, can lose herself and be driven over the edge.
The Harry Potter Series (J.K Rowling) – This series has always been a go-to easy read for me. Kind of like calling in on an old friend, just because you want to say hi…and if you read one…well, it would be rude not to read the others. Prisoner of Azkaban is still my favourite, although I really enjoyed Half Blood Prince this time around too.
Thank You for Being Late (Thomas L. Friedman) – Friedman astonishes once again with his analysis of how the acceleration of three factors, technology, the market and the environment, is influencing the world today. Mind blown.
Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS (Joby Warwick) – A chronicling of the rise of the Islamic State and Zarqawi, who was the key figure in the growth of the organization and the spread of its ideology. A worthy Pultizer Prize winner.
Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi) – Probably my favourite fiction read of the year so far. A multi-generational family epic set between Ghana and the United States tracing the lives of two half sisters, one who was sold into slavery and the other who married a slave trader.
Born a Crime (Trevor Noah) – Trevor Noah shows why he’s one of the world’s best comedians, tackling the sensitive issue of growing up as half white / half black kid in apartheid-era South Africa with courage and humour.
The Four Agreements (Don Miguel Ruiz) – I’m usually not one for spirituality and self-help books but this book hit all the right notes, and it just made so much sense.
Reasons to Stay Alive (Matt Haig) – This was another re-read but Matt Haig’s memoir about how he suffered and recovered from a breakdown and battle with depression is awe-inspiring and humbling.
The House at the End of Hope Street (Menna van Praag) – A light and quirky read about a group of women who have hit their life low-points, rediscovering themselves and their purpose with the help of a magical house and its inhabitants.
The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin) – Light and quirky read number 2 that often makes you laugh and think at the same time.