2017 Reading Year In Review

I made it! I read 52 books this year, same as last year. That was my goal, and despite falling way behind in March, I managed to catch up. Here is my 2017 Reading Year in Review.

I did stick to my resolution of reading only books I wanted to read this year. They weren’t always great, but I chose them for no reason other than that I wanted to read that particular book at that time. My mother-daughter book club ended after 7 years, but I started a new adult book club this fall, and we’ve gotten two books under our belt so far.

Next year, my goal is to read more non-fiction. I read only 3 this year. Next year I am going to try to get to 10.

Here are my standout reads from 2017:

Best audiobooks were What Happened (read by Hillary Rodham Clinton), Stay With Me (read by Adjoa Andoh), Our Short History (read by Karen White) and Perfect Little World (read by Therese Plummer).

Most disappointing book: The Turner House by Angela Flournoy.

Most creative read goes to Every Day by David Levithan.

For the last several years, I have tracked the Depressing Themes of the books I read. Here are some of the depressing subjects covered by the books I read in 2017: WWII, orphans, cults, killing a lover, high school, giving up children, incarceration (especially when wrongly accused), terminal cancer, Indian reservation, death of sibling, horrible husband, drug addiction by parent, wife beaten into coma, the whole book 1984, horribly abusive mother, children lost in South America, racism, infertility, technology run amok, THE 2016 ELECTION, dead spouses, communicating with dead people, dog maiming, middle school. (This list seems actually less depressing than in previous years!)

The breakdown:

  • 49 fiction, 3¬†non-fiction (ugh!)
  • 14 repeat authors during 2017: Sarah Dunn, Jami Attenberg, Lauren Grodstein, Anita Shreve, Curtis Sittenfeld, Carolyn Parkhurst, Caroline Leavitt, Ann Hood, Catherine Heiny, Tom Perotta, Siobhan Fallon, Celeste Ng, Michelle Richmond, Sarah Pekkanen
  • 19 audiobooks
  • 13 male authors, 39 female authors

How was your 2017 in reading? What were the highlights?


  • December 30, 2017 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

    My reading in 2017 was great for the numbers- 183 books, but the content was lackluster. I DNFed more books then I ever have before.

    You already know my favorite book of the year because I can’t stop talking about it! I really hope you read it and enjoy it. It would be my reading gift to you to say thank you for recommending Kitchens to me- which I loved!

    • gayle
      January 1, 2018 - 9:02 pm | Permalink

      I have read the first 100 pp and really like it so far.

  • December 30, 2017 - 1:20 pm | Permalink

    My book club is about to meet to select our books for the year and I am thinking about pitching Eleanor O. Is it book club worthy? I can pitch two books and then we take a vote so it has to sound good to the majority in order to make it in.

  • gayle
    December 30, 2017 - 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I think it’s book club worthy. It’s really good and there should be enough to talk about.

  • Sarah
    December 30, 2017 - 11:10 pm | Permalink

    I hit 48 books, split into the following categories: 4 read onlys (embarrassingly low); 14: combo of reading and audio; 30 audio only (courtesy of my walks loving canine). Almost all of my selections hail from EDIWTB! What would I do with out it? Please don’t let me every find out. Thanks for all the time and effort you put into your blog, Gayle. It is a huge public service for us readers.

    • gayle
      January 1, 2018 - 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Audiobooks = paper books. Don’t apologize! Thank *you* for reading and being my biggest cheerleader!

    December 31, 2017 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    43 Books – favorites: Manhattan Beach, Kitchens of Great Midwest, Commonwealth, Days of Abandonment (Ferrante!), a couple Elizabeth Strouts, How to Party with an Infant, Chains (Laurie Halse Anderson); Most disappointing: Bel Canto (!), the Idiot, All Grown Up, Goodbye Vitamin. Also read 10 hilarious books including all Sarah Dunn and We are Never Meeting in Real Life, plus Unabrow.
    Sobering non-fiction which should be required reading for all: Dragnet Nation, Color of Law, City of Dreams

    • gayle
      January 1, 2018 - 9:01 pm | Permalink

      That’s a good year of reading! I need to read Manhattan Beach. So sorry you didn’t like Bel Canto. Excited for We Are Never Meeting In Real Life.

  • December 31, 2017 - 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t keep a tally, but favorites off the top of my head (pretty much all from EDIWTB): KItchens of the Great Midwest;The Arrangement; The Nest, Commonwealth, Homegoing, Perfect Little World, The Stars Are Fire, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.

    • gayle
      January 1, 2018 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

      That is a good list, Nancy. I loved all of those.

  • Robin
    December 31, 2017 - 10:49 pm | Permalink

    52 – my faves were Homegoing, Eleanor Oliphant, Heat & Light, 4-3-2-1, Boys in the Boat, The Girls, Beartown, KOTGM, The Heirs, Saints for All Occasions, and Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. (The biggest disappointments were Lincoln in the Bardo, Essex Serpent, and The People We Hate at the Wedding.)

    Thank you for introducing me to some great authors, including J. Courtney Sullivan, Curtis Sittenfeld, Jennifer Haigh, Celeste Ng, Elisabeth Egan and Katherine Heiny! The list keeps growing!

    • gayle
      January 1, 2018 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

      You’re so welcome, Robin! Thanks for reading EDIWTB. (And you’ve confirmed what I suspected about The People We Hate At The Wedding.)

  • Stefanie Stark
    January 1, 2018 - 1:03 am | Permalink

    I loved Eleanor Oliphant. A Gentleman In Moscow. Lab Girl was also fascinating and good. I just finished Little Fires Everywhere and liked it a lot. Happy Nee Year!

    • gayle
      January 1, 2018 - 8:59 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like a good year of reading, Stefanie!

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