2017 books I’d like to read

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Last January I thought that I could read 50 books this year, based on how many I read in 2015. And I have just reached that mark a few days ago. It’s been a wonderful year. I’ve never felt rushed to read more or faster, quite contrary, I have loved most of what I’ve read, with a few books making it into my list of all time favorites.

I usually work on this list in December, when many of us complete the Back to the Classics Challenge, and I will come back to this post and possibly add on it. But lately, some friends are talking about some books, and I want to start listing them so I don’t forget about them, and, well, it’s lots of fun to write about books we want to read, right?

Kim and I are still reading our reading duets, we are currently reading Pilgrims Regress and the Odyssey (though I have not re-read this one this time). We still have these:

Wuthering HeightsThe Princess Bride
The Problem of PainNight

Kim also talked to me about,

The first one they are making into a movie. I know friends who have read and loved this book, and I know I will too. The second one, My name is Asher Lev, is one of my favorite books. I may choose to read it once more in 2017.
A young lady who’s soon going to be a high school English teacher, recommends these books:
#1 Sounds like a very interesting book I’d like to read
#2 It’s one of my favorite C.S. Lewis’ titles
#3 It’s possibly a classic I’d be able to fit in the Back to the Classics 2017, and it’ll be my second Gaskell title, one I know it’s considered her best book and a favorite to many.
#4 I’ve seen some friends read it, it may be a possible title that will interest my oldest daughter
#5 I’m going to read, and I also believe my daughters will love it, if not now, soon
I am also interested on these titles:
  • La rebelión de las masas, by Ortega y Gasset, (also available in English)
  • Olvidado Rey Gudú, Ana María Matute (the thick title in the photo)
  • La casa de los otros, (The Grey House), which a few of us are reading together starting in April 2017, right?
  • Pavilon of Women, by Pearl S. Buck
  • The Holy War, by Bunyan
  • The Cross, (book III in the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy and the one I haven’t read)
  • P.G. Wodehouse, in His Own Words, by Barry Day
  • Poetry (we’ll soon read together Robert Frost, and maybe I’ll add the Brownings)
  • I do want to read Los hermanos Karamazov, by Dostoevsky
  • This has to be the year I read Trollope
  • Thinking about reading The Mind of the Maker again
  • Another title by Galdós, probably one of his Episodios Nacionales
  • One or many McCall Smith books, (I got several of him at a book sale, and I liked his style a lot in Emma, a Modern Retelling)
  • Continue reading Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce’s books with the girls
  • The Joy of the Snow, The Scent of Water, two books I have by Elizabeth Goudge
  • Cheerfulness Breaks In, this would be just my second title by Angela Thirkell
  • La ciudad de las bestias, Isabel Allende

From the 50 titles of this year, I’m going to give them from 1 to 5 stars, and place an asterisk by the titles I completely recommend.

1. The Pledge, Durrenmatt. (finished in 2016. I read this book in three days. It’s short but very compelling). ★★★✫✫
2. El extranjero, Camus. (I would love to discuss the book with someone). ★★★✫✫
3. The Winter Sea  ★★✫✫✫ -not worth your time
4. El arte de la guerra, Sun Tzu ★★★★* not to miss (it’s very short)
5. Evangeline, (long poem by Longfellow) ★★★✫✫
6. El coronel no tiene quien le escriba, Gabriel García Márquez ★★★✫✫
7. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah ★★✫✫✫ -because of its length, not worth your time
8. The Glimpses of the Moon, Edith Wharton ★★★✫✫
9. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley ★★★★
10. La metamorfosis, Kafka ★★★✫✫
11. Daughters of the Samurai, Janice P. Nimura  ★★✫✫✫
12. El fin de la eternidad, Asimov ★★★✫✫
13. Historia de la eternidad, Jorge Luis Borges ★★✫✫✫
14. City of Tranquil Light  ★★★✫✫
15. 22 Great Short Stories, Unabridged ★★★✫✫
16. The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, Alan Bradley ★★★✫✫
17. Fairwell to Arms, Hemingway ★★★✫✫
18. Catch 22 
19. Shangai Girls, Lisa See ★★✫✫✫
20. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee ★★★★
21. Paradise Lost, Milton ★★★★
22. Carry a Big Stick ★★★✫✫
23. Emma, Jane Austen ★★★✫✫
24. The Painted Veil,  1925, W. Somerset Maugham ★★★✫✫
25. The Makioka Sisters, Junichirō 
26. Middlemarch, George Eliot ★★★★
27. Isaac and His Devils, Fernanda Eberstadt ★★✫✫✫
28. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote ★★★★* not to miss
29. Wild Animals That I Have Known, Seaton ★★★✫✫ * not to miss
30. Around the World in 72 days, Nellie Bly ★★★✫✫
31. The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer ★★★✫✫
32. A Red Herring Without Mustard, Alan Bradley ★★★★
33. Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury   * not to miss
34. The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb ★★★★✫ * not to miss
35. Ross Poldark, Winston Graham ★★★★
36. The Awakening of Miss Prim,  Natalia Sanmartín Fenollera, ★★✫✫✫
37. El amigo manso, Galdós   * not to miss
38. Mere Motherhood, by Cindy Rollins ★★★★✫ 
39. The Nine Tailors, Dorothy Sayers ★★★★
40. Murder on a Girl’s Night Out, Anne George ★★★✫✫
41. Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner, Kuhl ★★★✫✫
42. When Breath Becomes Air,   * not to miss
43. The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis, ★★★★
44. An Experiment in Criticism, C.S. Lewis ★  * not to miss
45. History in English Words, Owen Barfield ★★★✫✫
46. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith, ★★★★
47. Coraline, Neil Gaiman ★★★✫✫
48. Emma, A Modern Retelling, by Alexander McCall Smith ★★✫✫✫ (the author is worth another try in other titles)
49. Archimedes and the Door to Science ★★✫✫✫
50. La vida de los elfos, Muriel Barbery ★★★✫✫

Do you have any suggestions?, I’d love to hear them, feel free to leave them at the comments, or by email, thanks.

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19 thoughts on “2017 books I’d like to read

  1. Sigh, I love booklists!
    I’m also planning on reading Wuthering Heights, and North and South. That will be my first Gaskell ever. I read The Chosen last year, and am so looking forward to My Name is Asher Lev.
    I read The Scent of Water this year, it was so good!

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  2. I also love book lists and am debating whether to do one myself to post on the blog 🙂 I for sure am planning for the books in our duets, Silvia, plus this year I want to tackle Les Miserables. That’s been on my shelf for at least 6 months now so it’s a pick for 2017 (that will most likely take a while since I think it’s about 1,000 words!) I started reading again A Tale of Two Cities after having remembered that I loved it in high school and that may continue into the new year. Also for next year: Silence, Lilias Trotter biography, Alexander Hamilton biography, The Hobbit (as a read aloud with the kids), My Name is Asher Lev, Dandelion Wine and at least one Wendell Berry book. 🙂

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      • I knew what you meant. I have two of those for 2017, but they are rewarding books if they are good books. The Grey House, and Olvidado rey Gudú, I’ve read a bit of Olvidado rey Gudú before, I love it, it’s a bit like Princess and the Goblins, and The Hobbit, it’s fantasy, adventure, a saga, lots of character building and deep thoughts intertwined.

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  3. Congratulations on reading 50 books this year! How awesome! I haven’t counted the books I’ve read this year. I’ll have to do that. 🙂 I’ve never read Wuthering Heights. I know it is a classic that is on many lists of books to read in high school, but we never read it in high school. Maybe I’ll try at some point to read it. I read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell last year. It was good. But I confess that I liked the BBC mini-series better than the book. Maybe I would have liked the book better than the mini-series had I read the book first. But I had already watched the mini-series many times by the time I actually read the book. I’ve not read The Princess Bride either. My husband and oldest daughter love the movie but I don’t care for it so much….. Maybe I would like the book. Definitely let us know what you think of the book!

    Growing up, my parents read to me and my sister The Chronicles of Narnia. Other than that, the only other C. S. Lewis book I’ve read is Mere Christianity (and that was back in college). My husband is a C. S. Lewis fan and has I think all of his books. And he probably has many of the books written about C. S. Lewis. I am currently reading his book A Grief Observed. I’m about half way through. It’s a fairly short book. I hope to finish it soon. I really should read more of his writings. The Problem of Pain is definitely one I’d like to read. And I do think I’ve read portions of The Screwtape Letters a long time ago. My oldest daughter has read several of his books and has a great appreciation for them.

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    • Karen, I’m so glad to hear you read North and South. I plan to do so, and if possible, watch that miniseries. I never get around watching those wonderful British productions of Victorian lit that are so lovely.

      I will surely let you know about The Princess Bride. And yes, C.S. Lewis is always such a rewarding writer to read. I also have A Grief Observed, I love all those short books of his that speak about different topics. Your oldest daughter is a wonderful reader and thus thinker.

      How amazing to hear your parents read the Narnia books to you and your sister. That’s a beautiful legacy.

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    • I’m looking forward to your reviews and your thoughts on titles for 2017. (You’ve done lots of challenges this year, Carol, I’m sure you’ve read lots too).

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    • I have some of the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency, and I can see how they are going to be great reads, but I can also see that they’d make wonderful audios too.

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      • I may look for those audios. My book club friends are fond of Scotland Street, they also find those stories hilarious. They don’t love Isabel from the Sunday Philosophy Club as much as Precious, but I have that first book in that series too, and I think I’d love it. I’ll let you all know what I think of his other books and what I do (read or listen). At Emma, I loved his writing, though.

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      • I’ve gotten thru a few Sunday ones but I find them “meh” –when I’m desperate for an audio on my commute and nothing I’ve requested has come in I get thru another one. I love poor Bertie and Stewart and Cyril the dog in Scotland Street.

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  4. I loved reading this!

    Can we talk a little about ratings? One thing I thought was interesting is that some of your “not to be missed” are not 5 stars. What are you thinking about as you rate a book? What makes a book a 5 star book? Or a 4 star, or a 2 star?

    For myself, I am sometimes surprised to see how I rated a book. I’ll look at something on Goodreads and think, “What?? I gave that ___ stars?” and wonder what I’d been thinking at the time. 🙂

    Also, for me, in rating books, the number of stars doesn’t always mean the same thing on every book. I usually try (or at least I think I should try) to take into account what the author is trying to do, and maybe compare it to others in its own category. So a 4 star book isn’t always better than a 3 star book. I have different mental rating systems for children’s book vs. poetry vs. fiction, for example. It oftentimes feels so arbitrary. Sometimes I think I have too many 5 star books, and I need to award fewer of them. On the other hand, I read mostly really good books!

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    • Oh, yes! what a wonderful topic to discuss, “rating books”. It is such an art, and so difficult to reduce it to a stars system, right? Like you, I usually give lots of stars to books when I am reading them or just finished. As time passes, I find I can place the book in context and rate it better. As you say, it is unfair to compare book to book on the stars we give them, because Paradise Lost 4 stars are not the same as A Herring without Mustard’s 4 stars. That is why I thought about the not to miss note. Wild Animals is a book in a category without many others (or maybe we don’t read in that category a lot anymore). I think we should not miss reading it to our children, or them reading it to themselves, but I did not consider it worth more than 3 stars (I liked it), in the context of my reading year. And Paradise Lost has 4 stars, but it is a book for those who are willing to read it, right? In literary regard, it’s worth, probably, 10 stars or more, to me it was 4 and not 5, because much of it was over my head, and I still have much more to uncover in it to claim 5 stars.
      If someone likes the books I do (or many of them), all my 5 stars are not to miss. The ones I chose not to miss are because I believe some who have not read anything like it will not be disappointed with that title.

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      • I re-rate my books sometimes, lol, and I usually take away some stars. I tend to over rate, I think, because I am very enthusiastic about what I am reading at the moment. I too, btw, rate different when it is children books, or poetry, or classics, etc. And I have rating and reviewing guilty syndrome. Whenever I get a bit critical about a book, I go back on my judgment, and I feel bad for the criticism. For example, I have Jane Austen’s guilty complex. I claim I am not super excited about her books, but then, through fans and book club discussion of her books, it is becoming a more loved author to me, one I am always willing to read anyway. But I agree with C.S. Lewis, those of us who are what he calls literary readers, don’t have to have the same taste or preferences. I should be more assertive and be fine without being a huge Dickens or Austen reader (there’s much worth competition in my language at that period, and in lengthy Russian literature, that calls my reader’s soul).

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  5. Pingback: Reading Challenge: 17 books in 2017 | Fancied Freedom

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