2017 Books Read Wrap Up

Since 2012, I have been writing a post with my yearly reads, where I list them all and highlight my favorites.

2017 was a memorable year. So far I’ve read 71 books, but between today (the 18th), and the end of the year, I’ll probably finish a couple short ones I’m half way through right now.

My list with comments and special mentions in each of the categories:

NON FICTION READS: 

23 out of my 71 reads were non fiction, that leaves a total of 48 fiction reads.

Essays/Philosophy/Education/Art/Nutrition:
From this category composed of 11 books, I couldn’t pick favorites. I love them all for different reasons. Intuitive Eating is the best book on nutrition I have read, but I admit I don’t read a lot in this field, -which doesn’t mean I’m ignorant about this. I have a complete opposition to treating and talking about food and eating the way it’s been done for many years now, as a pseudo science. I’ve had enough of food and nutrition being the subject of abuses and legalistic and absurd systematization. Stop spending money on lies, people. Stop demonizing food, counting calories, doing diets, canonizing new ways, old ways. Arghhh. (Thanks Karla for suggesting this book to me.)

I also loved reading The Impressionist Adventure, Jean Jacques Leveque, which reminds me to pick more good books on art for next year, and keep choosing more non fiction in general.

1. Las meditaciones del Quijote, Ortega y Gasset (it exists in English too), ★★★★★
2. Why Homer Matters, Adam Nicolson,  ★★★✫
3. How to Be Alone, by Jonathan Franzen ★★★★
4. Elogio de la locura, Erasmo de Rotterdam ★★★★
5. Are Women Human?, Dorothy Sayers ★★★★
6. La rebelión de las masas, Ortega y Gassett ★★★★
7. The Educated Imagination, by Northrop Frye ★★★✫
8. The Impressionist Adventure, Jean Jacques Leveque ★★★★
9. An Experiment in Criticism, C.S. Lewis ★★★★✫
10. Why Read the Classics?, Italo Calvino ★★★★✫
11. Intuitive Eating, Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch, ★★★★

Travelog/History/Biography:

From this subcategory, I also enjoyed all of them. Special mention to Nothing to Envy, and to The Boys in the Boat. Nothing to Envy, about the reality of life in North Korea, was very well written non fiction, it had the quality of a well written fiction, it was very poetic at times. The Boys in the Boat was another captivating book based on reality.

12. A Short History of Spain, Mary Platt Parmele ★★★✫,
13. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Daniel James Brown ★★★✫
14. The Rescue Artist, Dolnic, ★★★✫
15. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick ★★★★★
16. After You, Marco Polo, Jen Shor ★★★★ re-read

Philosophy/Christianity/Biography:

If you ask me to remove a book from the following, I couldn’t. They are so different than I cannot pick a favorite either. I’ll mention two, though, Hallucinations and Surprised by Hope. They gave me so much I am considering re-reading them at one point.

17. The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis ★★
18. Hallucinations, Oliver Sacks ★★★✫
19. Muscle and a Shovel, Michael J. Shank ★★
20. Ten Fingers for God,  Dorothy Clarke Wilson ★★★✫
21. Surprised by Hope,  N.T. Wright, ★★★★
22. Las confesiones, Agustín, ★★★✫
23.  The Hidding Place, Corrie ten Boom, ★★★★✫

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FICTION BOOKS:

Fiction comprises 48 of my 71 books for the year.

POETRY/SHAKESPEARE/PLAYS/OLD CLASSICS:

This first subcategory is probably my favorite, since it spans over many genra and it’s where I’ve discovered some jewels this year. I’ve always loved Moliere. He’s so relevant. Reading him doesn’t feel like you are reading a moth ball type of book, even though he comes to us from the 16 hundreds! And Voltaire, from the 17 hundreds, oh, my! I just have Italo Calvino’s essay in his Why Read the Classics? fresh in my mind, and I loved how he described the qualities of his Candide. Such a fast paced book, humorous and so relevant too.

And the poetry. It’s not right that I’ve read so little poetry this year. I need to write a list for next year, and make a plan, for I love poetry yet I keep failing to honor her place in my life.

Reading Guzman de Alfarache, by Mateo Alemán was such a treat. The book was published in two volumes, in 1599. It’s a picaresque coming of age book, with philosophical and moral rumblings along the most humorous and fascinating events in the life of Guzman. This and Candide seem to be close to our times in style and thematic, just with different background and historical moment. They seem to me very modern books in a good sense, modern as in fresh, opposite to rancid.

Shakespeare is an author whose plays we enjoy together, and keep discovering.

24. El avaro, Moliere ★★★★✫ French
25. Candide, Voltaire ★★★ French
26. The Tempest, Shakespeare ★★★✫ English
27. Zadig, Voltaire ★★★✫ French
28. Sonnets from the Portuguese, Browning  ★★★✫  English
29. Guzman de Alfarache, by Mateo Alemán ★★★✫, 1599, Spanish
30. John Greenleaf Whittier, poems ★★★✫ American
31. Romeo and Juliet ★★★✫

XIX CENTURY, ENGLISH (E)/AMERICAN (A):

This is a sure category. It’s hard to have a bad book when you pick a Victorian read (unless you don’t like the author you pick.) There’s so much to chose from, and you know you’ll be rewarded.

32. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte ★★★★ E
33. Whose Body?, Dorothy Sayers (re-read) ★★★ E
34. Dr. Thorne, Trollope ★★★★ E
35. Parnassus on Wheels, by Christopher Morley ★★★ A
36. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen, ★★★ E
37. My Man Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse, ★★★✫ E

XIX CENTURY, OTHER:

Three jewels! I thought I’d hate Madame Bovary, and I’m captivated by it. Nazarín was such a different and charming book. The Brothers Karamazov has become my favorite Dostoiewsky’s title.

38. Madame Bovary, Flaubert ★★★★✫ French
39. Nazarín, Galdós ★★★★✫ Spanish
40. Los hermanos Karamazov, Dostoiewsky, ★★★★ Russian

XX CENTURY/CONTEMPORARY:

At 22 books, this subcategory is where the bulk of my reading resides. My special mentions go to:
The Gray House, The Zelmenyaners. These two books by Armenian Marian Petrosyan, and Belorussian and Jewish author Moyshe Kulbak, gained my utmost admiration.

The Winter of Our Discontent (new favorite author, Steinbeck), Omon Ra (which I read in Yuri’s English translation), My Name is Red, The Lottery and Other Short Stories, El Jarama, and My Antoniá.

I held a book club at the blog for two of these books, The Trial by Kafka, and The Gray House. I loved those book clubs very much. Those who come here to participate, enhance my life, they stretch my mind, and teach me so much. I cannot wait till we have our next book club in the summer, when we’ll read The Unconsoled by Ishiguro.

41. The Zelmenyaners, by Moyshe Kulbak. This is my review. ★★★★ Belarus, Jew
42. Night, Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel, ★★★ (Romanian, Jew)
43. Hinds Feet in High Places, Hannah Hurnard, ★★✫ English
44. Belgravia, Jullian Fellows  ★★ English
45. Pavilion of Women, Pearl S. Buck, ★★★✫ English
46. The Princess Bride, Goldman ★★★ American
47. El planeta de los simios, (The Planet of the Apes), Pierre Boulle, ★★★✫ French
48. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories,  F. Scott Fitzgerald ★★★ American
49. Animal Farm, Orwell ★★★✫ English
50. Brave New World,  Aldous Huxley ★★★ (re-read) English
51. Omon Ra., by Victor Pelevin, Translated from Russian by Yuri Machkasov ★★★ Russian
52. The Gray House ★★★★ Armenian
53. The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey, ★★✫ English
54. A Voice in the Wind, Francine River ★★✫ American
55. El hablador, Mario Vargas Llosa ★★★ Peruvian
56. The Scent of Water, Goudge, 1963 ★★★✫ English
57. The Winter of Our Discontent, Steinbeck ★★★✫ American
58. My Antoniá, Willa Cather ★★★★ American
59. El Jarama, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio ★★★ Spanish
60. My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk, ★★★✫ Turkish
61. El proceso, Kafka ★★★✫ Check Republic
62. Murder in the Orient Express, Agatha Christie ★★★✫ English
63. The Lottery and Other Short Stories, Shirley Jackson ★★★ American

CHILDREN/COMICS:

Another eight good books. We loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, we adore Eliot’s book of poetry and cats, Old Possum’s…, The Bronze Bow was good, and so it was Maggot Moon. My least favorite is A Wrinkle in Time. The girls were unimpressed by it as well. This year I haven’t read any wowing Young Adult books.

64. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler ★★★✫
65. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, Edward Gorey (Illustrator) ★★★★
66. Grammarland, by M.L. Nesbitt,★★
67. Pyongyang, Guy Delisle, graphic novel, ★★★✫ re-read
68. A Wrinkle in Time, L’Engle  ★★
69. The Bronze Bow,  Elizabeth George Speare ★★★✫
70. Maggot Moon, Sally Gardner ★★★✫
71. El prisionero de Zenda, Anthony Hope ★★

That’s all for now. I’m going to continue with yet another post of intended reads for 2018, since I realize I’ve left out poetry and non fiction titles. It took me a while to write this post, to decide how to organize the books, but it was all worth. It’s given me some interesting knowledge on my reads, and insight for the future. I apologize if I’m enabling you, ha ha ha. (I blame it on C.S. Lewis, Italo Calvino, and the authors themselves, all of them which also move me to want to read so many other books!)

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12 thoughts on “2017 Books Read Wrap Up

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  1. Funny, I just pulled The Educated Imagination off my shelf as I’m going through all my books as part of my tidying odyssey. I decided to keep it even though I haven’t read it for many years, but I should really read it again.

    And I must read Are Women Human? What a great title.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a short jewel, Lory! I’m glad you didn’t rid of it. Are Women Human? is SHORT and also packed with common sense. I cannot think of a woman or man who wouldn’t like it. It transcends the feminist and the conservative, in my opinion, as only Sayers could do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely list! I was going to post about the amount of books, and how that amazes me, but realised I’m not far behind.
    I’m one of those people that demonises food, but I got health problems, and it’s trial and error. I won’t ever tell someone else not to eat this or that, or preach a sermon on it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Helena, I had a strange year of reading quite a lot even for myself. It’s maybe due to my love for audio books. I’m one of those people who can listen to moderate and easy books on audio, and who loves doing so while cooking and cleaning.

      And please, don’t be hard on yourself. My harsh comment is aimed to the many who profit from the common people, from our own insecurities. When one has health problems, it’s hard not to blame it on food, -since chances are that some foods cause us so much pain for reasons beyond our control. You are sweet not to tell others, but keeping it to yourself. (I think it’s harmful what some of us, -all of us-, have done at times, to comment on how bad this or that is, when that’s truly not true, and everything because we are all living and trying to simply make good choices and be healthy. I only want to tell others to not dread or make something as enjoyable for most as eating and sharing meals into something too restrictive, controlling, or complicating. (That happens too in homeschooling, parenting, our christian lives, you name it! LOL)

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  3. I loved, loved, reading this, Silvia! I hope to join The Unconsoled book club next summer! Summer is better for me for clubs, when school is on, its so hard for me to keep up. I still chuckle at your lists, I always feel a bit in awe of you and Sherry and Helena too…so good at reading thicker and heavy topic books. But I’m totally ok with it, even though I can’t stop lamenting about it ;). I did better this year, being more purposeful and quitting things that were just too “cheesy” and not “meaty” if you know what I mean. I so glad you enjoyed Northanger Abbey! What didn’t you like about Hinds Feet on High Places? You know of course I will always love you even if you didn’t like it! 😉 A Wrinkle in Time is definitely weird. I like it, but yeah, strange. Some of my children hated it and were a bit scared by it. I think it’s better than some of her others. I actually like her non-fiction better. Have you read any of Pearl Buck’s non fiction? I picked up a memoir-ish like one at a thrift store the other day. I haven’t read ANY by her fiction or otherwise. Do you read many from your shelves or the library?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy, I’m very happy you will join this summer. You always bring a smile with your admiration for what you call our ability to read heavy topic books. I always feel awe at your lists. Honestly, I lament how little I read in categories you are so strong (reading, journaling, devotional, life as an atmosphere, all your read aloud to the family.) I wouldn’t call your lighter choices cheesy at all, but Karen Glass said this, quote: “The kind of book I read when my mind is, to use Charlotte Mason’s phrase, in need of an elbow-chair.”

      Please, don’t get offended with my judgment of Hinds Feet… I think it’s a book that, if you don’t read when you are young, as an adult, used to more elaborated arguments, or spoiled as I am by having read Pilgrims Progress and Christiana, it left me indifferent. And the tidbits of that weird, how they call it, new agey kind of comments, (truly innocuous, one can totally disregard them), grated my defective and less tolerant mind. It’s, as C.S. Lewis would say, a fault on me more than the book, which, for a young person who loves reading and loves the Lord, would always be a cherished book that can add to the faith.

      I didn’t mention I too prefer L’Engle’s non fiction. And I wasn’t aware of Pearl Buck’s non fiction books, but I’ll be on the look. (She had good qualities in her writing, and I’m not giving up on her. Lisa Hayes tells me her fiction book on marriage is great. Some authors have diversity enough as to produce different reaction with their different titles.)

      Finally, I read a lot from my shelves, I buy at book sales or inexpensive books I know I want to read and re-read, but I read much from library loans and all my audios were rentals. I have to go now, but I’m going to come back and do stats of books own, books loaned, books read, books listened to.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Silvia, I am NOT easily offended. LOL! 😉 You could not offend me if you tried! 😀 I appreciate you sharing how you felt about Hinds’ Feet! I did originally read this as a young adult, so that’s a good point. We probably put our rose-colored glasses on books we loved as children or young people! I know I do at least! I’ve reread Hinds’ Feet many times since. I think for me, I love the loving relationship portrayed between The Shepherd and Much-Afraid. Hannah Hurnard’s theology later in life went a bit helter-skelter so yes, I can see where some of her stuff might leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. Ok, interesting stuff about Pearl Buck and yes, L’Engle is an intriguing person. Sounds like you and I are very similar with where we get our reading. I’m TRYING to read from my shelves, thrifting is my FAVORITE, and I too get from the library etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved reading through all your titles! The Boys in the Boat is on my TBR list. I also want to read A Wrinkle in Time in the next month or two since the movie will be coming out this year. I have thought about getting From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and pre-reading it as a potential book for my daughter. I noticed you only gave it 3.5 stars. Would you mind sharing your thoughts about it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A Wrinkle in Time… we just didn’t connect with it. I don’t really like her writing in that book. I can see how it may be of appeal to some children, but to us, it left us a bit cold. The girls did not connect with the story. As a read aloud, it didn’t flow for me. It just wasn’t remarkable, but we may like the movie, I can see this in the screen.

      I’m reading her Circle of Quiet, though, and I do like her non fiction memoir, though.

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