Today in My History
Smile, Tho Your Heart is Breaking
Books Read in 2017
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2017 IN BOOKS
3 January, 2018
When I look over my database for books read in this past year, I am disappointed that it was so many fewer (34) than last year (43). By page count I read 10,566 pages in 2017 compared to 11,788 in 2016. I will never equal my all-time high books read, 78 in 2012. In 2013 I read less than half that number (34). The reason for that is crystal clear...in 2013, my mother moved to Davis and while I used to be able to listen to a whole audio book in a couple of weeks, due to all those trips to San Rafael, now I may go as long as a week and other than driving to Atria, which takes 5 minutes, I may never drive anywhere, so don't listen to an audio book for weeks at a time.
I set aside an hour or so each day to put everything down and just read otherwise, I might not have finished as many books as I did.
Perhaps the most memorable book(s) read this year involve C.S. Lewis' Narnia Series. I was pleased when Laurel said Brianna wanted to start a book club and that we would all read the Narnia books (which I had never read). I didn't expect all that much in "leadership" from my 9 year old granddaughter, but at our first meeting there were four adults in the room, and Jeri on Face Time and Brianna led a very adult discussion. Since then, Walt's brother has dropped out and Ned's wife, who was eager to join, never has, but the core group of Laurel, Alice Nan, Jeri, and I are faithful and have read six of the seven books. I will admit that I will be glad to finish the 7 and move on to our next book, reportedly "The Hobbit". But this is one of the best things I've done with Brianna since she was born...and Lacie is learning to read so well, she will be joining us as an active participant very soon.
Not surprisingly, of the other books, I read more what I call "blood and guts" books, crime dramas. Ten of them. It seems that when I get inundated with serious novels, I need the escapism of a Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben or Tess Gerritsen.
A close second category is novels that aren't crime-related. Seven of them. I'm not sure if Dan Brown's latest book, "Origin" fits in novel or blood and gore, so I was wishy washy on which category to put it in. I keep hoping to find a book of the caliber of "DaVinci Code," but it seems each new one is a disappointment and this one was so bloated with irrelevant information it was a struggle to finish.
No such problem with "Wonder," which everyone was reading when the movie came out. I didn't realize until I was half finished that it is actually a young people's book, but the story of young Auggie, who has a disfiguring facial abnormality which has kept him home schooled trying to transition to regular school; is a beautiful uplifting story.
"A Man Called Ove" was also a popular read and we did it as an audio book and it was wonderful. I recommend it.
I put Bill Bryson's "Road to Little Dribbling" in the "travel" category, but it could also be classified as humor. I love anything Bryson writes and this was no disappointment
In the non fiction category, there were a couple of elephant study books, which I love. I am endlessly fascinated by elephant societies and each time I read a book, I learn something new. But I also learned a lot new reading Katie Tur's book about the year she spent covering the Trump campaign. Makes you want to shake your head at the way his base was played and how he has them so mesmerized that they can't see that he has gone back on every single promise he made to them. They are just starry eyed and see him as the savior of this country, not that he is destroying all of things which have made this country great. (And now he is taunting not one but three countries with nuclear threats.)
Since I was dabbling about in kids' books with the Narnia books, and to get away with such heavy material as Tur's book, I decided to re-read my favorite kids' book, "The Black Stallion," an easy read but I decided it probably would not appeal to Brianna, so I didn't give it to her, as I had hoped to do.
I read a few autobiographies. I chose Jeffrey Tambour's book, not because I am a fan but because he grew up on San Francisco and I found an error in the sample I read on Amazon. I enjoyed history and was crushed to find him on the bad boys list with the likes of Matt Lauer and others. "A Long Road Home" was more fulfilling, the story on which the movie Lion was based, about a 5 year old getting lost in Calcutta and how he happens to be adopted by an Australian couple...and more amazingly, as an adult managing to find his mother in the small town in India where he lived for five years.
In the humor category was Jon Stewart's "Naked Pictures of Famous People" (which has no photographs in it), a totally insane number of essays. I also read one of my old favorites, Erma Bombeck, who is always fun.
Two books were written by people I know, one a friend, one an acquaintance. Both were good, though one got tedious and the other created a main character that I grew to hate. Writing Amazon reviews was tricky because both books had received rave reviews and I didn't want to be overly critical.
All things considered it was a fair year book-wise, though I
hope to be more faithful to books in 2018. I have SO many on my "I
want to read this!" list that I can't seem to read fast enough to devour
them the way I want. Fortunately Diana Gabaldon isn't scheduled to
publish her 9th book this year....that will be a >1000 page book that I will
have to read immediately. But not this year.
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