I’m a huge bookworm—and I probably read 50+ books this year. Reading is my favorite thing to do! This is a list of the best books 2017 offered to me. I usually find the best books from wandering through a bookstore, recommendations from a podcast or Instagram, or from my sister and friends. So here’s the collection of what resonated with me the most.
I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did 🙂
Happy reading! <3
P.S. Not all books are included in the picture above because I like to share the books I love with the people I love, so they’re out floating in the world, hopefully being read!
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
This is my #1 favorite book in 2017. Oh boy. Warning: it had me crying like a baby. It’s a fictional story about a town that always sacrifices one baby to a witch who lives in a nearby forest every year. The town assumes the forest witch eats the babies. But actually she’s a very nice witch and she always finds homes for the babies. So it’s total fantasy. Long story short, the witch ends up keeping one baby and raising it as her granddaughter…so it’s all about this close bond between a grandmother and granddaughter—and the magic that exists in between their relationship. I read this one weekend after my own Gram passed…hence, the waterworks. It’s super sweet and now, one of my favorite books of all-time. It won the 2017 Newbery Medal, so other people think so too. It’s amazing. <3
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Madeleine L’Engle was one of my favorite authors as a kid, and I read almost all her books, but somehow, I never read A Wrinkle in Time! There’s a movie version coming out with Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling (I love both of them!) So I wanted to read the book before that comes out (because I have to read first, see second). Anyway, I loved this book so much and I especially loved the script of her Newbery Award acceptance speech at the end. My favorite quote: “A book too can be a star ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly’ a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
I was drawn to this book because it’s set in the 1920’s in New York—and I just feel like that was such a cool time and place to be alive. I really wish I could have been in Greenwich Village back then. This book’s about a love triangle between two best friends and a wealthy man. The dynamics of the three relationships and their intersection are very interesting and realistic. I also liked how it shed a light on the influence of chasing financial wealth on relationships.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
OMG I love this book so much!! This is my #2 favorite book of the year. Literally I read it in 2 days (and it’s 440 pages). Set in France during WWII, it’s a historical fiction story about two sisters and the roles they played in the resistance to the war. The author combed through stories of the women who were involved in resisting the Nazis in Europe and wrote this book to commemorate their work and lives. It’s heartbreaking and moving and was also, slightly terrifying to see some of the parallels of a Nazi-occupied France and the matching prejudice and hate rhetoric in the news today. The Nightingale inspired me so much—I literally couldn’t put it down. I feel like this book made me fall in love with reading all over again.
The Circle by Dave Eggers
I weirdly love dystopian fiction. The Circle is basically Google or Apple in the not-so-far-off future when one huge company owns and is in charge of all aspects of our lives. And is constantly monitoring and watching us. It follows the main character Mae as she lands a job at The Circle, a dream opportunity that turns into a bit of a nightmare. She has to keep up with a constant influx of messages and notifications to earn a certain score for her job. I won’t ruin the plot or ending, but this book definitely made me re-think my own use of social media and how annoying technology can be if we don’t set boundaries around it to actually…live life.
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
I loved this book in 5th grade and was feeling nostalgic so I decided to read it again. It’s all about dealing with grief and loss—set on a road trip with two grandparents and their granddaughter. My favorite quote: “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.”
The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure by James Redfield
I came across this one in Barnes & Noble and saw it was set in Peru. That’s all I knew. I didn’t realize until halfway through the book that it was actually fiction. Which made me feel kinda silly. The places the character goes are described so well, and I’ve been to many of those areas so I could picture each scene in my head. I love the deeper concepts this book explores—and it’s basically about going through a spiritual awakening during a transitional time in life.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
I read this book in a day. I really loved it. It’s about a woman who always found solace in books after a difficult childhood and decides she wants to be a writer. Elizabeth is an amazing writer, and there’s so many nuggets of wisdom woven into the story. One of my favorite quotes: “It interests me how we find ways to feel superior to another person, another group of people. It happens everywhere, and all the time. Whatever we call it, I think it’s the lowest part of who we are, this need to find someone else to put down.”
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Obviously, this one became pretty popular because of the HBO series (which was awesome)—but the book is just as good! I quickly read it before the show started (because again read first, watch second for me—I can’t do the reverse!) and I flew through this one. The characters are so complex and I was super proud of myself when I figured out the ending halfway through the book (I love trying to predict the ending!). Lots of twists and turns and such a good book—and show!
Self-Help / Spirituality / Nonfiction / Poetry
White Hot Truth by Danielle La Porte
I really love books on spirituality and this is one of my favorites. Danielle is super real and has a no bullshit attitude that I really appreciate. Her overall message is that YOU know what’s best for YOU—and I love that. Super inspiring and a good pick-me-up/dose of Truth (with a capital T).
I’m obsessed with the RobCast—so I ordered this book. It’s so good. I’m going to re-read it over and over again. Like every year. My favorite quote: “Better to have a stomach full of butterflies than to feel like life is passing you by.” And: “you doing your work in your place at this time is highly original and desperately needed. It may have been done or said by someone else. That’s a distinct possibility. It may have been done or said before. But it hasn’t been done and said by you. It hasn’t come through your unique flesh and blood, through your life, through your experience, and insight and perspective.”
What Is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell
Clearly, I’m a Rob Bell fangirl—but having gone to Catholic school most of my life, I really appreciate this book. It took classic Bible stories that I’ve been taught over and over again—and just, as Rob would say it, turned the gem and offered a totally different perspective. It made me look at the Bible in a whole new way. Since most of those stories were forced down my throat back in the day, I’d developed a kind of repulsion to the Bible in general. But now I can see there’s such a deeper meaning and wisdom—and it really made me appreciate it as a book of wisdom, more than a book of rules. As a book written by people in a certain place at a certain time, but yet there are overarching and universal themes and lessons that are still so applicable today.
The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
WOWZA. This book is also going on my list of “books to re-read every year.” It’s deep—in the best way. It’s all about how we’re shifting to a new level of consciousness where power comes from the spirit, not from the external world. It’s about living life with compassion, trust and awe—and how spirituality is becoming a more integral part of our everyday lives. I read this one in a day because it’s so amazing!!
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
Also read this one in a day! I loved her first book (Milk & Honey) and this one is a little longer and goes a little deeper. It’s broken into parts and Rupi is so raw and authentic and powerful. Her poems are short but strike such a deep chord inside.
My favorite poem:
on the sacrifices
of a million women before me
what can i do
to make this mountain taller
so the women after me
can see farther
The Light Between Us: Stories from Heaven. Lessons for the Living. by Laura Lynne Jackson
Laura is a teacher who also has psychic gifts and is able to connect to the other side. This book shifted the way I look at relationships and life and death. I’m not sure I can really describe how insightful this book is. My favorite quote: “We simply need to see and appreciate the cords of light and love that bind us, in good times and in bad, in this life and the next. We need to honor the light between us.”
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
I have such a crush on Trevor Noah and I watch The Daily Show religiously every week. His backstory is so inspiring and interesting. Growing up in apartheid South Africa with a black mother and a white father, his experience is so unique, so empowering, so filled with wisdom. Clearly I’m a huge fangirl but I love this book because you can feel his resilience, grit, humor and love for his mother and country on every page <3 My favorite quote: “Being chosen is the greatest gift you can give to another human being.”
A People’s History of Chicago by Kevin Coval
I’m from the Chicago area and was taught a very polished history of the U.S.A. in school as a kid. This book of poetry is filled with so much truth. And Kevin is a creative leader, activist, poet and awesome person who works with kids and helps them uncover their creativity by empowering them to find (and use) their voice. He mentored Chance the Rapper, who also wrote an awesome intro for this book. Really loved this one!
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