2017 Really Recommendable Reads

gift stack of books

December 15, 2017

10 Categories of Really Recommendable Reads for 2017

Choosing the year’s best books is my most difficult reading task! I think that separating the books into categories might help me share with you which were the best reading experiences for me. I hope you had a great reading year, and that we share an appreciation for some of these selections. or that they will be ideas for your TBR. Most of the selections are fairly new releases (all except four were published in 2017).

*In no particular order

gift stack of books

Most Unforgettable Character

Eleanor Oliphant

I’m still thinking about brave, traumatized, quirky, and lonely Eleanor … and hoping for a sequel!

Brief review found here in this post.

Short listed for the COSTA Award (new authors)

Read it before seeing the movie!

More Information Here

gift stack of booksMost Poignant

Both of Backman’s novellas rank among my favorite reads of the year. And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer deals with Alzheimer’s and a grandfather’s relationship with his young grandson. The deal of a Lifetime provides a reflection of a successful man as he faces the end of his life.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer review found here and more information found here.

The Deal of a Lifetime review found here and more information found here.

gift stack of booksMost Escapist

castle of water 2

Literary Fiction + Adventure!

I read this page turner in one day! Beautiful prose and a great selection for a vacation or travel read.

Full review here

More Information here

gift stack of booksMost Controversial and Relevant Social Issues

I learned a great deal from both of these books and I consider them worthwhile and important reads, and both would be great for book club discussions. In addition to many important themes, they both involve the theme of racism. While Small Great Things is written for adult readers, The Hate U Give (often referred to as THUG) is appropriate for mature older high school and YA and all adults. (please note: both books contain possibly offensive language or situations.)

Small Great Things review included in this post here and more information here.

The Hate U Give review here and more information here.
The Hate U Give movie information here.
Do you think THUG should be banned in schools? See article involving a Texas school district here.

gift stack of booksMost Apt to Build Compassion and Understanding

Wonder has become a must read in many classrooms across America as it builds compassion for others who look different, and it is a great read and lesson in kindness for all ages. Full review here. Have you seen the well done movie adaptation? More information here.

Ginny Moon explores autism from a 14-year-old girl’s perspective. My full review here. More information here.

gift stack of booksMost Dramatic Themes

Beartown: themes of family, parenting, competition, loyalty, courage, community, belonging, friendship, small town struggles and values, hope, a girl’s “no,” etc.

Little Fires Everywhere: most interesting mix of characters and themes of mothers/children, secrets, privilege, teenage love, perfection, racism, friendship, suburban dysfunction, adoption vs. parental rights, etc.

Beartown: brief review included in this post here and more information here.

Little Fires Everywhere: full review here and more information here.

gift stack of booksMost Overlooked Genre (for me!)

News of the World

I highly recommend this beautifully written western! I don’t usually seek out westerns but the historical fiction aspect appealed to me. I highly recommend this for its beautifully written prose and sweet theme. My hubs also enjoyed this one.

There’s talk of a movie with Tom Hanks!

A brief review included in this post.

More information here. 

Movie information here.

gift stack of booksMost Personal Connection

Far From the Tree

If you remember last week’s post, Far From the Tree was on my TBR for 2018, but I was tempted to pick this up right away because of the themes of adoption/foster care and the meaning of family. In the past few years my hubs and I have established contact with his bio sister (he’s adopted) and they arranged to talk and meet for the first time; in addition, I searched out my bio cousin who had been placed for adoption as a baby. Both relationships have provided immeasurable joy and have enriched our family. #drawawidercircle  is how I would tag this in Instagram. Although this is a YA selection, it can be enjoyed by adults as well. If adoption has touched your life, this will wreck you in the best possible way!

My reservations are (1) the author’s use of quite a few f-bombs (I don’t understand why this language is so prevalent and almost mandatory in YA books….but I’m probably showing my age or highly sensitive nature here) and (2) the author throws too many themes in here in my opinion (divorce, alcoholism, sexual identity, racism, etc), and these themes (although important) are somewhat distracting from the adoption/unplanned pregnancy/foster care/meaning of family themes which are the focus of the book. Nevertheless, I highly enjoyed the overall read and found it exceptionally meaningful on a personal level and highly recommendable ….. Here’s a link to my full review. 

More information here.

gift stack of booksMost Courageous and Determined Fight for Women’s Rights

Pearl That Broke its Shell

Inspiring, with against-the-odds, bravery, and women’s rights themes, this historical fiction is a fast-paced page turner that provides great insight into the lives in which some women are born. Memorable and unforgettable. A must read on your TBR.

Brief review found in this post here.

More information here.

gift stack of booksMost Delightful Historical Fiction

I read extensively in the historical fiction genre and have many great recommendations for you (see note below) ! However, most of them are extremely heavy reading. Therefore, for this category, I’d like to focus on the lightest histfic I’ve read this year. (and then I’ll list the others as runners up).


Enjoyable read about a remarkable group of women working to serve their community during WW 11.

Full review here.

More information here.

Runners Up in Historical fiction:

The following is a list of the other equally great historical fiction selections I’ve read this year:

Salt to the Sea; Between Shades of Gray; (not reviewed on the blog but it’s as well written as Salt to the Sea and its main character is connected with a character in Salt to the Sea); The Orphan’s Tale; The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane; Dreamland Burning (YA); The Alice Network; Before We Were Yours; America’s First Daughter; Refugee (YA); Gentleman in Moscow (not reviewed…and not a book I loved at first, but I grew to love and appreciate the beautiful prose and its intriguing premise! It’s been well reviewed on Amazon and Goodreads)

*Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday: Our favorite books of 2017 ,  Modern Mrs Darcy: Quick Lit: 9 Excellent Books for Gifting This Season and Traveling With T: #AMonthofFaves: Top Ten Books That Blew Your Mind This Year

Happy Reading Bookworms!

“Ah, how great it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I love the world of words, where literature and life connect.”
~Denise J Hughes


Check out these other popular and favorite bloggers and their “best of” the year lists:

Modern Mrs. Darcy: Favorite Books 2017

Broke and the Bookish: Top Ten Tuesday:
(bloggers link up to share their top ten reads of the year posts…my post this week is linked there…check out the others)

The Caffeinated Bibliophile: Christmas Book Guide: Christian Fiction Books

Making Here Home: Brilliant books for kids…recommended by kids

Top Shelf Text: A Very Bookish Holiday (follow the link in the post for bookish gift ideas)

Modern Mrs Darcy: Quick Lit: 9 Excellent Books for Gifting This Season

…and, last, something to consider as you set your own reading goals for 2018…

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2018 Reading Challenge

Looking Ahead!

Far From the Tree

Far From the Tree full review next week.

Sharing is Caring!

I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Let’s Discuss!

Which books did you read that were best of the year for you? Do your best reads overlap at all with mine?
Are there any that you’ve read that you would highly recommend to me?

journey of a lifetime reading meme


  1. All of these books sound wonderful! I’m a fan of Backman but haven’t read any of the ones you mentioned. I’m currently waitlisted for Beartown at the library so hoping that comes in soon : )

    • Backman is my best discovery this year! I like his risk taking and thoughtful prose ….he’s an author I would automatically read a new work without needing to see a review. Hope you enjoy Beartown. He has a sequel to Beartown coming out in June 🙂 thanks for stopping by to comment!

  2. News of the World was one of my favorite books from last year. Maybe I should read Castle of Water at the beach next week! Super list!

    I’m linking over from Modern Mrs. Darcy,
    Ricki Jill

  3. I love all of these books, especially Wonder by RJ Palicio. When I read it the first time it had come out, I was astounded by how real this book felt. It was super interesting getting into the mind of Auggie Pullman, something you don’t see much in books like that. The author had really done her research, and it really paid off for her writing. Good post by the way! I love how straight to the point you are in your writing. It makes it very easy and enjoyable to read.

    • Thank you for your kind words and great feedback! I appreciate it and it encourages me! It’s an amazing experience to share the love of inspiring reads with other like minded readers. Thanks for stopping in and for taking time to comment!

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I agree…..those were great reads! I’m eager for Backman’s sequel to Beartown to release in June and for The Hate U Give movie!

  4. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. Each time I pick up one of her books, I love it more than the last. There are quite a few on this list I will be adding to my TBR. Great recommendations!

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