Outside of work-related reading, I read 42 books in 2017. Most years when I look back on my reading, I have a standout winner. This year, it’s a bit trickier. I rate all books I read out of 10, and I gave only one a 10/10 this year: Gary Younge’s Another Day in the Death of America. However, I’m not sure that this is the book that stands out the most in my mind. That goes to Katherena Vermette’s The Break, a novel unlike any other I’ve read and one that made a big impression on me. Highly recommended. Here are my reading highlights of 2017.
I read two Michael Crummey novels this year, The Wreckage, an older one, and Sweetland, his most recent. Both were excellent. Newfoundland story-telling at its best. Christy-Ann Conlin’s The Memento was one of the most unique books I read this year — whimsical and spooky. Very well-written. And it’s set in Nova Scotia. 🙂 Ian McGuire’s The North Water is the most violent book I have ever read, which was very jarring at times and could definitely put people off. However, this is a fantastic adventure story. I also have to give an honourable mention to Barkskins by Annie Proulx, which I am about a third of the way through right now, and really loving.
I really enjoyed Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road, which details her career and life as a journalist and activist. Very readable and inspiring. Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon’s Shadow of Doubt was a fantastic summary of a high-profile murder case in Atlantic Canada. I sped through it. I also liked Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay, a series of essays on a variety of topics loosely connected by the theme of the complexities of contemporary feminism. My final non-fic recommendation is Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run. It’s not as good as Life by Keith Richards, but it’s fantastically written and candid.
Goals for 2018
1) Get back into fiction — I’ve been in a fiction rut since the late summer, though Barkskins is helping me get out of it.
2) Read more obscure/diverse fiction. I have been let down too many times by bestseller lists.