- 2017 in Books
This was the first year that Goodreads let you add a variety of reading dates to your shelf, so I could finally count the high number of books I reread towards my challenge. I set my books at 200, but I reached that in November. I’ll finish the year somewhere around 210-215 depending on how much reading I do the next few days.
Here are my top 10 academic and leisure reads. It’s not ranked — rather, I’m going through chronologically. So 1 is the earliest book I read, 10 is the latest, etc.
- American Slavery, American Freedom (Edmund S. Morgan) – I had to read this for my Colonial America graduate class and it really challenged what I had learned about the Virginian colonies of the seventeenth century and the trajectory of slavery in the country overall.
- To Seduce a Sinner (Elizabeth Hoyt). This was a reread for me, but I love this book. It’s the first Elizabeth Hoyt book I ever read and it introduced me to her writing just in time for her amazing Maiden Lane series. I love picking it up and rereading it. I would have found Hoyt eventually because she’s too good to miss, but I grabbed this book on a whim at CVS, so I got very lucky.
- Hold Me (Courtney Milan). When one of my favorite historical authors announced she would be doing contemporary romance, but it would be in first person, I swallowed my doubts and read Trade Me, which is one of my favorite all-time books. But Hold Me was seriously out of my comfort zone as a reader — it has a trans woman and a bisexual man as the leads. So I waited to read it. And then I gave up the ghost, read it, and loved it. It was amazing, and I’m so glad I took the plunge.
- Devil in Spring (Lisa Kleypas) A lot of LK’s fans were divided on this, and no, it’s not as good as Devil in Winter because honestly, no one is ever going to be better than Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. But this was the year for strong female heroines and Pandora was amazing. And I loved going back into LK’s Wallflower universe and seeing how Evie and Sebastian aged. I loved Gabriel, too. I hope we get more from the second generation of Wallflowers. So glad to see Lisa Kleypas back writing historicals.
- Perfect Stranger (Anne Gracie). Another reread. Anne Gracie had an amazing year with Marry In Haste, which I also loved but I still love the story of Faith and Nicholas, finding love in the last place they expected. It’s a beautiful story with a touch of mysticism and an amazing cast of supporting characters.
- Memory in Death (J.D. Robb) I reread the entire In Death series, novellas included, this year. I hadn’t reread some of the books at all or in years. While I love the entire series, this particular entry is amazing and I actually like it more than New York to Dallas, which actually introduces Eve’s mother. That’s an amazing book, but this is Eve confronting the foster mother who tortured her and going after her murderer. Her sense of justice is what makes her an amazing character and this is the book that drives it home.
- Race and Revolution (Gary B. Nash) One of the best things about pursuing my masters in American history is digging into the Early Republic period and, again, this book challenged the way I had been taught about slavery in the era of the Revolutionary era. A great series of essays that adds substance and nuance to the tumultuous 1780s.
- IT (Stephen King) Another reread. I read it in anticipation of the movie release, and it was the first time I’d read it all the way through in about a decade. The older I get, the better it reads which isn’t true of everything I love. The way King writes about friendship and childhood is beautiful, and Pennywise remains the defining villain of my childhood.
- Duke of Desire (Elizabeth Hoyt) The only repeat author on the list, but Hoyt is my go-to, never fail, never disappoint author. I was sad to see Maiden Lane end, but Rafe was an amazing hero with a truly devastating background, and Iris was so amazing, so up to the challenge.
- Empire of Liberty (Gordon S. Wood) This one is a cheat. I’m about three chapters from the end, but I plan to finish it this weekend. I love Wood’s work in general, and I read a lot of him for my Revolutionary era class. The way he writes is so succinct and clear–I had so much fun reading this mammoth look at the early republic.
I honestly liked almost everything I read this year and picking just ten was soooo hard. Check out my Goodreads challenge for the rest of them.