Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Books of 2017

I like to track my reading in Goodreads, though I don't have very ambitious plans when it comes to their annual reading challenge. I read for pleasure, curiosity and self-improvement, and average just over a book a month. Here's a fun infogram from GoodReads. The blank image is The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. The unpopularity of the charming, vintage children's book Biff, The Fire Dog is because it wasn't in GR's database until I added it.

I did finish some lengthy books in 2017, finally finishing Giovanni Belzoni's 1820 narrative of early discoveries in Egypt (inspired by the miniseries Egypt on Netflix). I'm most pleased about starting and finishing The One-Year Chronological Bible. I never would have chosen the New Living Translation, except I started reading my uncle's copy and loved it. It's as easy to read as a novel, yet has enough translation notes to make me feel comfortable (imo, much better than NIV!).

Nonfiction dominated my reading last year. Outliers was fascinating, my first Malcolm Gladwell. The Millionaire Next Door and Rich Dad, Poor Dad continued my self-prescribed financial education. The latter had good, new-to-me concepts, but needs to be read with several grains of salt. I read (and recommend) an older edition, which included his CPA co-author before they had a falling out. I skimmed a newer version in a bookstore, and it did not strike me as having any useful updates, only annoying format changes. 

I'd seen Brain on Fire in the stores, and checked it out from the library after witnessing an acquaintance experience an unusual seizure. Not only was the book interesting, it also intrigued me as a writer. How do you write a memoir with memory loss? The author used her investigative journalism experience – including doctor's reports, videos, and interviews – to recreate her own story. 

The true crime page-turner The Man in the Rockefeller Suit led me to find and watch a movie (entertaining but the book was better). A TV movie led me to find one of the many biographies on the Bronte sisters (the movie was excellent). The Vanished Library was a bit disappointing. It started off with a fascinating, scholarly history of the ancient library of Alexandria. But later chapters twisted and digressed in such convoluted ways that, when I'd finished the last page, I wasn't sure how it ended. 

After a 2016 of books heavy in science fiction, I only read a couple of mysteries this time, returning to my favourite Elizabeth Peters series and delving into my first Agatha Christie. 

May you enjoy fun and enlightening books in 2018!

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