I read 85 books in 2017, and reviewed 57 of them. The most popular posts (in terms of page views) were reviews of Our Secret Better Lives by Matthew Amster-Burton, a book I reviewed in December of 2016, and Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. The least popular post: The Widow by Fiona Barton. Hey, I really enjoyed that book!
My five favorite books that I reviewed during the past year, in no particular order: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, The Long Firm by Jake Arnott, Celine by Peter Heller and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. One of my happiest reading memories from 2017 is sitting in the outdoor garden at Julie’s in mid-August, eating an heirloom tomato sandwich and enjoying Evelyn Hugo. There’s nothing like the combination of sunshine, summer produce and a good book.
One of the highlights of the year is my client (and, I dare say, friend) William Kent Krueger‘s fifteenth Cork O’Connor mystery Sulfur Springs hitting the New York Times top ten bestseller list in September. It was Kent’s first time in the top ten! He’s a great guy and a relentlessly hard worker—his touring schedule would exhaust many writers half his age.
The end of December brought some sad news: the death of Sue Grafton, a genuinely lovely person as well as a wonderful writer. Her alphabet mysteries have played an important role in my life, and I admire the ambition that led her to attempt longer, more complex plots over the course of her long-running series. She never took the easy route, and that fierce integrity means the alphabet will stop at Y; she didn’t complete Z, and insisted no ghostwriter would finish her work. Grafton’s sleuth Kinsey Millhone will not celebrate her 40th birthday in print, but as long as people continue to read mysteries, she’s guaranteed to live forever.
I only reviewed eight nonfiction books, one fewer than last year. I did finally read a classic novel, Jane Eyre, and enjoyed it a lot, so I’ll have to see what else is out there that I probably should have read years ago. Escaping into the past holds a lot of appeal these days.
And now, a quote from E.B. White:
A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people—people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.
Happy New Year—and keep reading!