Update On My Reading goals for 2017: MustReadIn2017 & Others

Carrie Gelson at There's a Book for That, hosts #MustRead. If you have a "want to read" list on Goodreads (or somewhere else) that goes on forever, then you might be interested in joining for 2018. All you have to do is choose any number of specific books on that list, and do your best to read them all.  My original lists for this year are here. This is my final update for 2017.

In 2016, I managed to read all the books on my must read list. Alas, this is not the case for 2017. In fact, since the last checkin, I finished a mere three books from my fiction list. I read nothing from my nonfiction list. I might have finished more of these but was too sick to read or even listen to books throughout the month of December.

This is what I finished since our last update.

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

This book was pure fun. It’s set in the Regency period in England. When Annis’ father is killed in France, he leaves her and her Aunt Cassie nearly destitute. Annis soon figures out that her father was a spy and is determined that she will become one to avenge his death. When she is rejected, their new maid, Millicent, helps disguise Annis so she can use her dressmaking magic to earn a living. The book is full of twists and turns and clever humour. Although this book didn’t wow me like Jones' Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, (a book that is truly exceptional) I’ll read a sequel if she writes one.

The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud & Emily Bevan (Narrator)

Lockwood, Lucy, George, Holly, and Quill Kipps discover the cause of 'The Problem.' The how and why ghosts are invading our realm is caused by an individual with a lot of political clout. This puts the crew in peril as the perpetrators decide to retaliate by murdering them all.
As satisfying and wonderful as this book is, I can't bear to think that it is the last in the series. I'm just not ready to say goodbye to these fabulous characters. Since this fictional world isn't really completely cleaned up, I'm not giving up hope that there might be at least one more to come.
Perhaps the rumoured TV series will be enough, but I doubt it.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

This is a sweet coming of age romantic fiction that follows the formula set out in romantic Korean dramas. Teen romance is not my favourite genre, but I ended up enjoying this anyway. Thankfully there isn't excessive amounts of angst or heavy breathing. The diverse collection of characters is endearing in spite of, or perhaps because of their flaws. The only somewhat snarky relationship ends up getting resolved positively. I adored the relationships between Desi Lee and her father, and you will too.

I started but abandoned Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I didn't hate it. The font was just so tiny. I even tried it on my device but whatever the format was, I couldn't increase the size.

In spite of not completing all the books on this list, I don't consider it a failure. Once I started reading from my nonfiction list, I became interested in reading more nonfiction and ended up reading at least 15 adult information books last year. Ideally I had hoped to read at least one a month, and even though I didn't get to all the ones on my list, I still read more adult nonfiction than I did the year before. That's a win, right?

The fiction titles from my list were mostly fabulous.

Not only is The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas the best book on the list, it's probably one of the top three books I've read all year. I loved it so much that I purchased a copy since I know I will reread it at least one more time.

Other books that I thought highly of include (in no particular order)

The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick

My favourite nonfiction title was When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanith. I also enjoyed Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Ann Lamott and Spin: How Politics Has the Power to Turn Marketing on Its Head by Clive Veroni.

Other Reading Goals:

I had plans to read 50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors to celebrate 150+ years of Canada but only finished 34. There were many wonderful picture books on the list. I ended up purchasing two copies of We Sang You Home by by Richard Van Camp & Julie Flett; one for each of my grandbabies. The best part of this personal challenge was discovering some stunning writers. I highly recommend Nobody Cries at Bingo by Dawn Dumont. (Upon finishing it, I read just about everything else she has published.) The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline was dark and profound. Medicine Walk and Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese were stellar reads. The Break by Katherena Vermette is another dark and memorable read. I know that one of my reading goals for next year will be to read at least another 25 adult titles from this category.

I finished all the Chocolate Lily titles for which I was a juror. I appreciated this opportunity to read many different kinds of books by local writers.

Finally, I challenged myself to read at least 333 books this year. I ended up reading 398. I think this indicates that while I didn't finish everything on my lists, I still managed to get in a lot of reading this year!