Best Books I Read in 2017 (By Category)

I have never been much of a reader, but in 2017 I wanted to change that. After only reading one book in all of 2016 and none that I can recall in 2015, I decided to try and read 30 books this year. 

I failed.

I did manage to finish 25 books though, which is quite an improvement from the years before so I’m not totally disappointed. 

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I’ve set a goal to read 40 in 2018 because I plan to work in more audiobooks. (I only recently discovered I enjoy them). I realize there are people out there who read hundreds of books each year, but I have accepted the fact that I will never be one of those people. I do think I can manage 40 though, and if that goes well, we'll reevaluate and go from there. 

But before we take off into the new year, I wanted to share some of my favorites of 2017 for anyone who cares. So here we go…

Favorite Fiction Book: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


Summary: I’ve yet to find a way to summarize this one in a way that sounds appealing. When people ask me what it’s about I say “Oh it’s spectacular! It's about this old man who is trying to kill himself, but his neighbors keep interrupting him.” It’s much more pleasant and upbeat than it sounds. I flew through it because I just fell in love with the characters so much, especially Ove.

Most important takeaways: We never know what people are going through, and even grumpy people need friends.

Favorite quote: “We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like ‘if.’”

Honorable mention (Fiction): The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 

Favorite Non-fiction Book: Braving the Wilderness by Brene`Brown


Summary: Brene` Brown is queen. This book is about discovering true belonging mainly by accepting and loving yourself. I had to reread several of the paragraphs multiple times before the points really sank in, but there’s a good chance I will reread this book every year to remind myself of its truths. 

Most important takeaways: You will never be open with sharing your story – especially its ugly parts – with others until you make peace with it. And there is an important difference in fitting in and belonging.

Favorite quote: “True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

Honorable mention (Non-fiction): Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

Favorite Work-Related Book: Design Your Day by Claire Diaz-Ortiz


Summary: My former boss gave me this tiny book, and I was surprised at how much I loved it. This will also be a re-read for me because it’s packed with valuable information on how to best manage your time and also focuses on the importance of rest and self-care.

Most important takeaways: It’s ok to say no. Even if you don’t have a reason. To commitments. To events. To people. To the pressure to have it all together. It’s ok to say no.

Favorite quote: “In everything we do, we need to think about when we are really making an impact and always seek out the way to do less to do more.”

Honorable mention (Work-Related): The Art of Work by Jeff Goins 

Favorite Children’s Book: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis


Summary: I don’t know how I never read the Chronicles of Narnia as a child, but I missed that boat completely. I know most everyone is familiar with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but The Magician’s Nephew was completely unfamiliar to me, and it rocked my world. In this story, two kids get transported into another world by a magician and it leads them on a massive adventure. This is the book in which Aslan actually sings Narnia into existence, and I cried when I read that part. I still have to finish the last two books in the series, but this is my favorite thus far.

Most important takeaways: Just because we’re adults doesn’t mean we have to lose our imaginations. 

Favorite quote: “He has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would only hear growling and roarings. Oh Adam’s son, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that might do you good.” - Aslan

Honorable mention (Children’s): Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

Favorite Memoir: Yes Please by Amy Poehler


Summary: I’ve always thought Amy was hilarious, but in this book she’s both really funny and really real. I liked seeing this other side of her. Also, this was my first ever audiobook to listen to. She reads it herself, which makes it that much more enjoyable. 

Most important takeaways: Dream big, work hard and don’t do things for other people. Do it for yourself. 

Favorite quote: “You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.”

Honorable mention (Memoir): Bossypants by Tina Fey

Since I only completed 25 books, that’s about all of the categories I can cover. I’m hoping to expand my categories next year and maybe have more honorable mention awards. A few books I’ve already purchased and are sitting on my cute little bookshelf ready to be perused are:

Present over Perfect by Shauna Neiquist
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Daring Greatly by Brene` Brown
Finish by Jon Acuff
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

Others on my “Want to Read” list on GoodReads include:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Deer
Invisible Influence by Jonah Berger
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines
Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman
Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran For
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Being Boss by Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson

What else should I add to my list for 2018? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to put in your email below to subscribe to this blog.