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My 2017 Booklist

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The summer is coming and reading by the pool is a high priority on my agenda. I love to sit poolside with an iced tea (of course) while reading a good book.

In the spirit of the summer season, I decided to organize my reading list. Because it is so huge and I need to record it all in one place.

Will I actually read all of these books before 2017 ends?

Perhaps. But maybe not.

And that is okay with me because I’ll just put the remaining titles on a list for 2018.

Without further ado, this is “Mary’s Completely Ridiculous Amount of Books to Read Booklist” otherwise known as the “2017 Booklist”

My 2017 booklist

{This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.}

Titles that I read will be removed and relocated to the bottom of this post with a few thoughts.

If never-ending booklists are your thing, be sure to follow me on Facebook to keep up with my thoughts about the books as well as good sales when I see them!

2017 Booklist: Professional Development – Homeschooling

Creative Schools by Sir Ken Robinson
The One World Schoolhouse by Salman Kahn
Teach like Finland: 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms by Timothy D. Walker
Let’s Play Math by Denise Gaskins
Mindset by Carol S. Dweck
Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler
The Growth Mindset Coach by Annie Brock
Give Your Child the World by Jaime Martin

2017 Booklist: Professional Development – Writing

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Writing with Power by Peter Elbow
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

2017 Booklist: Personal Development

Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey off the Beaten Path by Erin Loechner
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters by Rachel Macy Stafford
Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross

2017 Booklist: Just For Fun

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
The Bronze Horseman (Book One of a Series) by Paulina Simmons
Outlander (Book one of a Series) by Diana Gabaldon
Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati
The Circle by Dave Eggers (then I’ll see the movie)
The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
A Discovery of Witches (Book One of a Series) by Deborah Harkness
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman
Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Lake House by Kate Morton
This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Neffenegger
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Book 1 of a series)
Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

2017 Booklist: Our Future Homeschool Titles

A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Georges by Alexandre Dumas
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
The Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

2017 Booklist: Theology Books

(cause theology books and podcasts are fun for me!)

A History of God by Karen Armstrong
Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost my Faith and Found it Again Through Science by Mike McHargue
The Sin of Certainty by Pete Enns
Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott
Help. Thanks. Wow by Anne Lamott

2017 Booklist: Non-Fiction

The Trigger: Hunting the Assasin who Brought the World to War by Tim Butcher
The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

2017: The Books I Have Read

Just for Fun Fiction

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I read this one at the beach in May and it was perfectly creepy and suspenseful, which I love. I felt as confused as the main character the entire time. I look forward to reading more by this author as she definitely kept me turning the pages!

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Haunting and mysterious, this book drew me into the world of Vida Winter and her story. I felt as if I was moving through a somewhat magical world as the story unfolded. The language used and the author’s writing is truly beautiful. I absorb YA fiction, so this was a lovely change.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallero

In this tale, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes meets the great-great-great-grandson of Dr. Watson at a prep school in the US.

Admittedly, I was never a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, though I did enjoy the TV series. That was enough background knowledge for me to enjoy this book. If you were a fan of the book then you will have a lot more knowledge about the crime scenes in this tale.

This wasn’t a favorite of mine, but I enjoyed it enough to keep the remaining titles in mind for poolside reading this summer.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

Beautifully written and wonderfully suspenseful. I can hardly believe that I never read this classic title. I have vague memories of seeing the Alfred Hitchcock movie, but I can’t be sure so I have added that movie to my summer movie list.

I enjoyed the plot twists and was carried along through Maxim’s second wife’s thoughts throughout the story. I believed as she believed and therefore was surprised at the ending. Great read.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

My 14-year-old read this one and told me that it was “okay”. She was so eager to read it that if she didn’t really love it then I am not going to bother. I was only reading it to discuss it with her and I did read some of it before I handed it over to her. We had a little discussion about it and she went with it.

So I removed it from the “to read” list and put it down here even though I didn’t read it. It was read by SOMEONE in the house. (*wink)

The Dry by Jane Turner

This one was a perfect summer read. It is a murder mystery that unfolds the past and the present as you read. The setting is hot and dry and it adds to the intensity of the mystery.

I did not predict the ending which is a nice bonus! When you read enough mystery books and watch enough crime shows, you sometimes predict the ending too easily!

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Now, I have to be honest, I enjoyed this but I can’t say I loved it right away. After finishing, I called a friend who really loved it and we began discussing it. That conversation was the opening I needed to dig deeper and to process this book more fully.

Suddenly, I wanted to know what happened beyond the ending of the book. I wanted more. And thankfully, Hulu (the TV subscription service) has answered the desire of many of us who want to know more. They have created a television mini-series and it is incredible. Season One is available for viewing online and it is amazing.

Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer.

Here we have another title that “interrupted” my official book list with its unannounced appearance. I ran across the title during a conversation on Facebook and I checked it out.

I am so glad that I allowed myself this detour from my official list. This book made me laugh and even cry. The reflections on motherhood and yoga ranged from hysterical to profoundly honest to emotional.

I do not participate in yoga at all, yet I was able to follow the yoga class section and maintain interest. Great book!

Paper Towns by John Green

I read this one because my 14 year old really enjoyed it and she wanted to discuss it. I am a big fan of John Green (on YouTube) so I took her up on the recommendation and I read it.

The book definitely held my attention but it wasn’t my favorite. I wanted to smack the lead character because of everything he was doing to hunt down the girl.

It is a coming of age story that captures the confusion, desperation, and frivolity of adolescence well.

Young Adult Literature for Brave Writer Job

One aspect of my job at Brave Writer is writing party school book club guides for the Arrow and Boomerang book titles. The party school ideas are included in the back of the Arrow and Boomerang book guides, which can be purchased as part of an annual subscription or individually as they are released.

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

I enjoyed this book more the second time through after watching the Netflix mini-series. I love the way that the narrator “talks” to the audience throughout the story.

Of course, this time through I was reading it for work as I was writing a party school book club guide for Brave Writer. There is plenty of material in this book for a very memorable book club!

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I read this one for our coming homeschool year and enjoyed it immensely. The stories of several individual characters are weaved together in this dystopic tale.

Most of the population of the planet is wiped out in a fictional pandemic, the Georgia Flu, and survivors must learn a new way of living. Mainly told through the lens of the post-pandemic world, the author creatively flashes back to the pre-pandemic world and fills in the gaps in the backgrounds of the main characters.

Walking by Henry David Thoreau

This was not my favorite book. It was not even close to being my favorite book.
That being said, it is ideal for a high school literature class and I recognize the importance and value of reading such work.

The book is a lecture given by Henry David Thoreau and is part of transcendental literature. In this lecture/essay, Henry David Thoreau makes his case for the importance of nature to mankind.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Love. Love. Loved this book. This is the sort of book that makes me so happy that I “have” to read young adult literature as part of my job and my role as a homeschool mom.

Suzy and Franny were best friends until middle school and then things began to change. Readers everywhere will relate to the difficulty of navigating friendships and feelings during the teen years.

The book is sad and hopeful at the same time. I absolutely think that this is a fantastic read, especially for 7th-9th grade girls.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

This was another book that was an absolute pleasure to read. I am grateful that my middle school girls book club will read this one in September.

This book weaves multi-cultural themes and immigrant realities into a beautiful tale of a young girl and her family. You’ll also find multi-generational family themes to discuss and enjoy.

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

I enjoyed it the first time through many years ago and the second time through just this week.

This book is an Arrow book title this year and it is on the list for my boys’ book club.  Set during the pre-revolutionary war time period in US History, this historical fiction brings this time period to life. Johnny is a likable, flawed character and we get to journey with him as his life takes an unexpected turn.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This book beautifully weaves together multiple story lines. The story is full of fantastical and magical elements including dragons and magic. The themes of love, fear, and control are evident throughout the story.

The people of the protectorate live in fear of the witch so they sacrafice one baby to her each year. No one has ever questioned the practice until now…

I was looking forward to this title and it did not disappoint even though fantasy is not typically my favorite genre. I look forward to discussing this one with my middle school girls book club this year.

Theology Books

What is the Bible by Rob Bell

I am a HUGE fan of Rob Bell’s podcast but I have not been a fan of his books. I have often said that he is a better speaker than writer, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book.

I wasn’t feeling so impressed in the first few chapters, but then the book began to really interest me. I don’t agree with every conclusion that Rob makes but he always gives me a lot to think about. I appreciated the back section of the book where he tackled some of the big questions of faith as related the bible.

Pastrix by Nadia Boltz-Weber

Be warned that Pastor Nadia Boltz-Weber has a bit of a mouth on her so there is language throughout this book. Her past includes alcohol and drug addiction and the book includes the reality of her lifestyle as well as the many others she currently works with.

This book is her story and the story of her church. It read more like a collection of short stories and I loved it.

There are four golden lines in my golden lines journal from this book because I simply could not choose only one or two. I am going to see her speak in Durham, NC in 2018 and I can not wait.


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  1. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I just finished The Little Book of Hygge last week. I must admit, I was very disappointed by it. I felt that as a homeschooler, especially a Julie Bogart/ Brave Writer follower, a lot of this was already being incorporated…the candles, adding community into your home, etc. It is a quick read, though. I am currently enjoying The Book of Joy with the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu a thought provoking read for personal development.

    1. Good to know. I am probably going to feel the same way because we also do many of the Brave Writer lifestyle elements. Thanks for sharing two more titles to check out!

  2. I really enjoyed All the Light We Cannot See. One of the best fiction books I’ve read in awhile! My kids really liked Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, too.

    1. Leslie, I have heard that All the Light We Cannot see is amazing. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for popping in!

  3. I’m staggered by the length of your reading list, do you see read? I have an interest in learning but not sure I have the discipline and have a little fear it may take the pleasure out of reading for me but I’d love to read more. Summer for me is too busy to read much, the garden occupies quiet a lot of summer time but it’s winter here and I’m trying to make reading a higher priority. Your list looks interesting, I’m currently reading Station Eleven but it’s not convincing me. I just Finished The Lake House and loved it! Excellent story complex plot.

    1. Thanks, Helen! I’ll have to move The Lake House up higher on my list. I don’t speed read as some sort of skill, but I do reqd quickly naturally. I have a suspicion that many of these titles will end up on my 2018 list. 😉

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