What I read in 2017

It’s time for my annual what-I-read-last-year post! My Goodreads profile tells me I read 79 books in 2017 – the most books I’ve read in a year since I started tracking! The link leads to some stats about the books I read – you may need to be a Goodreads user to see it, despite me changing my settings to make my profile public.

I know a lot of people don’t like ebooks, but I read nearly all of those books on my Kobo. I know I wouldn’t read nearly as much if I didn’t have easy access to library books via the Toronto Public Library’s Overdrive page and new this year, the new Libby app. (And this is not a sponsored post; I just really like this stuff.)

And now, here is the full list:

I'll Take You There
The Couple Next Door
Notes from the Blender
From a Good Home
Play
Lead
Deep
Shockaholic
Wishful Drinking
Behind Closed Doors
The Year We Turned Forty
One More Day
Breaking Out of Bedlam
The Affair
Leave Me
The Second Sister
The Things We Keep
Never Too Late
The Conjoined
This is How It Always Is


Melissa’s favorite books »

I tried to leave more ratings for the books I read this year. I’m a generous rater and I don’t like leaving ratings on memoirs – it feels like I’m rating someone’s life – so I didn’t rate everything I read. I left reviews sporadically. I always feel like my reviews are too light/simple when I see some of the longer/more-thought-out ones so any reviews I did leave are pretty superficial, which is fine.

There were a few books I slogged through this year, but if I really didn’t like a book, I abandoned it and didn’t add it to Goodreads. That way, I didn’t screw up my tracking. I liked most of the books I read, but here’s a list of the books that I really enjoyed, in the order that I read them throughout the year:

For 2018, I’ve upped my reading challenge from 55 to 70. I think I can do it. What have you been reading? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Thoughts at the end of 2017, in no particular order

  • There’s just so much to be thankful for right now. 2017 was a mess for so many, many reasons, but on a micro/personal level, it was pretty good.
  • Run‘ by the Foo Fighters was the song of the summer.
  • Go to War‘ by Nothing More was the song of the fall.
  • I read way more books than I challenged myself to read – that post will come in a few days.
  • I’m pretty sure the only concert I saw this year was the Metallica Worldwired show in July – Sean saw more stuff but had to go with other people (or by himself) due to childcare issues
  • I hired a house cleaning service to come to my house once a month and it makes such a difference to my home and my feelings about it. It feels awkward to admit this out loud, but feeling awkward about it is also a bit shame-inducing. Time to just own it and say it out loud.
  • I’m working at home more which saves me money on commuting and lunch costs (I’ve never mastered bringing my lunch to work – too many restaurants near the office). I’m more productive and I still get dressed every day.
  • My loved ones and I are reasonably healthy and content.
  • Life is mostly small, and that’s okay.
  • I’m trying to write more by journaling. I’d like that to lead to other things, but I’m not working as hard at it as I should if I really want it.
  • I’m restless and itchy to create stuff, but still lost in the ‘no one cares what you have to say’ thought pattern. Which leads to not creating, which adds to the restlessness. It’s a bad hamster wheel to be on. Writing this less-than-interesting post is a baby step.

 

Life has been small

Flora drew this for me a few weeks ago:

It was a quick doodle, done while waiting our turn at an appointment. Something to occupy her that didn’t involve a screen. She didn’t want me to look at it initially. She had drawn it in the middle of my notebook so I’d be surprised when I found it. 

I couldn’t resist peeking and I looked for it later that evening when she was hanging out with Sean and I was doing post-dinner cleanup. 

The love – and joy – pouring out of this little doodle brightened up my day in ways she can’t understand yet. 

Her mouth is a heart! 

I went up, told her I’d peeked and thanked her for her drawing. I tried not to let her see me tear up. 

Life has been small lately: work, parent, eat, sleep, repeat. It’s still cool and rainy with just enough occasional bursts of sun to keep everyone from losing all hope. I’ve been working too much and feel like I haven’t been doing any more than the bare minimum for my family.

I often feel like I’m failing everyone, and everything, in my life.

Yet my daughter still loves me. So does Sean. They love me anyway. 

And I love them.

And it’s reminders like this that get me through the hard stuff.

And that makes me think, maybe I’m not screwing everything up.

Now, what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s “it” seems weird and scary to me.

Tonight, Flora showed me some of the stuff she’s been listening to/watching on YouTube with her friends. A lot of the content still seems remarkably adult, despite being creepily sanitized for young ears via Kids Bop, the Mini Pops and children’s YouTube channels.

Tonight’s example, the Haschak Sisters covering Kanye West’s ‘classic 2005 hit’, ‘Gold Digger’:

(Aside: ZOMG, didn’t 2005 just happen?! How is a song written then a ‘classic hit’ now? Oh… math. And the passage of time.)

Part of me is uncomfortable with young girls singing a song and making an accompanying video about some nasty female stereotypes. Another part of me is really impressed at the production values these ‘amateur’ videos have.

I guess this is no worse than when my parents gave me a copy of  the ‘Rock ’87‘ compilation tape for my sister and I to listen to.  I remember my father playing it and singing along to the Paul Lekakis hit, ‘Boom Boom (Let´s Go Back To My Room)’ VERY LOUDLY. I’m still cringing in embarrassment about that, and my dad’s been dead for nearly 26 years. I can’t even remember the last time I heard that song. However, in the name of research, that streak has now been broken. You’re welcome.

(Another aside: this song didn’t even have a music video way back when but a video was made for YouTube nearly a decade ago. Paul Lekakis still seems to be performing live here and there so good for him.)

After I watched the videos she showed me, I asked her when she was going to enter her metal years because that stuff doesn’t scare me. I was laughing when I said it but it reminded me to keep working on her media literacy skills and checking in on what she’s actually watching online because it’s not just Baby Alive videos.

That said, if pop music is her biggest rebellion, we’ll be doing okay.

Grampa Simpson with Homer and Barney
It’ll happen to you… (it happened to me) (This is one of my favourite Simpsons episodes. Pretty sure I’ve quoted this before on the site.)

What I read in 2016

I love Goodreads. It is such a useful site/app to track both what I’ve read and to find new books to read. The yearly Reading Challenge really does keep me motivated to read more. This year I surpassed my goal of 50 books by 38% – that’s an extra 19 books! I owe those extra books to some travel we did and my commute to work (extra reading time is one of the few advantages of my car/train/subway commute into the office). I’ll also acknowledge sunny days on my back deck, my favourite spot on the couch and reading in bed while Sean watches sports as other good times for reading.

As you can see from the below list, I read my usual mix of contemporary fiction, biographies/memoirs, “delightfully trashy” romance and a smidge of non-fiction. My fascination with Nantucket summers and ‘summer cottage fiction’ has continued, along with biographies of aging rockers.

What can I say, I am a multi-faceted woman.

I enjoyed all the books on this list – some more than others of course. There were a few I didn’t finish that did not make this list. I’m relieved that I’ve finally allowed myself not to finish books I’m not enjoying.

The books I’d really recommend that you read if you haven’t already are:

What did you read this year? I’d love your recommendations.

Melissa’s read-in-2016 book montage

The Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom
The Good Daughters
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
After Her
Carry On
Fates and Furies
If You Could See What I See
Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable How I Tried to Help the World's Most Notorious Mayor
Our Souls at Night
I'm Coming
Cat's Eye
Winter Street
The Crooked Heart of Mercy
Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!: My Adventures in The Alice Cooper Group
Dirty Rocker Boys
Play
The Nest
Nantucket Nights
Miss New India
The Two-Family House



Melissa’s favorite books »

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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