As we leave 2017, it is time to reflect on a year of reading and I will share a few highlights from 2017. Although my stretch goal had been to read 125 books I completed the year with just 106 books. Again this year, I focused on reading more Canadian authors and I am thrilled to report that I have read 63 books by Canadian authors (almost 60%) including a book set or written by an author in each province and territory during a Cross Canada Challenge. This challenge was great fun and helped me to pick up books that I may never have discovered.
Here are some of my best and worst reads of 2017 which could be added to your TBR lists for the new year:
2017 Book that EVERY Canadian should read: The Break by Katherena Vermette is the book that I thought should have won Canada Reads, the fictional tale shared the impacts of colonialism that devastated generations of indigenous families. It was a tough read but an important one.
My Favourite Book of 2017 – It is hard to believe how relevant The Handmaid’s Tale by the spunky, energetic and creative Margaret Atwood, remains despite being originally published in 1985. This is a great novel which I reread prior to beginning the TV series. I read a number of Margaret Atwood books in 2017 (The Heart Goes Last, Hagseed, Stone Mattress, Alias Grace)and will continue through her collection this year as her books are unique, beautifully written and thought provoking. If you have not read The Handmaid’s Tale or it has been decades since you enjoyed it, I challenge you to pick it up in 2018!Best Non-Fiction book: As part of my Cross Canada challenge, i borrowed a copy of Drifting Home by Pierre Berton from the library. The book was published in the 1970s and detailed his families experience following his father’s trek to find gold in the Yukon. This was a book that I might never have found without a reading challenge and I enjoyed the description of beautiful terrain punctuated by abandoned relics of the past.
Top 10 Reads of 2017:
Best Audio Book: Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe (Stuart McLean) is a book that I would recommend for everyone’s holiday. The podcasts are amazing and the stories are read by the late Stuart Mclean who is the ultimate story teller. His heartwarming stories will live on in paper and audio and in the hearts of those who enjoy the podcasts and books.
The Book that I absolutely could NOT finish: I really wanted to enjoy The Right to Be Cold. It is an important topic – climate change and the impacts on the North AND it was part of Canada Reads but the book needed a LOT more editing. With the author trying to give props to all of her friends, colleagues and those that helped her along the way, it read like a boring who’s who of her life and the reader got lost in the tedious details instead of learning more about the North and her experiences.
Author Events: I have been very privileged to have met 35 authors at events this year. This has added context to my reading and been a fun way to spend time with friends. My signed books shelf has been growing and highlights include: the Canada Reads finale, the Between the Pages Giller event and the amazing Grimsby Author series.
Our Franklin Street Little Free Libraries celebrated their two-year anniversary and the LFL organization feted the opening of over 65,000 libraries. This milestone has greatly surpassed their goal of 2509 libraries (set related to the # of libraries that Andrew Carnegie had supported in the early 1900s including a library here in Brantford and the current Paris library). It was exciting that the City of Brantford has “planted” 10 new LFLs which were decorated by local authors and built by my talented husband!
As everyone knows, I love to share CanLit and the CanadianContent group on Goodreads is growing. If you are looking for a great place to discuss books this is another great place.
2017 was a great year for reading and sharing a love of books. I am looking forward to sharing new chapters and accounts of meeting more authors in 2018!