- Reaching over 100 followers on WordPress, I’m glad to know that there are some people reading!
- Connecting with this readers has been such a fun and enlightening experience.
- I got a very positive reaction to the first short story that I published; “Home Sweet Home”
- I read just about eighty books this year!
- A retweet from Shappi Khorsandi saw my blog traffic shoot up in February. Thanks Shappi! Read a review of her book here.
- I read a lot more poetry this year. I credit Allie Esiri’s ‘A Poem For Every Night Of The Year’ with reviving my interest in poetry as well as the availability of good poetry books in my local library. Instagram is also has a great poetry community.
- I found a healthy balance between reading and reviewing. I finally accepted that I cannot nor do I need to review every word that I read!
Top Five Most Popular Posts In 2017
- ‘Nina is not OK’ ~ Shappi Khorsandi
- POETRY: Three great poems written to be read aloud
- EXCLUSIVE: ‘The Shape Of Bones’ ~Daniel Galera
- A creepy short story… “Home Sweet Home”
- COSTA BOOK AWARD WINNER: ‘Days Without End’ – Sebastian Barry
Best Reads of 2017
I just can’t bring myself to make a ‘top five’ because every book is different. Here are a selection of books that I will continue to recommend in 2018. I really enjoyed these!
- The Books That Improved My Perspective on Life: ‘The Consolations of Philosophy’ ~ Alain de Botton and ‘Carpe Diem Regained’ ~ Roman Krznaric…both of these books are relatively unknown but don’t let that deter you. They are packed full of knowledge nuggets that will change how you think about life.
- The One That Reminded Me Why I Read Books: ‘Reservoir 13’ ~Jon McGregor…simply amazing. I still can’t believe that this did not make the Man Booker Shortlist. Jon McGregor’s writing is pure poetry here. An ode to the seasonal nature of life.
- The One That I Could Not Put Down: Elmet ~ Fiona Mozley…I was looking forward to reading this all year. A couple of lukewarm reviews scared me beforehand but the truth is that I binge read the ending on a four hour flight constantly fearing that I would run out of time to see how it ended. An amazing debut novel.
- The One That Lived Up To Its Hype: ‘The North Water’ ~Ian McGuire…Deliciously dark. This book reminded me so much of The Revenant, famous polar expedition tales and Cormac McCarthy. Another book that I could not put down.
- The Emotional Non-Fiction Book That Blew Me Away: ‘I Found My Tribe’ ~Ruth Fitzmaurice…If I was forced to pick a Book Of The Year, this would have a very good chance of winning. This is such an inspirational book about courage and love in the face of adversity. It is beautifully and honestly written in the style of Paul Kalanithi’s ‘When Breath Becomes Air.’ A must read.
- The One That Pulled At The Heartstrings: ‘Moonglow’ ~Michael Chabon…This novel by Michael Chabon is based loosely on the life of his grandfather. The story itself is incredible but what really comes across is his grandfather’s undying love for his wife. If you want a book that is a good all-rounder (fiction/non-fiction, adventure, romance, anger, joy, etc) this is for you.
- The Classic One: ‘The Waves’ ~Virginia Woolf…This is definitely a book that I will come back to again and again. The Waves is a mind-boggling inventive work of art. Reading it was a surreal experience. This is why I should read more classics!
- The Adventurous One: ‘The Lost City Of Z’ ~ David Grann…I just finished this recently after watching the film of the same title. This book really brought the true story of famous Amazonian explorer Percy Fawcett alive. In its own way, it reminded me very much how much we still don’t know about the world. Fawcett’s story also inspired ‘The Explorer’ by Katherine Rundell which is an adventure tale for younger readers.
- The Last Read Of The Year That Will Sneak Onto This List: ‘The Underground Railroad’ ~ Colson Whitehead…I am currently stuck in this one and it is simply breath-taking. Whitehead does not waste a paragraph with his masterful writing. He is definitely an author that I will examine more closely in 2018.
- And last but not least…Anything by Ryan Holiday!: I can’t finish a review of 2017 without mentioning the author who has most influenced me this year. For more info read my Ryan Holiday Double Review or my review of ‘The Daily Stoic’ by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman.