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5 In Books & Writing

A Look Back at my 2017 Reading Challenge

I didn’t have time in December, but today I’m finally taking the time to look back at my 2017 reaching challenge. Giving you my final book reviews and rounding up the best and worst that I read this year! How exciting!

I wrote three posts about books in 2017:
First Bookish Talk
2nd Bookish Talk
3rd Bookish Talk
And the bonus Feminist Books Gift Guide I put together just ahead of the festive season.

>> I read a total of 51 books. Which is a bit short of the 60-book goal I had set for myself.
>> My favourite book of the year: Homegoing, hands down. Read it if you can!
>> My least favourite book of the year: I have to say it has to be that travel blogging Girl Off The Grid. Not good at all.
>> Longest read: The Name of The Wind (I did start it in 2015…)
>> Shortest read: Hortence and her Shadow (children books do do that).

bookish talk

Now onto my last few reviews of the year:

*Cozy: The Hygge Way to Eat and Live. Gunnar Karl Gíslason, Jody Eddy. 4/5

The Hygge Life was the perfect lifestyle book to read at the beginning of the autumn. It mixes in a perfect manner Scandinavian lifestyle guide and recipes. Tips for hygge gathering and activities juxtaposed with the delicious sounding recipes and some beautiful photos brings for a reading experience covering all senses.

*Homegoing. Yaa Gyasi. 5/5

This is probably my favourite book I’ve read this year. It follows the lineage of two African women and their very different destinies. I didn’t know what to expect when I started to read it and it’s a bit difficult to explain, but it was absolutely beautiful. It was touching above all. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a good read about the slavery trade, about race, about family and about courage.

*London Theatres. Michael Coveney. 3/5

London Theatres goes through time and through the streets of the British capital to show us, as the title says, London theatres. It’s quite the journey and those who love theatre and know London will probably appreciate it. Sometimes it fell into random historical facts, which is a bit tedious if you don’t know London too well, or history of British theatre. But it’s nonetheless an interesting read.

*A Remodelista Manual: The Organized and Artful Home: Pare Down, Put Away, and Discover the Joy of an Uncluttered Home. Julie Carlson. 3/5

This was the perfect read ahead of our house move in October. I loved the idea to have a book with tips and recommendations about how best to organise (and decorate let’s be honest) the home in a certain style. A minimalist and even nordic style that I really appreciate. However, about halfway through my read, the book turned from nice decor recommendation to lifestyle advice, which I didn’t appreciate.

*House of Fiction: From Pemberley to Brideshead, Great British Houses in Literature and Life. Phyllis Richardson. 3/5

House of Fiction is a perfect way to delve back into beloved books. I thought it was very well written and very engrossing. For the books I did read, I could picture the houses I had imagined and the characters populating them so well. However, I found it difficult to follow on the chapters about books I had not read though. What is wonderful about this book is how it mixes both the fictional world of the books with the real life inspiration from the authors. A great read for those who love literature.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Becky Chambers. 4/5

I loved this book. It’s a slow build up and exactly my kind of exploration of characters and universe. When I finished it, it took me weeks to get over it. Every time I opened a new book I wanted these characters to populate it.

*Hortense and the Shadow. Natalia O’Hara, Lauren O’Hara. 4/5

A clever, inspiring, wonderfully written and illustrated children’s book, also for adults to enjoy. I’ll definitely be buying this beautiful book for my future children.

*Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance. Ruth Emmie Lang. 4/5

This novel follows the memorable character that is Weylyn Grey (and the equally memorable Mary). It is set in a normal universe, but this book adds a touch of magic to it, making it mysterious and whimsical all at once. I loved the way it was separated into different sections, with the interludes into present day mixing with the different periods of Weylyn’s life. It was difficult to stop. I higly recommend for young adults, and adults alike, who like a little of magic in their books.

*Written by Hand: An Introduction to the Art of Beautiful Handwriting. Erica Tighe. 3/5

Because I’m smack in the midst of starting to plan our wedding, I thought this book could teach me how to do some nice handwriting and it’s a lovely book. It gave me flashbacks of primary school and learning how to write.

Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living. Linnea Dunne. 4/5

I picked this book up after buying our plane tickets to Sweden. I thought, what better way to prepare for our upcoming trip than to learn how to live life Swedishly. It was very similar to the little book of hygge. 

*The Place We Met. Isabelle Broom. 2/5

This is the first book by Broom that has disappointed me. Usually the stories are enchanting, romantic, a bit cliche, but lovely and surprising. This story didn’t touch me as usual and I found both female characters a bit weak.

*The Little Book of Lagom: How to Balance Your Life the Swedish Way. Jonny Jackson, Elias Larsen. 4/5

This is a great book to learn more about the Swedish concept of Lagom. This book is filled with recipes, friendly tips to live a better balanced life and DIY projects. And the best thing is, it’s done in a great manner. It’s nicely written, and filled with beautiful imagery and drawings. I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about Lagom.

*Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color. Chandler O’Leary, Jessica Spring. 4/5

Dead Feminists is a bit like a historical journey bringing us the stories and memories from feminists across the ages and across the world. I learnt so much reading it and I can recommend for those who want to learn more about badass women across history. It’s also a beautiful book about printing quotes from each one of them.

*Uncommon Type: Some Stories. Tom Hanks. 3/5

I’m not going to lie I thought this was a memoir when I picked it up, but quickly started to enjoy the various fiction short stories. They are well written, with interesting characters and plots. I wouldn’t say it was anything else than a good short story book, but perhaps people will be interested because it’s Tom Hanks who wrote them.

What was your favourite book of 2017?xx

**All the books marked by a star were given to me by the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Ami Schwabenland

    I wish there were a way on Amazon for me to note who recommended a book that finds its way into my shopping cart (Homegoing is there now)! By the time I get to it, I will have forgotten I heard about it from you. Maybe I’ll just start noting that in my reading journal.

    Handwriting…a friend of mine in the US is laid up for a while after an injury, and since there’s nothing real I can do for her from so far away, I’ve been sending hand-written letters and notes to her, one a day. With mail taking nearly a week, she hasn’t even received the first one yet, though I started mailing them 5 days ago! I love hand-writing notes, cards, letters, lists…

  • Any book with “hygge” in the title, I will grab 😉 I just finished my 2017 book post as well! My favorites were probably Tranny and Bleaker House. It was a strange year for reading for me – I read hardly any fiction!

  • I read the little book of Lagom and loved it too! 😉 That mixed with hygge, is such a great concept!! 😀

  • Homegoing is now on my reading list! I’m loving your book reviews posts and that photo surrounded by books! 😀 I’m inspired to write about books in my blog now and maybe do a collab, thanks!

  • Homegoing has been on my to-read list for AGES! I need to get myself down to the library to pick up a copy! I’m aiming to read 60 books this year, too. Last year I aimed for 52 and read 56, so I’m hoping I can make it to 60… although some years I go over my target, and some years I’m way below it!