This year I read a lot of good books and a lot of not so good ones too, I try to limit this one to the very favourite ones, but you can of course just have a look at my goodreads page. So, these are not just book that were really good, but also books that touched me on another level. This year I also really got into 19th century – after being a bit bored with Young Adult novels, I tried something new and I feel a lot more comfortable with literature from the 19th and 20th century (I read more books from/about the 19th century than the 21st). Here is the entire 2017 shelf on goodreads.
Mary Shelley – Frankenstein
His eyes have a general expression of wildness, and even madness, but there are moments when, if any one performs an act of kindness towards him or does him any the most trifling service, his whole countenance is lighted up, as it were, with a beam of benevolence and sweetness that I never saw equalled.
Actually, this is in no particular order, besides this one. This within reading it for the first time became my favourite book. Before this I was always stuck thinking when someone asked me about my favourite book, but this, this is it. I cannot stress enough how much this book means to me, but I tried here. I read it three times this year, and I plan on reading it very often in the future. The writing, the scenery, the characters, it’s a wonderful, dreamy book.
Friedrich Dürrenmatt – Die Physiker
This is maybe the only one that did not move me on an emotional level, but this has to be mentioned. It’s a very good drama about important topics, yet still fun. My review can be found here.
J. Sheridan Le Fanu – Carmilla
All the romantic stories on here are somewhat gay, and I love it. I do not want to spoil any of this (here is my review), but I would highly recommend reading this if you enjoy 19th century gothic horror. This is beautifully written and a fantastic story. It’s basically spoiledin every blurb, but this is very short, so try just picking it up and reading it without any further information.
Sappho – Come Close
Dew is poured out in handsome fashion; lissome
Chervil unfurls; Rose
And Sweet Clover with heady flowers blossom.
Sappho’s poetry was on my list for a while, so I was happy to find this short collection. Her writing is wonderful and truly makes me want to learn Anciant Greek. The poems are very soft and romantic, you find my review here. I hope to read more of her poems soon, because they are just lovely.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky – White Nights
Same goes for Dostoyevsky, I now want to read a lot of his work. Though I think I never might have picked this up, had I not been seated at the Dostoyevsky table at my graduation. And I am unbelievable glad I did, because this little story about a dreamer was so touching and very important to me. I related to this very much and with the beautiful writing this was such a joyful read, find the review here.
Tove Jansson – Finn Family Moomintroll
I only read this one recently again, but besides the story being adorable, this also really inspired me on another level. After reading this I got rid of a lot of stuff and I now feel like wandering. The book made it a lot easier for me to say goodbye to things and I feel very refreshed. Also, I felt a deep connection to Snufkin and his personality, I hope to read more of these soon. Review.
Mackenzie Lee – Gentleman’s Guide
And I wish in that moment that I were brave. I wish to God I were. But I’m shaking and terrified […].
My first instinct is to faint with fear, but everyone else is being brave, and that makes me feel courageous too.
I mentioned that I barely reach for YA anymore, but this one is not just one of the best YA books, but also one of the best books I ever read. It is both fluffy at parts and deals with very dark topics (abuse, discrimination etc.). This makes me very emotional, but in a good sort of way. It’s not just an adventure novel or a tragic queer romance, it is a lot more than that. This book is both serious and light-weight at the same time with such elaborate characters and the wonderful backdrop of 18th century Europe. I just love this book with my whole heart, you can find a very long review here.
Honorable Mentions: This year I read both Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist and Wishful Drinking and I enjoyed them both a lot. Fisher was one of my favourite actresses and her writing is so fresh and enjoyable. She has been through a lot and the books are very personal, I highly recommend them. I read another work by Lessing, this time Der Freigeist – this is fun, yet philosophical, I think this might also be a great start to his work. With my love for 19th century Bavarian/Austrian royality among other things I read Sophie Charlotte. Sisis leidenschaftliche Schwester by Christian Sepp, a very interesting read about a person I barely knew and due to this got a very personal look. Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope was a book I saw on Instagram, forgot about, then found in Stockholm. It is incredibly fun and perfect if you’re looking for an easy read.
My reading plans for next year would be to continue the 19th century “trend”, continue with the Sherlock Holmes novels and the last two Austens, as well as more of Mary Shelley’s, Dostoyevsky (russian lit in general) and Le Fanu’s work. But I’d also like to read more non fiction about this time, I read quite a few biographies this year, but I feel like I can top that. Besides that I would also like to reread a few old favourites and some more poetry from Ancient Greece (Sappho e.g.), and maybe even Ancient Rome, because I could technically read original texts by Horace and Ovid. I guess I will have a healthy mix of used books, kindle books and library ones that hopefully add up to about 20.000 pages (I read more than 16.000 this year, which is the most I have documented on goodreads and I think 20.000 would be amazing), I guess that would lead to about 75/80 books, which seems like a good goal, considering I wanted to read 60 this year and got close to 70 (sure, I read 11 of them in December, but I think with my resolution of less phone-procrastinating this might work). I try to throw in some that are more than 500 pages and some Little Black Classics by Penguin, because they are a joy to read.
What did you read in 2017 that really stuck with you?