Well, here we are: the end of another year! Per my Goodreads, I read 51 books over the course of 2017. Some were good, some were great, some were heartbreaking, and a few, I just couldn’t force myself to finish.
I read a lot of non-fiction again in 2017, just like in 2016 — but there were a few fiction pieces in there too! Without any further ado, here are my top ten books I read in 2017 – in no particular order!
Has the political climate in the United States got you down? Wondering what you can do to help? Want to hear from diverse voices who are knowledgeable about the issues at hand and who are living alongside the rest of us, trying to make it one day at a time?
Read this book.
“Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America,” edited by Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding, is a phenomenal read. I actually stumbled upon this book online a while back, and was excited for the chance to read it. My library didn’t have a copy on order yet, so I did what all good readers who don’t want to spend money at the bookstore do: I suggested it be added to the library’s collection!
Sure enough, it was. After ordering it back in October, I was able to pick it up about a month later and be the first to read this library copy. I am so glad I read this book. It made me feel, well… better. Less hopeless. Stronger. More fierce. More ready than ever to not give up and not back down.
“The average American household contains more than 300,000 possessions.”
Read that sentence. Now read it again and really consider it. Astounding, isn’t it?
It’s just one of the tidbits I learned in “Essential,” a book of essays written by The Minimalists. I known I’ve written about these guys before, but wanted to touch base on their book of essays, published in 2015. I requested my library purchase a copy and finally got my hands on it!
At its core, minimalism is about making you think. Rather than mindlessly buying more “stuff,” think about WHY you’re doing it. Rather than stashing things in your closet to collect dust for months, think about WHY you’re doing it. In a world of often-mindless consumption and consumerism, it’s nice to take a step back and think about WHY we own the things we own, WHY we do the things we do, etc.
What value is this [object/person/job/relationship/experience/etc.] bringing to your life?
That’s the question we should all be asking ourselves, and it’s definitely one I need to ask more often. The Minimalists look at that question from a number of perspectives, and in respect to various subjects, in the course of their essays in this book.
Having followed the hockey career of Edmonton Oilers prodigy Connor McDavid since his entrance into the Ontario Hockey League several years ago, I was certainly interested in picking up the book “The McDavid Effect: Connor McDavid and the New Hope for Hockey.”
Since my library didn’t own a copy, I put in an interlibrary loan request, and the book arrived shortly after from the library at St. Lawrence University. The really interesting thing about this book is how new it is; it was released in October 2016, making it less than a year old. It speaks on a lot of history, but also includes a lot of relevant, very recent information. I don’t know that I’ve ever read such an up-to-date book.
Although the title of this book starts with “The McDavid Effect,” it is not just about Connor McDavid. Instead, it is about McDavid and his path through junior hockey and into the NHL, even through his rookie season, yes; but it is also about the Edmonton Oilers franchise, then and now. It is a captivating story that discusses the history of the Oilers franchise, their glory years, their downfall, and now, the arrival of McDavid and the new hope that it has brought to the city & franchise.
Deepa Kumar’s book “Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire” might just be the most important book I’ll read all year – and I strongly suggest that others pick it up and give it a read as well. The book is a few years dated, but it is so important, even moreso in today’s political climate in the United States under Trump. (Honestly, I can only hope Kumar will re-release it in a few years with chapters about what’s going on in the country today, and I can only hope that in a few years, we’ll be better off.)
It took me about two weeks to read this book, if only because I wanted to take my time and really digest it. There’s a lot of information here, starting with the historical context of Islamophobia – not just in the United States – and leading up to the times that casual Islamophobia ran free under President Obama.