My Favorite Books of 2017

I read 130 books in 2017, more books than I’ve read in any year before this.

book statistics graph rebecca renner 2017Maybe it’s because I was stressed out. I had a bad breakup with someone who did a lot of lying, but in an unexpected way, he changed my life. After he’d crumpled me up and thrown me away, I said, “Fuck this” to feeling hopeless, and I decided I deserve better – in everything. I discovered that my words mattered. I got a bunch of essays published, and I found a new job as a staff writer for a magazine. I left my stressful, negative job, and I feel – physically, mentally, spiritually – like a weight has been lifted – no, that I have lifted off the weight that had been sinking my passionate heart ever since my father’s death.

True, I dove into books to save myself, but I also swam through books with full force, because I was finally allowing myself to be me. Yes, that means that I can love books about science and statistics while still going outside and having fun.

In all, at least according to Goodreads, I have read 34,321 pages this year (and counting!).

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There have been some good ones and some bad ones. I tried not to give negative reviews if I could help it. After reading a writer friend’s facebook status about the effect a negative review can have on sales – plus everybody knows everybody in the literary community: what you say can and will get back to the writer – I decided it would be better to leave either a five star review or no review at all.

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There were a few notable exceptions. I hated My Absolute Darling, and I don’t care who knows it. If I ever meet the author, which is not as unlikely as it sounds (re: everybody knows everybody), I might ask him what he was thinking in writing something like that.

My Top 5 Favorite Books Published in 2017 –

9780393249316Nomadland by Jessica Bruder – I wrote a review of this book for Ploughshares, but that was honestly not enough room to gush about it. I really hope that I can write a book this good someday. This is my favorite book I read this year. Go buy it/read it/devour it!

From my review: “Wide open highways, the weary kitsch of desert campgrounds, unstable jobs with long hours to make ends meet, the spiritual freedom of losing bonds with material goods and fulfilling a lifetime’s worth of wanderlust—these are the ideas that fill the lives of the itinerant ‘vandwellers’ profiled in Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland, the nonfiction account of life on the road after the Recession.”

My other favorite books have been The Hate U Give, From Here to Eternity, The Living Infinite, and Theft By Finding.

best books of 2017

For a full list of the other books I read this year, check out my 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge page.


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