2017 In Review

Fresh Air (1878)
Winslow Homer
source Wikiart

2017 Reading Stats:

Number Of Books You Read: 23 (wailing and tearing my hair ~ well, no, not really)

Number of Re-Reads: 5 

Genre You Read The Most From: Classics

Best in Books

Best book you read in 2017: The Histories by Herodotus.  Yes, honestly.  It was a meagre year for reading.  No offense to Herodotus though …. it WAS good.

Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’tThe Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope.  Perhaps it wasn’t much of a surprise. However, while I’m used to this series being light, Trollope also manages to weaves some depth into these books.  With this one, it was all about love affairs and a very silly woman.  It was somewhat annoying.

Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read in 2017: In a good way, The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm.  It was recommended to me.  Fromm is very counter-cultural, but his assessment of people’s ability to love, or more the lack of it, made so much sense!  Our society does NOT practice any disciplines that will help us love better, and in fact, practices disciplines that hurt our ability to love.  We need to be aware this in order to be present in our relationships with not only those closest to use but humanity in general.  This is definitely a book that everyone should read!

Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2017:   I haven’t even finished it myself yet, but it was Plato’s Republic.  I really think this is a beneficial book to read and we should push ourselves, not only to get through it, but open our minds to it!  It can also be taken too seriously, but experienced in balance, I believe it may change us in ways that we can’t even imagine.

Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender:  Hmmm …… I didn’t intend to read the WHOLE series, but I, of course, thoroughly enjoyed my re-read of Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson  It’s probably one of my favourite books of all time!

Favorite new author you discovered in 2017:   M.M. Kaye is technically not new, but it’s been sooo long since I read anything by her, I’m going to call her new (and for lack of anyone else to choose from).  I love her writing, and how she is able to craft a story that draws you right in!

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/ out of your comfort zone:  High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby.  It was on my Guardian’s 1000 books list and in the library so I thought, why not.  Meh!  It was another one of those irresponsible coming-of-age books that are so annoying, where the writer can’t understand why his life is so unfulfilling even though, by his behaviour, it should be patently obvious.  

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year:  I really don’t have a candidate for this category, so I’ll say The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides.  But it perhaps wasn’t action-packed and unputdownable in the conventional way, lol!

Book you read in 2017 that you are most likley to reread next year: None, but if I had to pick one, probably The Man Who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton, only because I listened to it as an audiobook and I’d like to eventually read it.

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017: The Moomins and the Great Flood had kind of a fun cover.

Most memorable characters of 2017:  Mr. Pickwick (The Pickwick Papers) and Horne Fisher (The Man Who Knew Too Much)

Most beautifully written book read in 2017:  Hmmm …… well, probably  Shadow of the Moon by M.M. Kaye fits this category best.  Again, her writing craft draws you right into the story!

Most-thought provoking/ life-changing book of 2017: The Art of Loving.  According to Erich Fromm, there are few people who know how to love well.  But in order to love well, like anything else worthwhile, it takes dedication and consistent hard work.  Again, definitely a must-read!

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read: The Histories

Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2017: There were so many good quotes in  The Art of Loving but I’m going to go with this one:  “…. Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person; it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not towards one “object” of love.  If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbolic attachment, or an enlarged egotism.  Yet, most people believe that love is constituted by the object, not by the faculty.”  ~~ Erich Fromm

Shortest/longest book you read in 2017: The Moomins and the Great Flood by Tove Jansson (52 pgs.) & The Histories by Herodotus (953 pgs.) 

Book that shocked you the most: High Fidelity probably because it’s puzzling how someone can be so self-destructive and so blind to one’s own behaviour at the same time.  Also rather depressing because I think we can all be blind in this way.  Some to a larger extent than others.

OTP of the year: Alex and Winter from Shadow of the Moon!  I thought, however, that their relationship would be rather rocky.

Favorite non-romantic relationship: Pickwick and Sam Weller from The Pickwick Papers.

Favorite book you read in 2017 from an author you’ve read previously:  The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton.  And I finally did enough research to “get” what Chesterton was trying to communicate.  Yippeee!

Best book you read in 2017 that you read based solely on a recommendation from someone else: The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm, recommended by my aunt.

Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year:  Shadow of the Moon.  But Herodotus did a good job with his narrative and Dickens is always a good romp!

Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read: Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome.  His writing is fabulous and I laughed so hard much of the book!

Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2017: None this year.

Hidden gem of the year:  The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm.    

Most unique book you read in 2017: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton.  Chesterton has the most unique style of writing that I’ve experienced.  His books take work, but boy, they’re worth it!

Book that made you the most mad: High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby.  Again, don’t act stupidly, with little regard for others and expect your life to turn out well.  Don’t be surprised when you’re alone and isolated.  Don’t be delusional ……  

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017:  The award goes to Mudpuddle’s Mudpuddle Soup blog.  For a long time he’s been populating our blogs with insightful and amusing comments.  Now he’s launched his own blog.  Check it out.

Favorite review that you wrote in 2017: The Great Ideas ~ Opinion and Majority Rule by Mortimer J. Adler, only because it spurred some excellent conversation.

Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog: see above.

Best event that you participated in:  The Shadow of the Moon Read-Along hosted by Cirtnecce at Mockingbirds, Looking Glasses and Prejudices …… and the finish of the very long read-along of The Pickwick Papers hosted by O at On Bookes.  I really would love to be part of more read-alongs.

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017:  I must say, I was very pleased that I posted by book/chapter of both The Histories and The History of the Peloponnesian War.  It was an arduous job but very satisfying.  It’s made me more consoled at my terrible book total for the year.

Most popular post this year on your blog: My Hamlet, the Prince or the Poem? an essay by C.S. Lewis was again a leader this year, followed by The World of Tomorrow by E.B. White

Post you wished got a little more love:  None.

Best bookish discovery:  I will sound like a broken record but, The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year: I can hardly talk about this.  I didn’t complete the Back to the Classics, or my Deal Me in, nor have I progress well through either my Well-Educated Mind Project or My Great Ideas Project, although the last I was most happy with.  

Looking Ahead

One book you didn’t get to in 2017 but will be your number 1 priority in 2018: The Republic by Plato.  I need to finish this.  I also want to get to The Last Chronicle of Barset to finish The Barsetshire Chronicles.

Book you are most anticipating for 2018 (non-debut): A hard one because I don’t want to commit to anything but possibly The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake.

Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2018: The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope.  This answer is the same as last year.  How depressing …. 😉

One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2018:  I’ve started a food blog called Journey to the Garden, which is taking up much of my time.  The start-up and promotion takes a big chunk, so I envision, as we get more well-known, that I will have more time to get back to reading.  When this will happen is not known but hopefully sometime in 2018.  And if I’m honest, with better time-management, I should have more time for reading.  Wish me luck.

A long and prosperous reading year for everyone in 2018!!

The Magdalene Reading (1445)
Rogier van der Weyden
source Wikiart

Thanks again to Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner for hosting this survey!

27 thoughts on “2017 In Review

  1. Cleo, you've had so much going on, you shouldn't feel that you haven't read enough, imo, anyhow… each day is a book and what we choose to do is the printing in it… just because it's not between covers doesn't mean it's not important… i'm sure next year will be a wonderful one and you'll achieve wonderful things… and tx a lot for mentioning my blog, lowly as it is, but mine own…

  2. I think the very variety, quality and the level of difficulty of some of the books you took up, is in itself an accomplishment, especially taking into account the rough year you have had! But I am glad you enjoyed The Shadow of the Moon and I seeing why you are ranting and raving about The Art of Love…..that one is very insightful!! Here's to a new year of books, bloggish adventure, health, and laughter! In the words of Tiny Tim, God Bless us, Everyone! 😀

  3. That was an intense post. It also seems that you've had an extremely busy year. Knocked on the noggin, the food blog, etc, etc.

    but at 60+ posts, you averaged more than 1 a week. Pretty dang good especially with some of the books you read. And readalongs.

    I love year end posts. Seeing how someone thinks about their year all packaged up nicely, ahhhhh.

    On a weird note, I haven't been able to comment with my WordPress credentials whenever I am signed in through google. I'm going to try signing out of google and see what happens.

  4. Yep, that was it. I have to sign out of Google for my WP creds to work. That's just odd.

    However, that is also good to know and I'll probably just keep on commenting with the google account even though the WP one is where all the non-review posts end up on 🙂

  5. I just don't feel like ME when I don't read, so I know I definitely have to spend more time at it next year. I quite love how you've chosen a book as an apt metaphor for life! Just great! And I'm so glad that you started a blog this year and somewhat bothered that I haven't had the time to pour over it. But next year is a new year and I'll see what I can do. Have a great new year!

  6. Yes, this year has been rough in more ways than one. I sure hope next year brings sunnier skies. If I can get through The Republic and City of God, I will certainly breath easier. Thanks for all your support and positive vibes, friend! They are much appreciated!!!!

  7. Wow, I never even thought of looking at my total yearly posts! Duh! Well, that makes it look much better and I feel much better because of it. I did slow down at the end of the year so I definitely need to pick it up. If I can stay away from those enormous tomes, I might fare much better; I had tons of those this year. And I still have The Faerie Queene hanging over my head but the less said about that, the better. 😉 I'm sure your year has been your usual 100+ books. Strangely that inspires me, instead of intimidates me. I do wish posts could be done somewhere other than at the computer though. It's one of the reasons I'm enjoying food blogging: you're at the computer to compile a post, but the cooking and photography is done somewhere else AND you're moving. I'll have to invent another way of reading and blogging, ha ha! In any case, all the best for 2018!

  8. I've almost given up figuring out how these platforms work. With food blogging, they are always talking about sites changing their algorithm and with each change there appears to be some sort of problem. Glad you could figure it out thought!

  9. I am so impressed by your reading of Thucydides, I can't even tell you. I totally failed. This was not a good year for challenging books, for me.

    I tried reading Gormanghast once and got about 30 pages. I keep meaning to try out Titus Groan (maybe in January, for Vintage SF Month!) but I'll admit to a lot of trepidation.

  10. I loved Thucydides! But don't worry ….. I'm not delusional. I know that I'm in the minority. 😉

    I have some trepidation as well for Gormenghast. I have to get over the Plato and Augustine hump and I then will have more energy to think about it.

    All the best for 2018!

  11. Yeah, just finished my last book for the year and that puts me at 194. I did start using page numbers as a metric this year, so I'll be stating the yearly total once I figure it all out. That won't help for a comparison this year but it starts me at something and allows me to compare as long as I keep on using it for future times.

    I've tried using audio to work in an extra book or 5 but I just don't really like it. So it's strictly the written word for me.

  12. This was fun to read – congrats on your 2017 reading and blogging accomplishments!! I really must check out The Art of Loving; the topic's been haunting me since I read Kierkegaard's book on the same. Also looking forward to your thoughts on Gormenghast… I've heard it's kind of Dickensian in style.

    Happy New Year and thanks for sharing your bookish adventures with us! 🙂

  13. I must concur: your posts on Herodotus Histories were stupendous! You put so much effort into reading it, and that is why you got so much out of it. Well done!

    Happy New Year!

  14. Just 23 books? I know people who haven't read 1 book this year! No, numbers, stats are nice but not conclusive. This only means you are spending your time on other fun things..like cooking! Happy New Year for later today…and keep your fingers crossed for my cinnamon swirls. They could be my disaster of the year, but luckily the year is almost over!

  15. Well, my page count doesn't even make me feel better. I checked and it's less than half of the pages compared to the last two years and a quarter of the one before. Yikes! I better get reading and off the social media!

  16. Thanks, Marian! Do check out The Art of Loving. I think you'd love it! I really enjoyed your blog this year and I hope you're able to continue with your podcasts! Have a great New Year! XO

  17. Herodotus was fun! And Thucydides and Plato …… I just wish at times that they didn't take so much effort, especially Plato. I will conquer him though! 😉 Thanks for the support and have a fantastic new year!

  18. When I had one year when I read over 80 books, 23 seems so piddly. But you're right that my attention has been focused on other things. If i counted my food blogging posts as books, I'd be much higher! I already "liked" your cinnamon swirls. I'm on sweet-overload and January will be sugar-free and vegetable heavy. Have a super fantastic New Year, Nancy!

  19. Another great year, though I rarely have time to comment any more. Best wishes,
    Brenton from A Pilgrim in Narnia

  20. I completely understand …… my life is unbalanced in a number of ways and in 2018 I'm really going to struggle to get it more back in tune with the practicalities of life, but also the leisure that brings thought, connects one with others and allows us to grow as people. All the best to you in 2018, Brenton, and may your days be balanced as well!

  21. Happy New Year, Cleo! It sounds to me, with all you’ve had going on, that you’ve done quite well with your reading—though I can always sympathize with wanting time for more. Certainly, I’d say the quality of your reading year was much better than mine.

    It’s always hard to find the right “balance” though. Someone I work with actually said the other day that, in her opinion, we have to accept that there is no such thing as “balance” and once we do that we will be happier. Rather, we need to find the “rhythm” of life and flow with that. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes.

    I’ve long had Gohrmenghast on my TBR list, but never gotten closer than checking it out from the library and returning it unread. Maybe a future readalong possibility???

  22. Interesting thoughts about balance ….. with a quick reaction, I'd say that I'd disagree because so many things in life seem to need to be balanced to work well. A (probably bad) example is of a car ….. if you keep your gas pedal floored, you'll probably crash before you get to your destination, but if you don't touch it at all, you'll never get anywhere. Instead you need a combination of pressure and a lessening of that pressure to succeed …. a flux up and down, just like life. It's an interesting theory though ….. I'm going to think about it.

    I will let you know when I pick up Gormenghast. Cirtnecce is interested in reading it to so the three of us should be able to make heads or tails out of it. 🙂

  23. I'm a big fan of Mr. Pickwick and Sam Weller–a prototypical bromance! I also was frustrated with The Small House at Allington, but Last Chronicle of Barset is SO MUCH better! Hope you get to it in 2018, Happy reading.

  24. Ah yes, I have to find my Kindle charger cord to be able to finish The Last Chronicle! Thanks for the inadvertent reminder, lol! Thanks for the wishes and right back at you, Jane! 🙂

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