Books I've Read in 2017

Inspired by @macnchz & @andersun & bunches of you! I also count individual plays here, even if they're anthologized into a compilation edition. 🤓📚📖
  1. Henry VI, Part II - William Shakespeare
    I've been working on reading Shakespeare's canon & writing about each work for about a year & a half, so a few plays will make this list. I read the Henry VI plays as a part of this project & because they were on a recent BBC/PBS mini-series The Hollow Crown. Early play, great villains, about the War of Roses. ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
  2. The Circle - Dave Eggers
    I feel I've made my thoughts on this book clear: Search Sites Where I've Deleted My Record Since Reading The Circle ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
  3. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
    A classic. Part of night time reading featured in Novels with My Daughter. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
  4. Henry VI, Part III - William Shakespeare
    Continuation of Bard project. Lots of battles, events that set Richard III (infamous prototype of the now prevalent villainous man as protagonist type) up to seize power. Revenge is the name of the game, & Queen Margaret is a badass. This play is basically the 16th century version of a brutal action film. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie
    I had never read any Christie, which I realize is ridiculous as she has written over 80 novels. I thought I'd remedy this by starting with her most famous one. It was fun, snappy, twisty, appealed to my love of early 20th century & British storytelling ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. Over Easy - Mimi Pond
    Graphic novel memoir about waitressing at a restaurant in Oakland in the late 1970s. Lots of drugs, lots of hippies vs. punks. Funny, quick read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
  7. Zen and the Art of Writing - Ray Bradbury
    Fascinating essays about how he came to be a writer, how he struggled for a decade to find his voice, his process, how he stays inspired, and how he works on the days when the muse remains elusive. Also about genre and how it is both limiting and wonderful. I learned some fun tidbits from this one — not only did Bradbury write the original script (parts still used!) for the Spaceship Earth ride in EPCOT, by he also wrote 1st draft of Fahrenheit 451 in my college library! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  8. Born a Crime - Trevor Noah
    Just terrific. I don't follow The Daily Show much these days (I'm more a John Oliver gal), but this dude knows how to tell a story. It's a series of essays about growing up as a mixed-race kid born into Apartheid-era South Africa. The very act of his conception was literally punishable by jail. He talks about overall constructs of race & systematic prejudice through his own stories of how he never really fit into any racial group. The stories are funny, heartbreaking, informative. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. Picnic in Provence - Elizabeth Bard
    Sequel memoir about an American who married a French man. In this book, they've been married for awhile & have their first child when they move to a tiny village in Provence where they open an ice cream shop. Yes, this is really her life. 🙄I appreciate the strange paths to find yourself & enjoy hearing the perspective of straddling two conflicting cultures in raising a child. But I'll admit that I rolled my eyes quite a few times nonetheless. Recipes that she includes are good tho ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Life Among the Savages - Shirley Jackson
    Yes, the same Shirley Jackson of creepy tales such as The Lottery & The Haunting. While raising her kids in rural Vermont in the 40s/50s she also wrote hilarious stories about her family for women's magazines. This is a collection of them, AND IT IS PERFECT. Great imagery, laugh out loud dialogue. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  11. The Merchant of Venice - William Shakespeare
    A re-read; I haven't picked it up since university. The problematic tale of a merchant who goes into debt to a Jewish money-lender (rather than interest, he agrees to forfeit a pound of flesh if he can't pay in time). Lots of antisemitism, also heartrending speech about how Jews are men, just like their Christian counterparts. Oh, and it's also a romantic comedy. Big courtroom scene where the dazzling female lead saves the butts of the stupid men who got into the situation to begin with ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  12. Persuasion - Jane Austen
    A late Jane novel, about a woman (who at ripe old age of 27, is practically an old maid) who allowed a family friend to convince her years before not to marry her true love due to status. They are reunited years later when their respective families become acquainted. It's charming, quiet, redemptive, lovely. I've read it several times, most recently for book club. I discover something new each time, the hallmark of a clever tale. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  13. Letters to my Daughter - Maya Angelou
    Wonderful, wise (but not condescending) essays from the brilliant Angelou about lessons she's learned in life through specific life events or interactions with others. She has a full & rich life with a simple & lovely way with words. This is like sitting down with your favorite professor or a trusted grandparent & just reveling in their knowledge. Absorb. Learn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  14. The Trespasser - Tana French
    French is a mystery writer from Ireland, each of her books focuses on a different murder case (and detective narrator) in Dublin. I am not normally a sucker for mysteries, but I love these books. If you want a page-turning beach read with a dark edge that happens to have some really beautiful prose, her books are great. Plus, you don't really need to read them in order ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  15. Twelfth Night - William Shakespeare
    Quite possibly the man's most perfect comedy. My favorite thing about is play is that there are very few extraneous characters (messengers or 1-scene jokesters); everyone here is a fleshed-out, complete person. There's music, mistaken identity, a love triangle, and the comeuppance of a pretentious character: everything you need for a good show. Feste's wit is wisdom for the ages ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  16. Titus Andronicus - William Shakespeare
    One of the man's first plays, and it is certainly the writing of someone who gained more experience and finesse as he wrote more. It is a revenge story, a very bloody tale with all kinds of violence. Not for the faint of heart. Plus, the characters are mostly just filled with rage & don't struggle with their decisions. They're like big, ultra-violent toddlers ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  17. Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman
    Some strange, dark, and oddly funny tales: Gaiman's own interpretation of stories that are centuries old. He doesn't change any of the details, just gives them his own special color. A great piece to read while waiting on the American Gods tv show ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  18. Writer with a Day Job - Aine Greaney
    A solid instructional/inspirational book on carving out time out of a regular, busy working person's schedule to write. I went through this thing with a highlighter & post-its! Not just about scheduling, Greaney also addresses writing techniques & tips (varying POV to seeking out writers' groups). Also includes solid writing exercises. A worthwhile guide! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  19. The Mothers - Brit Bennett
    Novel that spans about a decade, centered on 3 young people in southern CA and their intertwined lives through love and friendship. They each have their own hard backgrounds, families that dealt with abuse & suicide. The place that ties them together is their church, on which they all have varying degrees of interest & closeness. It's about 2 girls dealing with the scars from their mothers & their decisions on whether/how to become mothers themselves. Sad, beautiful, real ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  20. All's Well That Ends Well - William Shakespeare
    A strange, lesser-known play about a smart, capable girl from a lower class who loves a young, snobby count. Some stuff happens, the king bids them to marry though the dude doesn't want to, & the girl spends the play devising stratagems to get her husband to acknowledge their marriage. The plot/main characters are generally gag-inducing, but the supporting women characters are incredible examples of female support & friendship. I liked the challenge of finding something relatable here ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
  21. Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    A truly beautiful writer, just excellent weaving of dialogue & internal thought to subtly move the plot along. The story of a young couple in love in Nigeria, they separate as the girl emigrates to America, the boy to the U.K. Their lives take unexpected turns as they find each other again. This is a fascinating look at emigration and racism in the Western world, of finding a place to call home, of knowing yourself despite all the lenses others use to view you. Highly recommend ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  22. Pericles, Prince of Tyre - William Shakespeare
    Quite possibly one of the strangest plays ol' Will wrote. It's sort of like the original fairy tales: the hero endured all sorts of weird hardships from evil people, and an innocent girl bring it the best in others. There's pirate kidnapping & goddess magic. Contains uneven language (co-written by another) but one of the most tear-inducing, touching reunion scenes in dramatic history. Better performed than read ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
  23. Go Tell It on the Mountain - James Baldwin
    This classic had been on my to-read list for far too long. And it's damned poetic. A story told in 4 parts - present is about a boy named John on his 14th birthday in Harlem in the 1930s. He's struggling with family troubles & faith. Flashbacks from his mother, adopted father, and aunt reveal why this kid has such a struggle. It's lyrical, it's hard, it's beautifully written. Definitely inspired me to check out more Baldwin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️