Favourite Books of 2017

Hello, happy Wednesday and post-Christmas if you celebrate it. Today we have a roundup of twelve books I really rated and enjoyed in 2017. It is autobiographical essay heavy sorry folks. I have a type apparently. There are some novels in among the mix too and memoirs to round things out. They're all titles I rate and would recommend and in many cases re-read as well...

I'll Tell You In Person x Chloe Caldwell: This book came to my attention c/o Emma Roberts' Instagram and I am glad it did. Another candid and beautiful essay volume.  Her essay, entitled Sisterless particularly stood out to me and I still think about it. Actually I really need to get myself my own copy of this book.

Hag-Seed x Margaret Atwood: My first introduction to Atwood's writing came via this retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest. One of my favourite plays of his as I studied it in seventh form but also I just love the visual beauty of it. Anyway, set in a men's prison we see Shakespeare being used as a rehabilitative tool of sorts and a way to give the men a way to channel their energy creatively. The prisoners are responsible for every element of the play's staging and the production is a hugely orchestrated and appreciated effort. As well as rehabilitation, Hag-Seed explores loss and loneliness and the way in which escapism can help us to survive and in turn thrive. I'd recommend this book for Autumn when it's starting to look a bit drearier outside. 

Moranthology x Caitlin Moran: Caitlin Moran, oh how I love your essays and words on all the things. This year I finished all her published essay volumes thus far and this was the last. Musings on Benedict Cumberbatch, UK politics, nicknames among many other things make an appearance. I know I talk about Caitlin a lot on this blog but she is one of my favourite writers and if you like reading essays and witty+extremely clever writing you need to seek out her work.

It's Messy x Amanda de Cadenet: When I saw that Amanda had a debut essay collection coming out I pre-ordered it pretty quickly. She's been one of my favourite Internet women for a long time. It did not disappoint. Inspiring, witty and a book I'd gift everyone, Oprah Winfrey style. Well the women in my life at least. My only qualm was this wasn't long enough but otherwise I loved it.

Conversations With Friends* x Sally Rooney: One of the best novels I have read in a really long time. Flawed yet truthful twenty-something characters. Experimentation, error-making and an enthusiasm for the really brilliant thing that is conversation. I feel like this would make a brilliant screenplay too. 

Can You Tolerate This? x Ashleigh Young: This book got the world's attention this year when Ashleigh won the Windham-Campbell prize and Ockham prize for her essay collection. My copy is well worn and a bit battered from many trips in my bag but it is also well-loved. I can't quite articulate just how brilliant Ashleigh's writing is so I will say this. Get yourself a copy, get acquainted with her work and thank me later.

What Happened x Hillary Rodham Clinton: Despite this book's mammoth size I managed to read it in little over a week. I even lugged it back and forth on my work commutes. That's dedication. As the title suggests, this is Hillary's account of her journey before, during and after that presidential election. It is a bit depressing at times, as is to be expected but for the most part it makes for hopeful, inspiring reading. Whatever your stance on Hillary, I think for readers outside the US especially it's particularly insightful. A lot of what she discusses was not covered by local media for instance. Another timely reminder of the importance of voting and staying engaged among other things.

The Uncommon Reader x Alan Bennett: I found this book when I was doing a search along the lines of 'books to read if you like The Crown'. Telling the story of a traveling library that makes its way to Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth becomes a frequent borrower. She forms a special alliance with staff members who recommend books to her and she expands her literary understanding. All fictitious but I'd love to know what the Queen reads. Does she have time to read? Anyway, brilliant, short read but worth a peruse.

Girl, Interrupted x Susanna Kaysen: Another memoir, surprise surprise. This time the writings of Susanna Kaysen as she remembers her experiences at eighteen in a psychiatric ward. The same one that hosted Sylvia Plath at one time. This is a confronting read but also a fascinating insight into the way in which mental illness was dealt with towards the end of the sixties. I also found the inclusion of her therapist's actual notes, while difficult to read were particularly interesting as well. I really need to hunt down the film with Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie sometime soon. 

Is It Just Me? x Miranda Hart: I read this at a time where life was a bit...eventful for lack of a better word and it helped me find some amusement and escapism. That and Miranda Hart is simply hilarious. A must-read. If only for her brilliant recollections about family Christmases.  

Wishful Drinking x Carrie Fisher: This was one of the first books I read this year and it did not disappoint. Yes it's about Carrie's battle with addiction and depression but it's one of the best books I've read that deals with mental health. It is refreshing, candid, humorous and yes a touch sad but the way in which Carrie writes doesn't leave you feeling downtrodden. Her honesty and ability to always find the funny were unparalleled. 

Only Fools & Stories x David Jason: For those of you who don't know, Only Fools & Horses along with Open All Hours are two of my favourite shows. They both star David Jason, as Del Boy and Granville respectably. This book really recounts tales from the Only Fools days, as the title would suggest and I read it in a day. Perhaps only one to read if you're a fan of David Jason as I feel like this is a very specific book but it is fantastic. 

-What did you enjoy reading in 2017?

*Review Copy

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