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Transplanted to Miami, FL, from Iowa City, IA. Trying to find a balance between reading, knitting, playing mom taxi, and enjoying the sun and sand in Miami.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Favorite Standalone Books of 2017

Here are my favorite stand-alone books of 2017. This list will probably be shorter. Apparently, I read a lot of series.

The first book that I loved was The Princess Diarist. I listened to the audiobook in February. It was emotionally rough for me. It was soon after Carrie Fisher passed away and her death had hit me very hard, much harder than celebrity death usually does. So hearing this book in her voice was emotional. But it was a good book. This one talked a lot about the filming of the first Star Wars movie, and included excerpts from the diary she kept at that time. The parts that Carrie read were very good, she has a great conversational style, which isn’t always a given for an author reading their work. She talked a lot about her legacy as Leia, which was heartbreaking so soon after her death. I would highly recommend this book to Star Wars fans, and Carrie Fisher fans.

I also really liked Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. It’s mostly a straight retelling of Norse myths. It was a fun lead up to both the American God’s TV series and the new Thor movie. This was a fairly short, light read. Just know that it is the basic myths and not stories that Gaiman made up. But they are very readable.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell is the next book that I enjoyed. It’s a little stalker-ish, or it could be if it were written by a different author. But this book reads more like a rom-com on Hallmark channel, so it’s easy to push away any creeper vibes. The main character has the job of reading emails that are flagged by the filter at an office for containing personal or inappropriate content. An email exchange between two friends seems pretty benign, so he doesn’t send them the usual message to knock off the personal emails. But, he does get caught up in reading them and falling for one of the women. It was a fun book, and I have enjoyed everything I have read by Rowell, this is no exception.

I also loved The Traitor’s Wife by Susan Higginbotham. It is historical fiction during the reign of Edward II. It wasn’t an era I knew much about, which made it very interesting. There is a lot of political intrigues and a lot of character development. I liked that she did not spend too much time on how gross everything was in the late 1200s. In-depth knowledge of British monarchies isn’t necessary to enjoy this book. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, you will probably enjoy this, and maybe it’s an era you haven’t read much either.

Vacationland by John Hodgman was a fun and interesting read. I am a regular listener of the Judge John Hodgman podcast and had heard a few of the stories from this book from some of his appearances before I read the book. Some parts are really funny and some that are poignant, but they are all entertaining. And, he gave us a mystery to solve to figure out what famous author lived near where he now lives in Maine. So that was fun. Fans of John Hodgman will enjoy this, as will fans of Bill Bryson, the writing style is reminiscent of Bryson’s.

I listened to the Audible version of Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay. It was thought-provoking and funny and aggravating. I consider myself a feminist and sometimes think I am a bad one. I sometimes like just to enjoy a movie or a book and not look at it too hard through a feminist lens because I know that will color my enjoyment. Sometimes I felt like Gay was in my head, other times she was describing experiences that I have never had. Books like this are what reading is meant to do though, put you in someone else’s place so you can empathize with them and their experience. This book does need a Content Warning for the depiction of rape and abortion. If those things bother you, this book is not for you. Roxanne Gay does not sugar-coat her words.