Top 12 Books Read in 2017

I like to pull from the books I read this year to note the exceptional ones. These were not all published this year: in fact, I don’t think any of them were. I just got to them this year. It’s hard to choose this year: there were only maybe two or three that I did not like at all. But here are the ones that especially stood to me, in no particular order. The titles link back to my reviews.

1. The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung. I like how this children’s book places some of the individual narratives in the Bible within its overarching framework in a simple and easily readable style.

2. God Is Just Not Fair: Finding Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Jennifer Rothschild, for asking the hard questions and, by experience and Bible study, coming up with reasonable answers.

3. Love in Hard Places by D. A. Carson didn’t draw me in with its style, but it did make me think and convict and instruct me.

4. Me, Myself, and Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables by Phil Vischer. The story of the rise of Veggie Tales was fun, but Phil’s dealing with the death of a seemingly God-given dream spoke volumes to me.

5. Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber. I’m often intrigued by outside-looking-in stories of people confronting Christianity. When someone is at first indifferent and then strongly opposed, what finally causes everything to click and fall into place for them?

6. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy might seem a strange one – why would a book about someone’s dying top anyone’s favorites list? But we all have to face it at some point, and this was so poignant and so beautifully written, it stayed with me long afterward.

7. A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner involved two timelines, connected by tragedy and a scarf.

8. The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate involved an old anonymous manuscript, a search for its author, a story within a story, the history and trials of a little-known race, and well-drawn settings between new York City and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

9. The Magnolia Story by “Fixer-Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino. A highly enjoyable read.

10. Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible Is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me by Kevin DeYoung. Short but packed with good stuff.

11. The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser. Two girls opposite in many ways become close friends in the 1930s. Friendship, class differences, crises of faith, life in the South, family secrets, and even some mystery.

12. Middlemarch by George Eliot. Not only was I glad to have finally conquered this tome, but I loved its many characters and layers.

It has definitely been a good reading year, and I am looking forward to the next one! What was your favorite book of the year?

Semicolon invites us to share our end-of-year bookish lists as well as regular reviews on her Saturday Review of Books this week.

(Also sharing with Faith on Fire, Literary Musing Monday, Semicolon)

15 thoughts on “Top 12 Books Read in 2017

  1. Barbara, I don’t comment often, but I read all your posts! I love your blog! Thanks for sharing your books of the year, and your favorites. Fall of Marigolds and The Sweetest Thing were favorites of mine when I read them a few years ago! Susan Meissner and Elizabeth Musser are two of my favorite authors, along with Cathy Gohlke. I’ve read about 4 books by her, and my favorite is “Saving Amelie”. It got me started on a WWII kick, which has gone on for a few years. I also HIGHLY recommend “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate. Lisa Wingate wrote The Story Keeper and this latest book has been on Amazon’s Charts lists for MONTHS! You simply must read it! God bless you and your family in the new year!

    • Thanks so much, Susan! Just about the time I get discouraged thinking few people are reading, it’s nice to get a surprise that there are people out there. 🙂 This time of year readership is light anyway as so many have time off an family in between Christmas and New Year’s, and that’s understandable. I actually received Before We Were Yours for Christmas, so I am looking forward to getting into it!

      Elizabeth Musser has been a favorite for years, but I don’t think I had read anything by Susan May Warren before this year. But I liked what I read, so I look forward to more of hers in the future, too! Have you ever read Sarah Sundin? All of her books so far have been set during WWII.

      Thanks so much for commenting, and I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

      On Thu, Dec 28, 2017 at 10:09 AM, Stray Thoughts wrote:


  2. I’m not doing a favorites list, but if I did, I ‘d have to look at Kevin DeYoung’s book. It really impacted my view of Scripture — along with Piper’s Reading the Bible Supernaturally.
    Blessings to you Barbara. Happy reading in 2018!

  3. I remember a college English teacher seeing Ivan Ilych as one of the best conversion stories ever. It was an interesting way to approach the story.

    You have some intriguing looking titles here. Surprised by Oxford and Me, Myself and Bob in particular seem like ones I might look for!

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  6. Okay, I’m back with my list of favorites of the year – in no particular order:

    Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate
    Peace Like a River – Leif Enger
    Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
    The War I Finally Won (I read The War That Saved My Life in 2016) – Middle Grade Fiction by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley – start with “The War That Saved My Life” – a MUST READ for all WWII fans
    Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls
    Hillbilly Elegy – JD Vance (I enjoyed comparing this memoir with the Jeanette Walls one above)
    Wonder – RJ Palacio (the movie was great too!)

  7. Pingback: Homemade Christmas cards and other stray thoughts | Stray Thoughts

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