It’s time for the end of the year best and worst lists! I set a new personal high for number of books read this year with 120 (at an average of 304 pages/book) so I had plenty to choose from. So without further ado, here they are (re-reads are excluded – click titles to go to full reviews):

Top 10 Fiction:

  1. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – A pitch perfect retelling that adds coherence while maintaining an Old Norse style.
  2. The Chosen by Chaim Potok – A moving portrait of family, friendship, and faith in Jewish American culture
  3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Not my usual at all, but the lush, surreal setting was fascinating
  4. Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar – A weird riff on Pandora’s Box
  5. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – Malevolent ghosts, a mad/manipulative governess, or both?
  6. Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft – Kafkaesque Chaldean Steampunk (who knew that was a thing?)
  7. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler – An amusing retelling of The Taming of the Shrew that gets rid of the Stockholm Syndrome vibe
  8. Just Another Jihadi Jane by Tabish Khair – So-so style/plotting, but an informative look at “radicalization”
  9. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Dozens of retro nerd culture references make up for any deficiencies in plotting (especially if you’re a child of the 80’s)
  10. Day of Atonement by David deSilva – Decent historical fiction about the depredations of Antiochus Epiphanes and rise of the Maccabees

Top 5 Non-fiction

  1. The Myth of the Lost Cause by Edward H. Bonekemper III – An examination of the Confederate cause using primary documents from before and during the Civil War rather than the usual post-war justifications/rationalization propaganda
  2. The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories by Herodotus – The writings of “the father of history” accompanied by a slew of helpful maps, notes, and essays (technically a re-read but the additional material and modern translation made it practically a different book)
  3. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Rolan H. Bainton – A good overview of the man whose faith and courage changed the course of history 500 years ago (older, but slightly better than the Eric Metaxas biography released this year)
  4. When Is It Right to Die? by Joni Earickson Tada – A compassionate examination of issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide
  5. The Golden Age of Piracy by Benerson Little – A gleeful demolition of the “noble pirate” myth

Bottom 5 (most disappointing) reads

  1. The Shack by William Paul Young – A tear-jerking, feel good story that tries to make us feel better about suffering/tragedy in the world by radically redefining God (eliminating classic understanding of sovereignty, holiness, transcendence, etc.)
  2. Humans Bow Down by James Patterson & Emily Raymond – A weak robot apocalypse where things seem to happen for no reason other than needing to move the plot forward or checking off a diversity box
  3. The Other Side of Magik by Michael Lingaard – A self-pub book that shows some creativity but is extremely amateurish
  4. Wayne of Gotham by Tracy Hickman – How do you manage to make Batman boring?!
  5. The Crystal Shard by R. A. Salvatore – This year’s reminder of why I seldom read Forgotten Realms books- possibly the most generic fantasy book ever

And there you have it! Reading goal for next year is 100 books at an average of 300+ pages/book. Happy New Year!

6 thoughts on “Best & Worst of 2017

  1. 120, Nice! I get so used to hanging out with Power Readers like you that sometimes I forget you’re a Power Reader and not just the Average Joe Reader 😉

    Any specific books you’re definitely going to read in 2018?


    1. I’m kind of a “whatever strikes my fancy at the moment” reader, so I don’t have a lot of plans. Definitely the last 3 George Smiley books and I’m about to start “The Hole in our Gospel” for a serious read. I’m working on cataloging my library so I’ll probably come across some good stuff that I meant to read but forgot about. How about you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah, I have most of this years reading already laid out. My year in review post is scheduled for midnight and besides being ridiculously long, I also list the bunch of series that I have on my kindle to read, which comprises about 100+ books and then I have another 150 in Calibre patiently waiting their turn to get on the kindle and into the rotation 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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