2017 Reading Year in Review

What a wonderfully diverse and gratifying reading year 2017 turned out to be!The Outrun

There seemed to be an unintended theme running through my book choices, namely the two World Wars from a British perspective, ranging from Pat Barker’s superb Noonday (the last volume in her most recent trilogy) and Gerard Woodward’s black-humoured Nourishment, to the late Helen Dunmore’s Zennor in Darkness and the extraordinary Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

I tackled several classics and universally treasured works, including Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Arthur Conan-Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Robert Graves’ Good-bye to All That (back, yet again, to the First World War) and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five (the bombing of Dresden from a US point of view, would you believe).

My favourite new releases were the bookish mystery novel Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan, and The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris – a story of the Holocaust based on true events (although not strictly due for publication until January 2018).

I opted at the start of the year to read 40 books in Goodreads’ 2017 Reading Challenge – having managed a rather paltry 32 in 2016 – and surpassed the former by 35, which was quite an achievement for one whose perusal engine is snail-powered.

Here is a brief breakdown of noteworthy reads in 2017:


My overall non-fiction pick of the year has to be The Outrun by the brilliant new author, Amy Liptrot. In fiction it is Cat’s Eye by my favourite living literary hero, Margaret Atwood.


Bizarre Books – Russell Ash (not that funny) ⭐️


Autobiography/Memoir: The Outrun – Amy Liptrot ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Biography: Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words: The Authorised Biography – Boel Westin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Children’s Book: Hortense and the Shadow – Natalia O’Hara ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Historical Fiction: Burial Rites – Hannah Kent ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

History: If This Is a Woman: Inside Ravensbruck – Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women – Sarah Helm ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

LGBT: The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Literary Fiction: Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Pleasant Surprise: Quarantine – Jim Crace ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Romance: Written on the Body – Jeanette Winterson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Science Fiction: The Power – Naomi Alderman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Short Story: The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Translation: The Vegetarian – Han Kang ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Paula has
completed her goal of reading
40 books in


May I take this opportunity to wish all my friends and followers a very happy New Year!

Categories: Features

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18 replies

  1. I enjoyed Noonday, but thought Toby’s Room was the better book – unusual for the second in a trilogy. However, I couldn’t agree more about Life After Life which is, as you say, an extraordinary book. Both authors have 2018 publications that I am really looking froward to.

  2. Some great picks in your ‘outstanding reads by genre’ – I LOVED Burial Rites (one of the best books I’ve ever read, I think. Although I didn’t care for Kent’s follow-up, The Good People).

  3. Wonderful post, Paula! Looks like you had a great reading year in 2017! Congratulations! Loved your list of favourites! Hope you have a wonderful reading year, this year too! Happy reading!

  4. Congrats on 75 books! That is awesome! I had to read Metamorphosis in High School and absolutely hated it. It is probably in my top 10 of most disliked books haha. But I am glad you liked it 🙂 reading books you don’t like is no fun!

    Also, I tagged you in the Amazon’s “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” Tag: https://perfectlytolerable.com/2018/01/03/amazons-100-books-to-read-in-a-lifetime-tag/

  5. An interesting selection, Paula. Thank you for following my blog – I hope you find something worth reading over there!

  6. Congrats! Book Challenges rock👌🏼

  7. Great post, Paula!

    “Cat’s Eye” IS a terrific book by the terrific author Margaret Atwood. She has written so many excellent novels — “The Robber Bride,” “Alias Grace,” “The Blind Assassin,” “Oryx and Crake,” etc. — in addition to the justifiably famous “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

  8. What great books you have on this list! I love Cat’s Eye and the Paying Guests! I’m working on my review of The Paying Guests now.

  9. I am terribly fond of Cat’s Eye myself, only preferring The Robber Bride by Atwood to it. (I must say that I don’t appreciate her later works nearly so much. I wish she hadn’t entered sci-fi so thoroughly, as I prefer her literary fiction by far.)

    • Many thanks for your comment, Bellezza. I received The Robber Bride for Christmas, so it’s good to know you enjoyed it so much. I quite liked Atwood’s Flood trilogy but I know what you mean, she definitely produced some of her best work during the 1980s and ’90s.


  1. 2018 Reading Year in Review – Book Jotter

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