Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Favorite Books of 2017

2017 was a big year for my writing. I wrote a new book, and I semi-finaled in Genesis with my first novel and finaled in First Impressions with the second one. I also got an agent, and he and my critique partner helped me make revisions to the second book and proposal before sending it to a potential publisher.

Last year was also a big year for reading, for me anyway. I read almost 50 books, and while that number might seem high or low to some, it was huge for me. Since grad school (cerca 2007), I’ve been lucky to read about a dozen books a year, and some years, even less than that.

But everything I’ve read, every conference or workshop I’ve attended all suggest that if I want to improve my writing, I should also read more, inside and outside my genre.

So, I went to work in 2017. I set a reading goal on Goodreads for 20 books, and when I passed that in the summer, I made it 30 books, and then 40, and then 50.

I had a hard time narrowing my favorites (and I cheated a little by listing an entire series for two of them), but here are my top ten from 2017:

10. Three Little Words. I read this book because my best friend recommended it. Written as a memoir, it reads like a novel. Ashley Rhodes-Courter has a sequel to this book, and I can’t wait to get it. (*This novel contains language)

9. The Western Star. Craig Johnson is so talented, and Howell and I soaked up his latest novel in the Longmire series. The audio version of these books are fantastic; it feels like I’m listening to a movie. Now to twiddle our thumbs until the next book comes out… (*This novel contains language)

8. With No Reservations. This debut novel by my friend Laurie Tomlinson is fantastic. The story is clever and unique. (If you’re interested, I have an interview with Laurie here and a full review here.)

7. The Book of Unknown Americans. Wow. This book will pull on your heartstrings. But it’s so, so good. Read it with Kleenex. I’m actually ecstatic to get to hear Cristina Henriquez at a convention this March! (*This novel contains language)

6. Talking as Fast as I Can. I think Lauren Graham is hilarious, and in her first nonfiction book, she does not disappoint. If you like Gilmore Girls, you’ll especially appreciate the inside scoop.

5. Christiansen Family series. I’m a new reader to Susan May Warren, but I’ve discovered she’s a prolific writer! I absolutely loved this family series. I think I read all six books in less than a month.

4. Present Over Perfect. If you’ve read my blog last year, you know this book by Shauna Niequist rocked my world. In a good way. It changed how I approach work and my time. Such a good read. (See my other posts here and here.)

3. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. This book is hardly new, and truth be told, I should’ve picked it up years ago. I’ve never read Stephen King’s books, but he is obviously doing something right. This book motivated me to get back on track with a consistent, DAILY writing schedule. (*This book contains language)

2. The Start of Us. I loved Jill Lynn Buteyn’s other novels, so I was excited when I heard my friend had written a prequel as a novella. The characterization is wonderful and the voice, unique and witty. I absolutely loved it!

1. If I Run series. Y’all, I think Terri Blackstock is the QUEEN of suspense, and she delivers in this latest series. The last book comes out in March, but I read these first two books in a day. One. Day. I couldn’t stop myself, and I highly, highly recommend.

Reading has improved my writing for sure. I’m learning a lot, and I’m realizing I still have a lot to learn.

But I #amwriting… :)

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