More 2017 reading highlights and reading plans for 2018

by Sunita

Happy New Year!

After I posted on my 2017 year in reading and then continued to talk about books on Twitter, I realized that my abundance of good books meant that the 17 I listed needed to be augmented. I thought about it when I was compiling the original list, but as I said to Liz, I’d be up to 30 if I didn’t stop myself. But then I thought, so what? It’s my list, it’s about what I enjoyed and what I wanted to tell people were really good books. So here are a few more:

  • I listened to the audiobook of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, which I had not read in many years. Anna Massey is the narrator and she is superb. Highly recommended.
  • I continued on my yearly read of Dorothy Dunnett’s Niccolo series. This year was the 3rd novel, Race of Scorpions.
  • I read the novelette award shortlist nominees (except one) for the 2017 Hugos. Ursula Vernon’s entry was a worthy winner, but they were all very good.
  • I read two books on the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize shortlist and enjoyed them both immensely: The Threat Level is Severe by Rowena Macdonald and Man With A Seagull on His Head by Harriet Paige. They are from small presses by authors I’d never heard of before. But I’ll certainly be watching both the authors and their publishers now.
  • Thanks to the PopSugar Challenge’s occasionally quirky categories, I finally read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Uncommon Reader, and Lady Susan. All three were terrific. I also reread, after many years, Barbara Pym’s A Glass of Blessings, which was as good as I remembered it to be.
  • In other rereads, I returned to Dick Francis, Colin Dexter, and John le Carré (the last in preparation for reading his newest) and was reminded again at how good they are, book in and book out. They are absolutely products of their time and their treatments of women and non-white characters occasionally made me wince, but the quality of their plots, characters, and prose overrode the negatives.
  • Two of the Tournament of Books summer challenge selections were books I would never have picked up because they were outside my usual wheelhouse, but they were well worth reading: Dan Chaon’s Ill Will and Samantha Schweblin’s Fever Dream.
  • Janine and Kaetrin’s joint review of Mary Balogh’s Someone to Wed piqued my interest, and my hold finally came in after a few weeks. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it; I had tired of Balogh after reading so many of her books, but it’s been a couple of years and it was great to revisit her style and characters again. There’s a reason there were 90 holds on 30 copies at my library.
  • I had a great time participating in Willaful’s #DecktheHarlequin challenge in December. I read ten books in total, four of them regular ebooks and six Harlequin comics.

2018 reading plans

In addition to the PopSugar, Mount TBR, and BookRiot Read Harder challenges, I’m going to read a bunch of Muriel Spark novels in honor of her 100th birthday. There are tons of events in Scotland, but I won’t be there so I’m  participating in a readalong.

I’m also going to keep reading from my TBR and the Tournament of Books long and shortlists, as well as various awards lists.

In favorite authors news, I’m way behind on Sarah Morgan’s latest series and need to get caught up before her next one comes out. And Susanna Kearsley has a book out in April! Nicola Cornick published another intriguing novel in the UK last year but I don’t see a US release date, so it’s back to Book Depository for me.

I’ll keep going on the various manga series I’ve started, as well as continuing to read Harlequin comics. I even bought a subscription so that I get a new set to peruse every month. There are always a few favorite authors in the list, and I’m starting to recognize the artists too.

My reading has become pretty eclectic, or at least more varied than it was when I was primarily reading and reviewing romance. It’s definitely recharged me. I still love reading romance, but I like it as part of a balanced reading diet these days.