My 2017 in Books (in two sentences or less)

The ones that I could NOT put down

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Character-driven story. A powerful examination of women and motherhood (and just bloody good writing).

The Dry by Jane Harper

Two-for-the-price-of-one murder mystery set in an arid, nostalgia-inducing Aussie landscape: unputdownable.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Simultaneous exploration of the past and the future, perfect for the sentimental 80s enthusiast, sci-fi nerd or lover of a good story.

The ones that moved me so deeply, they changed me.

Hunger by Roxane Gay

I will never look at a body in the same way again. Poignant, poetic and powerful.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

A formidable force; giving voice to a boy with severe facial deformities and the people surrounding him.

The Quarterly Essay: Moral Panic by Benjamin Law

Safe Schools 101: these 25,000 words are equal parts brilliant, well-researched, necessary, frustrating and heart-breaking. A must read.

The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

What happens when women speak out against their abusers? Deeply disturbing and eerily prescient.

 

The ones I read because they were making a TV show or movie based on them and the book is always better (but also, I like to be that smug person that knows before everyone else knows).

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This year has seen an explosion of interest in women’s stories (even if they are white, straight, upper/upper-middle class women’s stories). Enjoyed the book and loved the series.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Beautifully written fun story of time travel, space and the triumphant power of love. The movie, coming out this year stars Oprah(!) Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon: I will be ALL OVER it.

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly

The unbelievable story of a man who uses google maps to find his long-lost family. Just putting it out there…the movie was much better than the book in this case.

Dietland by Sarai Walker

A woman learns to embrace her body and love herself, and a group of hardcore vigilante feminists have a vendetta against a bunch of high-profile rapists and abusers, taking justice into their own hands: transformative.

 

The one that made me even more obsessed with Nora Ephron

I’ll Have What She’s Having by Erin Carlson

Nora Ephron is a feminist #bosslady that was so far ahead of her time. I am not ashamed to admit that You’ve Got Mail is my favourite movie, period. I’m also a huge fan of Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally. This book was a little slice of pervy, behind-the-scenes heaven. This is more than two sentences. Did I mention that I love Nora Ephron?

 

The ones that were feminist memoirs (my favourite category of memoir)

Shrill by Lindy West

FUNNY. So very funny. But also, inspiring and edifying. I just gobble up anything that woman writes.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

This is supposed to be full of that special sass and witt for which Carrie was renowned (complete with juicy gossip about her affair with Harrison Ford). It turned out to be a sparse, boring read – shame.

No Way! Okay, Fine by Brodie Lancaster

I want to read more memoirs by Australian millennials! This one warmed my little pop-cultured heart.

Every Lie I’ve Ever Told by Rosie Waterland

Australia’s answer to Lindy West. Rosie has an incredibly troubling life, but she writes with such dry, self-deprecating humour that you feel less sorry for her and more like you want to be her BFF.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (re-read because, #awesome)

Feminism, pop-culture, laser sharp insights and heart-warming anecdotes. I love a good essay collection and this one sets the bar – high.

 

The ones that made for some fun fiction reading

The Mummy Bloggers by Holly Wainwright

Not what I expected. A funny, cleaver read with strong characters.

Where’d you go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

I have never read a story that was told quite like this before. A fun way to pass the time.

The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

Modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Cleverly done; Winterson ROCKS.

The One Who Got Away by Caroline Overington

Page-turning murder mystery and first-person narrative done well.

Brother of the More Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido

Beautiful, immersive writing and character-driven storyline set over several decades.

 

The ones with prose that lifted my soul

The Shiralee by D’Arcy Niland

Classic Australian literature. Delightful prose and a celebration of the bond between father and daughter.

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Uplifting and unsettling – in the way that it made me embarrassed of my generation’s lack of empathy towards our elders. Don’t say the title out loud.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

An exploration of glorious humanity. Powerful, exquisite writing that transported me to WWII Europe.

 

The ones that were fun, easy YA reads (sidenote: why does YA get such a bad rap?!)

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The high-school love story you always needed.

Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool by Odo Hirsch

I just adore Hirsch’s writing, and his fun little stories. I read this in one sitting.

 

The ones that made timely, political statements

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

2017’s political must-read. Made me question (and regret) the way that I had initially thought of Hillary. We are much too hard on women, but especially women in power.

On Doubt by Leigh Sales

A timely re-release, reminding us to apply critical thinking and resist the urge to let blind passion and anger supersede logical, reasoned thought. Totes hard though.

Wardrobe Crisis by Clare Press

An impeccably well researched, in-depth exploration of the history of high-fashion, and how it has contributed to the rampant consumer model we have today. Clare’s writing is as deliciously addictive as it is insightful.

All the Rebel Women by Kira Cochrane

One of the only resources available discussing fourth-wave feminism. Full of little ‘Aha!’ moments.