My year of reading “hard books” in 2017 included some classics like War and Peace, Sense and Sensibility, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and Stephen King’s It. 2017 was a good year for reading.
New Year’s Resolutions are not my thing. Pledging to lose the last ten pounds, save more money, or get a promotion at work are boring. If you aren’t excited about the start of the year, throw out the normal resolutions and try something new. I make lists- to-do lists- places to go and books to read. Every so often I check back in on my lists and hit my library online and Kindle Store. Making a running list of books I want to read or need to read as my public school education lacked literary greatness and my college education was science focused. Choosing and then reading 10 “hard” books was my goal. I read lots of fluff, murder mysteries, romance, and bestsellers but I tend to neglect the “hard” books when it comes time to read. This year my list included some doozies!
- War and Peace
War and Peace is without a doubt one of the best books I’ve ever read. In February, Mom and I went on a Caribbean adventure from Barbados to Vieques and I spent hours, days, weeks reading the Tolstoy classic.
In fact, I read this 80% of War and Peace from this very hammock:
At the end, I was surprised how much I loved the book. I wanted to strangle half the characters for being idiots by the end but it is definitely a masterpiece one should tackle in life.
- Catcher in the Rye
As I write this post, I’m finishing Catcher in the Rye. I had to borrow this book from my friend Mandy because my library doesn’t have print or online copies. Banned books tend to be the best ones, no?
Catcher in the Rye is a quick and easy read and perfect for a flight or relaxing weekend. New York City would be the best place to read it through as the main character tends to wanders the streets of New York.
- Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Is it strange that I’ve never read nor watched the Lord of the Rings Trilogy? Back in college I attempted to “start at the beginning” with the Silmarillion which was a poor decision. This year I did it the correct way and started with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and worked my way through the trilogy. And I loved them. They are long and complicated with many characters, creatures, and places but were amazing. I plan on watching the movies sometime this winter when I’m snowed in (or I’m just too lazy to go out in the cold).
(photo from Hobbiton Tours)
After you read the books, I have a feeling New Zealand will be on your travel to-do list. Did you know that Hobbiton town exists?!
After so many epic adventures and anthology books I read Beloved which is a quick, yet disturbing read and worthy of being on anyone’s best of books list.
- Everything is Illuminated
This was the only book on my book list this year I did not enjoy or want to finish. In fact it took me a few tries to get through it. Parts of it are engrossing, magical sub-stories but it was not for me. My friend recommended this as a favorite of hers but I’d vote to skip it.
From a windy beach on Alabama’s Gulf Shores:
- Sense and Sensibility
Who hasn’t read Sense and Sensibility? Me! Well, I guess I have now. I loved Pride and Prejudice (and even more so the BBC miniseries with Colin Firth!) so this was the next most obvious Austen book to read. Good stuff. And again, now I can watch the many movies and miniseries.
With the big premiere of It this fall in theatres I knew I had to read It in it’s entirety. The book took me a month and I was having dreams about clowns chasing me for the first week. Seriously, it was frightening. I loved this book. Some of the story got a little silly for me but overall, It is one of Stephen King’s best books. I will forever have fear of clowns, yellow raincoats, red balloons, and plastic Paul Bunyan statues.
I read a lot more books but these were the ones that stood out among the “hard books”. I’m thinking about next year’s list already.
Reader Question: Any books you think I need to add to the reading list next year?