Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Read-at-Home Mom's Favorite Books of 2017

As 2017 winds down, it is time to name my favorites of the books I read this year. I have divided my list into three categories: new children's books published in 2017, "old school" children's books published in the 1980s or before, and adult books new and old.


Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Brian Floca
Read 3/1/17; reviewed 4/27/17.
Why I loved it: appealing illustrations, faithful to the conventions of the fairy tale genre, clever writing with many laugh-out-loud funny moments

Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Read 8/21/17; reviewed on Goodreads.
Why I loved it: great characterization (especially of the difficult-to-love protagonist), funny quotable lines, perfect marriage of text and illustrations 

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
Read 8/25/17; reviewed 10/5/17.
Why I loved it: traditional feel, strong sibling relationships, heartwarming ending 

Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford
Read 9/2/17; reviewed 11/15/17.
Why I loved it: festive winter mood, unpredictable plot, wonderful sense of setting 

Slider by Pete Hautman
Read 10/22/17; reviewed on Goodreads.
Why I loved it: great voice, unique subject matter, well-developed supporting character with autism

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Read 12/2/17; reviewed 12/6/17.
Why I loved it: unique and compelling historical setting, buoyant and resourceful main character, believable conflicts and resolutions


When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson
Read 4/12/17; reviewed 4/24/17.
Why I loved it: beautifully descriptive writing, straightforward storytelling style, intriguing and unpredictable plot

Those Miller Girls! by Alberta Wilson Constant
Read 7/21/17; reviewed 7/28/17.
Why I loved it: clever dialogue filled with literary allusions and Latin phrases, details about early 20th century daily living, heartwarming family relationships

The Haunting by Margaret Mahy
Read 9/10/17; reviewed 11/8/17.
Why I loved it: fascinating family secrets, interesting mix of characters, fantasy elements rooted in psychology rather than magic

The Crow and the Castle by Keith Robertson
Read 9/28/17; reviewed 10/17/17.
Why I loved it: mischievous and boyish sense of humor, lots of details about the game of chess, far-fetched yet grounded in reality

Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera and Bill Cleaver
Read 9/27/17; reviewed 11/22/17.
Why I loved it: engaging and meaningful descriptions, compelling characters, unusual and interesting setting


Gates of Excellence by Katherine Paterson
Read 8/17/17; reviewed 9/8/17.
Why I loved it: insights into Katherine Paterson's writing process, reviews of obscure books, wonderful essay about faith and children's literature

Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence
Read 8/22/17; reviewed on Goodreads.
Why I loved it: great concept, good mix of genres and types of books, laugh-out-loud funny commentary

Still Life by Louise Penny
Read 9/22/17; reviewed on Goodreads.
Why I loved it: strong sense of place, believable quirky characters, effective use of shifting points of view

Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child by Anthony Esolen
Read 10/4/17; reviewed on Goodreads.
Why I loved it: uses many literary allusions to bolster arguments, calm and rational arguments regarding complex and emotional issues, excellent and persuasive writing

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
Read 11/3/17; reviewed on Goodreads.
Why I loved it: unique plot for a cozy mystery, quirky small-town setting, flawed and funny main character

The Deep End by Julie Mulhern
Read 11/4/17; reviewed on Goodreads.
Why I loved it: ironic tone, 1970s pop culture references, well-structured plot

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
Read 12/2/17.
Why I loved it: wealth of information about veterinary techniques, comedy of errors in Herriot's courtship of his wife, descriptions of the quirks of various English farmers

I'm linking up today with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday, where this week's theme is Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017. 


  1. I used to read James Herriot all the time. I should reread one of his books and see if they still delight me. 2017 favorite books

  2. The kid-lit books look so adorable! :-) Children's books are fab!

  3. Lots of children/middle grade books. Like that! I have two little nieces and I always end up buying books for them. I think this last year I probably bought more for them than for me. What! ;)

  4. So many of your books sound amazing. ALL of your kids lit books I will probably enjoy, but the ones catching my eye the most are Beyond the Bright Sea, The Vanderbeekers (that's a cool name), and Ghosts of Greenglass House. Great post!

    Here's my TTT: https://bookslikewolves.wixsite.com/blog/single-post/2017/12/12/Blogmas-Day-12-Top-17-Books-of-2017

  5. I haven't read any of these, but I'd love to check out Real Murders and All Creature Great and Small. Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

  6. Aww my Dad used to read me the James Herriot books when I was little!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/top-ten-tuesday-137/

  7. Any Kate Dicamillo book is a favorite at my school! I have also been hearing so much recently about Dear Fahrenheit 451, I need to read it ASAP! I like how you divided up your post!

  8. I got Dear Fahrenheit 451 as an audiobook and loved it. I definitely laughed out loud in public places as I was listening to it through headphones. It made me want to become a librarian!

  9. I'm so excited to see Ghost of Greenglass House on your list! I kind of randomly stumbled on Greenglass House earlier this year and really enjoyed it. I've been wondering if the next book would have the same magic and it sounds like it really does! I read Still Life this year too and have fallen in love with the series. I really enjoyed the 2nd book too and am looking forward to continuing with the series. The Aurora Teagarden series is a favorite of mine as well. It looks like we have a lot of books in common so I've added you on Bloglovin!

  10. Ooh wow! What a great selection of books you have!

    I need to get more familiar with kidlit as I've just started a school library. Lucky for me I saw Katherine just started following you on Bloglovin. I am going to do just the same!

    All creatures great and small.... Now that's a trip down memory lane.

    Sure we will chat again soon!

  11. I hope you continue to love the Gamache series! The books just get better and better!

  12. I loved STILL LIFE and every other Gamache book I've read. The series definitely gets better as it goes. I adore it! I also really liked SLIDER. I'd never read a book about competitive eating before. The subject was interesting and, I agree -- the MCs voice was spot-on.

    Happy TTT!

  13. I enjoyed the first two Inspector Gamache books and I hope to continue the series next year! Like you, I love the sense of place and cozy atmosphere. Dear Fahrenheit 451 and All Creatures Great and Small are both on my must-read-in-2018 list!

  14. Oh, I love James Herriot's books! I'm also finally putting The Vanderbeekers on my TBR list. I don't know why I've been hesitating when I keep hearing it mentioned as so good, but I'll be reading now!