2017: The Good

Time to look back on everything I read this year with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly! According to GoodReads, I read 116 books in 2017. That’s 38,385 pages! As always, The Good list is everything I rated as 5 stars. After some deliberation, I decided that my favorite book I read was:

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
This book is basically Scooby Doo, the gritty reboot. None of the gang has really gotten over their last case, where they were trapped for the night in a haunted mansion on a small island in the middle of their town’s lake. Was the dude in a mask really the culprit? Or was something else going on there? Years later, it’s time to get the gang back together and find out! But Peter, the handsome jock, has been dead for years, ending his promising Hollywood career with suicide, probably from unresolved PTSD. The other members of the gang haven’t exactly had promising careers either. Andy, the tomboy, is a drifter who’s in and out of jail. Kerri, the girl genius, is working dead end jobs and fostering Tim, the grandson of the original canine member of the team. Nate, meanwhile, is in an insane asylum. Besides being full of fun callbacks to Scooby Doo, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys, this book is really well-written and legit terrifying in parts. Plus I got to live my Velma/Daphne ship dreams.

The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA by Doug Mack
This book was a close second for favorite read of this year. The author travels to all the US territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands) and writes about both their history and what life is like there now. It’s shocking to me that these places are part of the United States but I never learned anything about them in school. I’d never even heard of the Northern Mariana Islands. Their political situation is murky, at best, as became tragically clear to me a few months after I finished this book and the entire country basically looked on like it was someone else’s problem as Puerto Rico died. We wouldn’t have let that happen to New York or Idaho, but those places are states. The strange limbo of the US territories has never been more cruelly illustrated. So, I learned a lot, but Doug Mack’s writing style is really engaging and interesting. His travel stories were often funny and always interesting. I recommend this book to everyone.

Trouble is a Friend of Mine and Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly
These books reminded me of teen Dirk Gently so I rated them probably higher than they deserve.

Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America
This book is composed of essays by different authors, which is good because I had to read it in short bursts, otherwise I would get overwhelmed by sadness and rage, which has been happening a lot more to me in general lately, obviously. Still, an important and informative read, especially for anyone interested in intersectional feminism (which should be everybody, come on) who doesn’t necessarily have a feminist theory background–the language is engaging and approachable.

Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki
Lumberjanes in chapter book form! In this episode of my favorite badass girl scouts, the Lumberjanes discover unicorns, cloud people, and Lumberjanes of the past. It was kind of weird reading a narrative that I’m used to experiencing in comic form, but all the characters stayed true to themselves and I got some neat backstory on all of the main characters.

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
I read this in October to get read for Halloween! It was about a teen girl descended from Cotton Mather (of Salem Witch persecution fame) who moves back to Salem where, surprise, her family’s history is still very much alive in the form of ghosts, curses, and a clique of witch-descendants who are maybe out for revenge?

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
This collection of Kate Beaton’s comics was definitely worth the purchase price!

Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language by Patricia T. O’Conner
I read this book as part of my book club’s “read a book by an author with the same name as you” initiative. It was interesting, although I unfortunately don’t remember any fun facts from it.

Moon Called, Blood Bound, Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed, River Marked and Night Broken by Patricia Briggs
Also as part of my book club’s “authors with your name” initiative, I ended up reading the entire Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. The covers have always turned me off before, but this series is actually totally badass. Mercy Thompson is a car mechanic who can turn into a coyote. The world is on the cusp of learning the truth about the fey, werewolves, vampires, and other things that have always remained hidden, and probably the most interesting part of Mercy’s adventures is the interaction between various aspects of the normal world (the government, the media, religion) with these fantasy creatures as they become aware of their existence. Plus Mercy’s a badass who can see ghosts. And there’s a vampire mafia! And werewolf feminism!

Our Hidden Lives: The Remarkable Diaries or Post-War Britain by Simon Garfield
Apparently there was a government initiative in the 1940s onward in Britain where people would keep diaries of their daily lives and send them off for “study” to some office. This book is excerpts from the diaries of a few of the diarists. The details of their lives as World War II came to an end were really interesting from a historical standpoint–dealing with air raids, rationing, soldiers coming home, starting “normal” life again. Also, their regular experiences could be hilarious or heartbreaking. I love diary formats anyway.

Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition by Paul Watson
I am a sucker for polar exploration, y’all. This book is about the lost Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest Passage north of Canada, and also the search for its remains, which spanned two centuries. I learned a lot about 19th century exploration but also the Canadian government’s historical treatment of its Inuit citizens, which ended up being a major aspect of finding the wrecks of the Franklin Expedition’s ships. They probably could have been found before 2014 if any of the earlier searches had bothered to pay attention to the Inuit communities who regularly hunted in the area the ships went missing.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
This book is a collection of short horror stories in comic form by Emily Carroll. It’s basically Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark for adults, and just as viscerally terrifying.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman
This book is the sequel to Illuminae, and just as awesome! Another epistolary sci-fi novel set in deep space with badass teen characters who have to fight to save their space station from a marauding mercenary crew, the self-destruct sequence, and an escaped deadly parasite. Plus, the characters from the first novel show up towards the end so YAY REUNION!

The Invasion of the Tearling and The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
These sci-fi/fantasy novels take place in a magical fantasy realm that is also humanity’s distant future (past? time travel, dawg). I liked the beginning of the series, when it was political intrigue and assassination plots.

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott
This non-fiction book follows the lives of four different women during the Civil War who acted as spies. The most badass was probably a woman who escaped her abusive home life by dressing as a dude and enlisting. She was never caught, but was often sent on spy missions because she was so good at “posing” as a woman. Go girl.

Next: 2017: The Bad
Previously: 2016: The Good

One response to “2017: The Good”

  1. TheJamesFox says:

    That Scooby Doo By Proxy book sounds pretty interesting!
    Also wow you read like a zillion times more than I do

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