2017 book list

Every December 31 I publish a list of everything I read that year, for my own record keeping, sure, but also because I love sharing books. Being a professional book person, I’m always really stoked to connect people with new reads. So feel free to dig around and ask me about books you’re curious about, but also feel free to ignore all this nerdery and carry on with your day. 🙂

(But if you want to get really deep into this mess, previous years: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.)

On with the show!


If there’s an asterisk in front of it, it means that I’ve read it before.

January 11: Jan Karon, Home to Holly Springs
January 17: Wesley Hill, Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love as a Celibate Gay Christian
February 4: Tim Keller, Making Sense of God
February 11: Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary
March 1: Alice Walker, The Color Purple
March 6: Jesmyn Ward et al., The Fire This Time
March 9: Austin Kleon, Steal Like An Artist
March 14: James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
March 17: Carl Hiaasen, Bad Monkey
March 24: Guy Delisle, Pyongyang
*March 30: Leif Enger, Peace Like a River
March 30: Anthony Volaro, Leah L. White, et al., The Library Innovation Toolkit
April 17: Noelle Stevenson et al., Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy
April 20: Tom Rob Smith, The Farm
April 25: Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns
April 25: Noelle Stevenson et al., Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max
May 3: James Dashner, The Death Cure
May 17: Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club
May 21: W. David O. Taylor et al., For the Beauty of the Church
May 25: Meg Gardiner, Phantom Instinct
*June 3: Dorothy Sayers, Whose Body?
June 7: Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
June 8: Brit Bennett, The Mothers
June 9: Dorothy Sayers, Clouds of Witness
June 15: Malcolm Guite, Sounding the Seasons
June 15: Louise Penny, How the Light Gets In
June 16: Dorothy Sayers, Unnatural Death
June 22: Sara Pennypacker, Pax
June 30: Louise Penny, Still Life
July 1: Alyssa Cole, An Extraordinary Union
July 7: Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath and the Dawn
July 16: Donald S. Whitney, Praying the Bible
July 18: Nnedi Okorafor, Binti
July 26: Joanne Fluke, Apple Turnover Murder
July 26: Louise Erdrich, Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country
July 26: Dorothy Sayers, Lord Peter Views the Body
August 5: Nnedi Okorafor, Binti: Home
August 9: Jennifer Van Allen & Pamela Nisevich Bede, Runner’s World Run to Lose
August 18: Jan Karon, In the Company of Others
August 19: Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad
August 23: April Smith, Home Sweet Home
August 23: Wesley Hill, Washed and Waiting
August 29: Mike Cosper, Recapturing the Wonder
September 6: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions
September 8: Renee Ahdieh, The Rose and the Dagger
September 19: Laura Lippman, Wilde Lake
September 22: Sandra Maria Van Opstal, The Next Worship
September 28: Dorothy Sayers, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
October 5: Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy
October 6: Paulette Jiles, News of the World
October 14: Louise Penny, A Fatal Grace
October 19: John Green, Turtles All the Way Down
*October 21: Tim Keller, Preaching
October 24: Dorothy Sayers, Strong Poison
October 26: Paul Doiron, The Poacher’s Son
November 9: Dorothy Sayers, Have His Carcase
November 20: Joseph Finder, Guilty Minds
November 21: Dorothy Sayers, Hangman’s Holiday
*November 21: Lauren Winner, Mudhouse Sabbath
*December 5: James K.A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom
December 6: Dorothy Sayers, Murder Must Advertise
December 10: Dorothy Sayers, The Nine Tailors
December 12: Attica Locke, Bluebird, Bluebird
December 18: Tony Reinke, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You
December 23: W.B. Sprague, Lectures on Revivals
December 28: Margaret Maron, Christmas Mourning
December 28: Sally and Sarah Clarkson, The Lifegiving Home

PART 2: The Statistics

total read: 68

fiction: 40

non-fiction: 24

graphic novels/memoirs: 3

poetry: 1

rereads: 5

ebooks: 40

library books: 59

books written or edited by women: 44

books written or edited by people of color: 18

most read author: Dorothy Sayers, with 10

PART 3: The Top 10

These are my favorite books that aren’t re-reads from this year.

Liturgy of the Ordinary

The Warmth of Other Suns

Recapturing the Wonder

The Underground Railroad

For the Beauty of the Church

Just Mercy

Turtles All the Way Down

The Mothers

Murder Must Advertise

The Color Purple

saturday session (12/30)

Hello hello! It’s the last Saturday of 2017. I’m chilling out with a cup of coffee and a podcast. The weather is cold and crisp and we’re supposed to bring in the new year with some freezing temperatures(!), which has the indoors looking a little more welcoming at the moment.

How was everybody’s Christmas? Mine was very low-key–just went over to my parents’ place and hung out and ate the annual Christmas tacos. My dad added enchiladas to the mix this year for the heck of it and they were really good, I thought. I got some books and a DVD player like it’s 2005, but hey, I work for a place with free DVDs, and Netflix and Amazon Prime still don’t have everything.

I missed last week for this, so a couple of the links are Christmasy, but Christmastide lasts until January 5, so it’s fine. 🙂 Anyway, here you go:

See y’all in 2018! (Well. One more post tomorrow.)



thursday 13

This week: 13 goals for 2018. I have to do really concrete, measurable things or else I won’t do them:

  1. Memorize three things on this big list I have of things I want to memorize, because I’m a giant nerd.
  2. See five live concerts or theater. (5/17: Hamilton (!!!!!). 5/24: Houston Men’s Choir.)
  3. Try a new restaurant at least once a month. (January: Tadashii Ramen. February: Kraftsmen Bakery. March: John and Jane Dough and Hughie’s and the gelato place that’s next to Hughie’s that I don’t feel like looking up. April: Can’t remember! I know I did get to one, though)
  4. Go on a vacation out of town–which I haven’t done since…2014?
  5. Sign up for a 5K and actually do it.
  6. Finish all the book series I’m in the middle of.
  7. Actually read all of the books in this year’s Tournament of Books at The Morning News.
  8. Read at least five books by authors of Asian descent. (Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng; Goodbye Vitamin by Rachael Khong; Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.)
  9. Write and record a song.
  10. Submit at least one article proposal per quarter.
  11. Go on a date. (The tricky part will be finding someone to go on a date with.)
  12. Another nerd thing: Catalog all of my books and add bookplates to them.
  13. Someone on the staff at my new church proposed the idea that we start a small library–my goal is to actually write and submit a proposal and do it.

right now: December 2017.

Making : I have moved on to a red scarf–chunky yarn, seed stitch, should knit up pretty quickly. It’s cold around here, yo. (I see all you northeners giving me the side-eye. I live in a sub-tropical climate; it’s cold for here, okay?)

Cooking : I made this spaghetti aglio e olio with lots of kale from Bon Appetit yesterday and may or may not have had some for breakfast this morning. It’s really good and it’ll get a serving of greens in your system, so I recommend.

Drinking : Coffee coffee coffee coffee. (I’ve recently taken to putting cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger in my coffee while it’s brewing; this is a very good idea.) Also, the apple cranberry tea from Trader Joe’s. Trying to drink more water.

Reading: The Lifegiving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson–trying to power through one last book in 2017. 🙂 I also got Awaiting the King by James K.A. Smith for Christmas, so as soon as I do another read-through of Imagining the Kingdom I’ll tackle that one next.

Wanting: I think my next knitting project is going to be a hat for myself. (See also: It is cold.)

Looking: At sales sections of clothing stores and websites for end of year deals.

Playing: Nertz. I got introduced to this card game by a new church friend–it’s like speed and solitaire mashed together and it’s definitely something you have to pay attention to. I got the app for my phone and have been playing a lot…

Deciding: On whether or not I want a lined notebook or a dotted notebook for bullet journaling this year. Probably lined.

Wishing: I had tickets to Hamilton, but that’s, like, every day.

Enjoying: This cold weather, seriously. I love it. I definitely would much rather have this than how it’s going to be in about five months when it’ll be 8000 degrees outside. Cold weather lends itself to coziness; hot weather lends itself to feeling like you’re gonna die.

Waiting: For New Year’s Eve plans…

Liking: Sleeping in fuzzy socks, even though I inevitably kick them off in the middle of the night.

Wondering: How my subconscious came up with the word “naffable” in my dream last night–a portmanteau of naff (British slang for tacky/in bad taste) + affable. Cheerily tacky, or the perfect adjective for most Christmas sweaters.

Loving: All the end-of-year lists that are getting published.

Pondering: What 2018 is going to look like, both on a macro and a micro scale. I have a list of goals I’ve made for myself (coming tomorrow in the Thursday 13), and I’m going to try to make those happen, but I also wonder what the political and social situation in the US is going to be like. I wonder what other stuff Robert Mueller is going to dig up, too, and how the midterm elections are going to shift things.

Considering: Giving to my local NPR station.

Buying: Just got a new pair of shoes and some leggings yesterday (thanks, Target clearance section).

Watching: Been into Mind of a Chef and Parts Unknown lately; going to hop into a bunch of shows in the new year; got a handful of movies from work that I’m going to dig into. Also saw The Last Jedi with my dad and enjoyed it quite a bit; I don’t get all the hate, but I also am not a huge Star Wars fangirl, so.

Hoping: That a vacancy will open up at this apartment complex I’m hoping to move into…

Marveling: At the incarnation, always.

Needing: Boxes for packing (my lease runs out at the end of January).

Questioning: Why I waited so long to call that apartment complex (see “Hoping”).

Smelling: I have this pine-scented candle from last Christmas that I’ve been burning a lot lately.

Wearing: Right now? New TOMS, blue socks with silver moons and stars printed on them, grey chinos, blue and white shirt, Fitbit.

Following: Where the Spirit goes, I guess. I dunno.

Thinking: About what kind of spiritual formation my soul is receiving right now.

Admiring: The ambition/reading abilities of some of my colleagues whose reading totals will top 100 this year. (Y’all thought I read a lot…)

Sorting: Nothing at the moment, although I will probably be getting into that in the new year as I prep to move…

Getting: Christmas presents!

Bookmarking: Actually, nothing at the moment, although I do have a Google spreadsheet of books I eventually want to hit up, but that’s not exactly the same thing, now is it?

Coveting: This dress, OMG.

Disliking: My propensity for procrastination.

Opening: Probably a Fitbit Fit account in the new year…

Giggling: Uncontrollably at this.

Feeling: Overall, pretty pleased with my life right now. Which is nice.

Snacking: Loads of clementines, because it’s citrus season and they’re cheap and I need the vitamin C.

Hearing: Listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtracks because why not.

Christmas Day: Mary.

I am waiting in this room
for my deliverance to come–

do little ones hear their mamas cry out
as they’re being pushed and squeezed into this world?
It feels as though my whole self will be rent
in two by you, little boy, as my body sends
you out from its safety into the night air.

Joseph’s family doesn’t have room in their house,
especially not for me, his young wife, his scandalous wife,
and our scandalous son. The midwives are holding me
up by the hands like Aaron and Hur while I
fight for the victory of the Lord amidst strangers and animals.

Oh, child, this is not glory.
This is not majesty. This is blood
and groaning and every muscle in my body
crying out for you to be born.

fourth week of Advent: Bathsheba.

I am waiting in this room
for my salvation to come–

but there is none coming for me, is there?
My husband is away at war, like the
good and faithful servant to the king that he is.
And I, his wife, who am I?
The king’s servant? The king’s plaything?
Either way, he will do with me as he wishes.

I know there are other women who wait
in the wings of the palace, who wait for him
so they can both fuel and quench his desire.

What must they think of me? Envy? Pity?
All I am left with is questions and a prayer
that God will look on me with mercy
for what is about to happen,
if indeed He is looking at me–naked, ashamed–at all.

third week of advent: Ruth.

I am waiting at this gate
For my redeemer to come–

I don’t know that I’d call it love,
not exactly. Affection, sure. Gratitude.
He has been kind beyond kindness,
without obligation. He obviously loves
this God I am slowly starting to know,
with a love that is apparently a rarity in these days.

If he says yes, may he be father to a son
that will not be counted as his;
may I be like the mothers I’ve heard the stories of,
a foreigner adding to the people of Israel.

His God will be my God, his people my people.
Or are they already? That is the mystery and the miracle.

saturday session (12/16)

Hi, everybody. It’s Saturday. Right now John Green (the bestselling YA author) and his brother Hank are doing something called the Project For Awesome in which they raise money for charity and they’re also doing a 48-hour livestream on YouTube which is involving stuff like people covering their faces in guacamole (no, seriously, that happened last night). The world is weird and wonderful and people are using that weirdness for good, so if you would like to donate some money to a good cause, go check that out.


I, meanwhile, am at work while you’re reading this (thanks, post scheduling capabilities), and this weekend I have like a million things to go do because Christmas. I was just mentioning to a friend that I have almost no free nights this month thanks to people doing holiday-related whatnot and inviting me to them, and I go to them, and it’s fun but it also means I did laundry last night at 9:30 pm. Alas. So it goes.

Anyway, here are the links:

thursday 13

This week: Thirteen Advent or Christmas songs that aren’t the same ones that get played over and over and over.

  1. “He Who Is Mighty” (Sovereign Grace Music)
  2. “Gaudete” (traditional carol)
  3. “Winter Song” (Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson)
  4. “Sister Winter” (Sufjan Stevens)
  5. “Glory Be” (Sojourn Music)
  6. “Thou Who Wast Rich” (traditional carol)
  7. “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” (traditional carol)
  8. “Song of the Magi” (Anais Mitchell)
  9. “Love Came Down at Christmas” (written by Christina Rossetti, but performed here by Jars of Clay)
  10. “Green Grows the Holly” (traditional carol)
  11. “Getting Ready for Christmas Day” (Paul Simon)
  12. “All That I Want” (The Weepies)
  13. “Down In Yon Forest” (Kemper Crabb)