It can be tempting in these summary of the year posts (especially when I'm days behind all the other "Best of 2017" list publications) to just go back and copy what I wrote previously (to see those posts just click on the title of the book and it will take you to that blog post) but, I guess what I'm interested in discussing is why these books? Why were these my favorites? Why do they stand out this year? Here are my top picks for 2017:
Ariel Levy- The Rules Do Not Apply
Tyler Knott Gregson- Wildly into the Dark
Mohsin Hamid- Exit West
Kamila Shamsie- Home Fire
Tom Hanks- Uncommon Type
2017- The year of the woman. The year were all of our inner feminists came spilling out. Everything about this year felt like a revolution to me, and I feel like it did for a lot of people. 2017 was the year that I wore a sleeveless dress and danced all night long, the year that I finally bought and rocked a swimsuit for the first time in a decade, it's the year I was brave enough to pierce my nose, but more importantly it was the year where I was brave enough to love myself just as I am. Now, it took a lot of therapy to get to this enlightened state... but it also took media, and books, and more importantly other people. Real quick I just want to talk about 3 of the 4 movies I saw in the theater this year (sorry Thor, you have to sit this round out)... but Beauty & the Beast, Wonder Woman, and Lady Bird. Beautiful movies with strong female roles and contributors (writers, directors, etc). Loved all three and I'm really hoping that Lady Bird cleans up this award season.
But onto the books... because I'm hoping that's what you really come here for.
I chose these five books because they left an impression. They are political. They are romantic. They are human.
In The Rules Do Not Apply I found a writer who falls in love with a woman (like me- lucky for her, hers was actually available). I will never forget sitting around a fire in Breckenridge with a room full of mindful strong women discussing this book. Some of us loved Ariel, some of us not so much... but we all learned from her, and we were all rooting for her. And there lies the rub-- female friendships-- and rooting for each other. In 2017 I think we all came a little closer to our true nature.
Lesson: Surround yourself with those who lift you up.
In Wildly Into the Dark I found a poet who is the embodiment of the kind of love I want. Passionate, Consuming, Political--- a force. This book is steaming hot.
Lesson: The love you crave exists.
In Exit West there is a scene so beautiful when one of the refugees we've followed finally gets to take a shower. Have you ever felt that way? After a long, long day- maybe touring a foreign city, or just hanging with your sick babies all day.... and you finally start running the shower water, and the bathroom starts steaming up. And it's just you. And you breathe. And you feel how tired you really are. This moment was so human. Along with 50 other moments that makes this book probably my most favorite read of the year!
Lesson: We are all humans who can be displaced. Compassion, compassion, compassion.
In Home Fire I again run into the lesson of compassion. Every terrorist is somebody's brother, son, relative. Every person has a story. And how living in this age of misinformation and fake news- how can we be led astray down paths we can't return from?
Lesson: There is more than what we read about on the surface. Go deeper.
And lastly, in Uncommon Type I find stories of simplicity, but of so much beauty. I particularly loved this passage:
"In her living room she opened the windows to get a bit of breeze. The sun had set, so the first fireflies of the evening would begin to flare in a bit. She sat on the windowsill and enjoyed the cold, shaped pineapple and watched as squirrels ran along the telephone wires, perfect sine waves with their bodies and tails. Sitting there, she had her second ice pop as well, until the fireflies began to float magically above the patches of grass and sidewalk."
And then the woman gets up, goes to her typewriter, and starts typing, "These are the Meditations of my Heart".
Lesson: And I guess I loved this particular short story so much because it is a woman, healing her heart, taking in all that's around her and meditating on it. I've learned that these moments are where my greatest source of happiness comes from- the sunset, the open road, the changing of the seasons, the song that brings me to tears, and the books that help me grow.
I don't want to give anymore away than I have in previous posts... so check them out! Then let me know what you think!
Happy 2018 Book Lovers!