Book List 2017

Once again it’s time to make my wishlist of books I want to read this year and below that, a list the books I actually do get around to reading

You can also check out how I did the last couple of years on my Book Lists ‘08,  Book Lists ’09Book Lists ’10,  Book Lists’ 11,  Book Lists ’12,  Book Lists 2013, Book Lists 2014, Book List 2015, and Book List 2016 pages.  Visit Library Thing to see every book I’ve ever read as well as my 100 favorite books of all time.

Books to Read in 2017

  • Academy street : a novel by Mary Costello
  • Alice by Christina Henry
  • Archivist Wasp: a novel by Nicole Kornher-Stace
  • The arm : inside the billion-dollar mystery of the most valuable commodity in sports by Jeff Passan
  • Beneath the underdog by Charles Mingus
  • Boxers & Saints  by Gene Yang
  • Brown girl, brownstones by Paule Marshall
  • Canon EOS Rebel T5/1200D For Dummies by Julie Adair King and Robert Correll
  • Charity and Sylvia : a same-sex marriage in early America by Rachel Cleves
  • Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
  • The dazzle of day by Molly Gloss
  • The devil’s picnic : around the world in pursuit of forbidden fruit by Taras Grescoe
  • Dreams to Remember: Otis Redding, Stax Records, and the Transformation of Southern Soul by Mark Ribowsky
  • Encounters with silence by Karl Rahner
  • The first collection of criticism by a living female rock critic by Jessica Hopper
  • For white folks who teach in the hood– and the rest of y’all too : reality pedagogy and urban education by Christopher Emdin
  • Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Davis
  • Global Minstrels: Voices of World Music by Elijah Wald
  • God and empire : Jesus against Rome, then and now by John Crossan 
  • God help the child by Toni Morrison
  • The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks
  • High Tides by Tom Bruno
  • The humans who went extinct : why Neanderthals died out and we survived by Clive Finlayson
  • The island at the center of the world [the epic story of Dutch Manhattan & the forgotten colony that shaped America] by Russell Shorto
  • Jesus the rebel : bearer of God’s peace and justice by John Dear
  • The jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
  • The King’s Best Highway: The Lost History of the Boston Post Road, the Route That Made America by Eric Jaffe
  • The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies by Victoria Bynum
  • Lumberjanes Vol. 2 by Noelle Stevenson
  • A Manifesto for Nonviolent Revolution by George Lakey
  • March: Book One by John Lewis
  • The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand by Jen Downey
  • Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill
  • The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh
  • Our revolution : a future to believe in by Bernard Sanders
  • Roll with the Punches by Amy Gettinger
  • Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything by Becky Bond
  • Saga by Brian Vaughan
  • Sargent’s Daughters: The Biography of a Painting by Erica Hirshler
  • The Second Amendment : a biography by Michael Waldman
  • The secret lives of bats : my adventures with the world’s most misunderstood mammals by Merlin Tuttle
  • Sinatra! the song is you : a singer’s art by Will Friedwald
  • Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, and Dogen’s Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye by Brad Warner
  • Stranger Things Happen: Stories by Kelly Link
  • The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by Rev. Dr. William Barber II
  • The tour guide : walking and talking New York by Jonathan Wynn
  • The tyranny of the meritocracy : democratizing higher education in America by Lani Guinier
  • This is an uprising : how nonviolent revolt is shaping the twenty-first century by Mark Engler
  • Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements by Bob Mehr
  • Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston by Jared Hardesty
  • We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang
  • Why busing failed : conservative politics, TV news, and the backlash to integration by Matthew Delmont
  • Wild seed by Octavia Butler
  • The Winter Cycling Survival Guide by Ramsay Rebecca
  • Your song changed my life by Bob Boilen

Around the World for a Good Book

My Around the World For A Good Book project continues.

  • China: The Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan
  • Djibouti: In the United States of Africa by Abdourahman A. Waber
  • Finland :The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna(BPL, MLN, Hoopla)
  • Guatemala: The President by Miguel Angel Asturias
  • Ghana: Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
  • Kuwait: The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi
  • Morocco: The Happy Marriage by Tahar Ben Jelloun
  • Syria: The Hedgehog by Zakaria Tamer


  • Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones by Brandon Sanderson
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds (BPL, MLN)
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (BPL, MLN)
  • Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (BPL)
  • An American Childhood by Annie Dillard (BPL, MLN, Hoopla)
  • America’s original sin : racism, white privilege, and the bridge to a new America by Jim Wallis (Hoopla)
  • Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (BPL, MLN, Hoopla)
  • Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume (BPL, MLN)
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (BPL, MLN, Hoopla)
  • As You Wish by Cary Elwes (BPL, MLN)
  • Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson (BPL, MLN)
  • The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald (BPL)
  • Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (BPL, MLN)
  • Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Undermines America by Barbara Ehrenreich (MLN)
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (BPL, MLN)
  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (BPL, MLN)
  • A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger (BPL, Hoopla)
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee  Brown (BPL, MLN, Hoopla)
  • Cardboard Gods: An All-American Tale Told through Baseball Cards by Josh Wilker (Hoopla)
  • The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (BPL, MLN)
  • Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser (BPL)
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (BPL, MLN)
  • Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (BPL, MLN)
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (BPL, MLN)
  • The Detonators: The Secret Plot to Destroy America and an Epic Hunt for Justice by Chad Millman
  • Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer (Hoopla)
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King (BPL)
  • The Essential Lewis and Clark (BPL)
  • Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick (MLN)
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City  by Desmond, Matthew (MLN)
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King (Hoopla)
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (BPL)
  • The Gay Revolution by Lillian Faderman (BPL)
  • Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon (MLN, Hoopla)
  • The girl with all the gifts by Mike Carey (BPL)
  • The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord’s Prayer by John Dominic Crossan (Hoopla)
  • The Guts by Roddy Doyle (Hoopla)
  • Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood (BPL, MLN)
  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami (BPL)
  • The  Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed (Hoopla)
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (BPL, MLN)
  • How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
  • Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (BPL, MLN)
  • Independence Lost by Kathleen Duval (Hoopla)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  • The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf (Hoopla)
  • The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough (MLN)
  • The Last Week by Marcus Borg (Hoopla)
  • The Lies of Locke Lamor by Scott Lynch (BPL, MLN, Hoopla)
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (BPL, MLN)
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (BPL, MLN)
  • Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk (Hoopla)
  • Light in August by William Faulkner (BPL)
  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (BPL, MLN)
  • The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien (BPL, MLN)
  • The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam by Barbara W. Tuchman (BPL, Hoopla)
  • Matida by Roald Dahl (BPL, MLN)
  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand (BPL)
  • The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street by Justin Fox (BPL)
  • Nothing Like it In the World by Stephen Ambrose (BPL)
  • Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (BPL)
  • Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution by Neil Degrasse Tyson (BPL)
  • Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent by E.J. Dionne (Hoopla)
  • The Path Between the Seas by David McCullough (BPL)
  • Peacemaking: How to Be It, How to Do It by Thich Nhat Hanh (BPL)
  • The pier falls : and other stories by Mark Haddon (MLN)
  • The Pope and Mussolini by David I. Kertzer (MLN)
  • The Power Broker by Robert Caro (BPL)
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman (BPL)
  • The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood (Hoopla)
  • The regional office is under attack! by Manuel Gonzales (BPL)
  • Revolutionary Summer by Joseph Ellis (MLN)
  • River of Doubt by Candice Millard (BPL, MLN)
  • The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
  • Sabriel by Garth Nix (BPL, MLN)
  • Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore (BPL)
  • Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan (MLN)
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (BPL, MLN)
  • Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants by Jane Goodall (MLN)
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel Josâe Older (BPL, Hoopla)
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • The Sisters Are Alright by Tamara Winfrey Harris (Hoopla)
  • So Close to Home by Michael J. Tougias
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (BPL, MLN)
  • The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mohandas Ghandi (Hoopla)
  • Swing Time by Zadie Smith (BPL, MLN)
  • Time and Again by Jack Finney (BPL)
  • To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild (Hoopla)
  • To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (BPL, MLN)
  • A Triumph of Genius by Ronald K. Fierstien (Hoopla)
  • Truman by David McCullough (BPL)
  • Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry (BPL)
  • Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang (BPL, MLN)
  • Welcome To Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson (Hoopla)
  • When Affirmative Action Was White  by Ira Katznelson (Hoopla)
  • Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson (BPL, MLN)
  • Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle (BPL)

The 2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge

Read a book about sports.
Read a debut novel.
Read a book about books.
Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.
Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative.
Read an all-ages comic.
Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.
Read a travel memoir.
Read a book you’ve read before.
Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location.
Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location.
Read a fantasy novel.
Read a nonfiction book about technology.
Read a book about war.
Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.
Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.
Read a classic by an author of color.
Read a superhero comic with a female lead.
Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey.
Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel My Year Zero by Rachel Gold
Read a book published by a micropress.
Read a collection of stories by a woman.
Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love.
Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color.

Books Read in 2017

And here are the books I’ve actually read.  The books are rated on a scale from 1 to 5 stars with links to summary reviews.

Here’s a thumbnail of what the ratings mean:

  • 5 stars – all-time classic (I’m very stingy with these)
  • 4 stars – a particularly interesting, well-written, or important book
  • 3 stars – a good book from start to finish
  • 2 stars – not a good book on the whole but has some good parts
  • 1 star or less – basically a bad book with no redeeming values







  • Boston’s South End, The Clash of Ideas in a Historic Neighborhood by Russ Lopez


  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (A)
  • Holy Spokes : The Search for Urban Spirituality on Two Wheels by Laura Everett


  • I Was Told to Come Alone by Souad Mekhennet (A)
  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler
  • The Fifties by David Halberstam