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The 10 Best Books I Read in 2017

Not only am I a teacher, I am also an avid reader.  Each year I set lofty goals on Goodreads.com and then I read voraciously to try and meet them.  This year I set a goal of 50 books, but I was sidelined from six months of migraines and fell behind.  I plan on setting the same goal next year and with the migraines at bay, I hope to reach it!  Personally, I am always looking for new books to read so I compiled a list of the best books I read in 2017.  Some of these are new, some are old.  Most I read for the first time, but a few were books I chose to read again.  They are in no particular order.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

This book may be my favorite.  Lisa Wingate wrote an amazing story that is shocking, upsetting, uplifting, and surprisingly, partially true!  Before We Were Yours tells the story of a group of siblings who were stolen from their parents when their father took their mother to the hospital.  They were kidnapped by a police officer and turned over to a woman named Georgia Tann.  This is where the true story comes in, Georgia Tann was a woman who ran a child trafficking ring out of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.

Meanwhile, present day, Avery Stafford is a young woman who seems to have it all.  A great career, a fiancee, successful parents, and a wedding on the way.  Avery meets a woman while making an appearance for her politician father who seems to know Avery from another life.  Avery begins looking into this woman’s life and uncovering a story of heartbreak, survival, and family.

I read this with my book club and it was one of the only books we’ve all agreed on in the 3 years we’ve been meeting!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

This is one of the books that I re-read.  I have read this series probably five times and it never gets old.  The magic of Harry Potter is that I know people of all ages who love this story.  It is a fantasy story, but as someone who does not like sci-fi or fantasy, I can say that it is still amazing.

Reading the Harry Potter series takes me to another world where anything is possible, the hero always wins (even though sometimes it looks grim), and friendship and loyalty prosper.  Harry Potter is a young orphan who is miserable living with his aunt, uncle, and cousin.  They are awful to him and seem to wish that he would disappear.  Harry gets invited to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he discovers the world of his parents, where not only is he welcome, he is famous!  This is just a heartwarming fun story that I recommend to everyone.  If only I could get my sister to finally read it!

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

Mileva Maric is a young woman who believes that she will never find a husband.  She focuses her time on schooling when that is not a norm for young girls.  Mileva goes to an elite university in Zurich where she is the only female in a class of men, competing to be better than them.  Mileva catches the eye of a young Albert Einstein who she eventually marries.  During their relationship, there are many times where Mileva is forced to choose between her career and her relationship.

This was another book club book this year and we found so many topics to discuss mostly feminism.  Mileva originally does not think she will marry because she is physically disabled.  She is not expected to succeed because she is a woman.  And when she is married she is expected to put her career behind her husband’s.  This was a very thought-provoking and well-written book.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

This book was a bit of a thriller.  The story starts with two young couples at a dinner party.  Because the host does not like babies, Anne and Marco decide to leave their baby next door with a baby monitor on them and check on her every thirty minutes.  They come home late at night to find the baby gone and no sign of where she went.  The investigation that ensues has so many twists and turns your head will spin.  I usually find myself proud of how I can see a lot of twists coming, but this story threw me for a loop so many times I can not count them all!

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

This is another book that was a re-read for me.  I personally love Agatha Christie books, especially ones in the Hercule Poirot series.  In this novel, Hercule is unexpectedly summoned to help solve a case and ends up on a train with a bunch of strangers.  When the train gets stuck in a snow drift and someone ends up dead, it is up to Poirot to solve the crime.  With unexpected twists and connections, this story is one of Christie’s best.

I wanted to read this book again because the movie came out, and I have to say, the movie was also very good.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

This book is a book for personal growth.  Ruiz shares with his audience his four personal rules to be happy and healthy.  This book provides you with a code of conduct for your life that helps you to put things into perspective, have good relationships, and be successful.

There were parts of the book that wasn’t for me but overall it really put things in perspective.

Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely if You’re Reading This Book by Bobby Bones

Bobby Bones is the host of his own national radio show on country radio.  He can be a polarizing figure but personally, I am a fan.  This is his book about how he started out life poor and unpopular and worked his way to being one of the most successful people in radio today.  This story emphasizes the need for hard work to be successful.  I found that this book reminded me that if you want anything in life you have to work for it.

Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah

Agatha Christie’s novels were phenomenal and Sophie Hannah picks up where she left off.  I am not sure how Ms. Hannah is connected to Agatha Christie, if at all, but she is writing additional stories about Hercule Poirot and it is hard to tell the difference between the authors.  The stories are unexpected, entertaining, and thought-provoking.  I believe that any Hercule fan would love Sophie Hannah’s books, and I hope she continues to write them.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson wrote this book about when he was a young lawyer and he started the Equal Justice Initiative.  In the book, Stevenson takes on difficult cases of those who are wrongfully convicted.  The major storyline in the story is when he fought to free Walter McMillian, a man who was convicted of a murder he claims he didn’t commit and is now on death row.  This book covers the topics of racial profiling, socioeconomic status, and hard work.  I thought this book was an eye opener of the things that are still happening in our country that I couldn’t imagine.

After You by Jojo Moyes

This book is the sequel to Me Before You and it picks up with Louisa after Will’s death.  When home one night she has an accident that her friends and family question whether or not it was an accident.  She ends up having to move back home with her parents while she recovers and is the victim of many sideways glances.  In this story, she learns how to live again and how to fall in love again.  If you liked Me Before You, or you are a fan of Jojo Moyes’s work, this book was excellent.  You could read this without reading the first story but its definitely better to read both!

What was your favorite book this year?  I’m looking for recommendations for 2018!

Leave your answer in the comments.

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