My top 5 “to-read” books of 2017

My goal this year is a have a “year of variety” on my reading list. My goal is to make it a point to read plays, non-fiction, new-fiction, classics, and education. I tend to lean towards the classics, however, I have started listening to new(er) fiction audiobooks, so my list in that genre is growing rapidly. I have already read quite a few books this year, but I am looking forward to my long list that still awaits me. The list grows every day, like most bibliophiles, and most I won’t get to because I have the tendency to go rogue and read everything except the books on my list…it’s a problem. There are, however,  5 books that are my top priority for the year, and by golly, I’m going to read them.

  1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    • Last year I read two works of Russian literature (a novel and a novella both by Fyodor Dostoevsky) and since then I have vowed to read Russian lit. every year. I fell in love with the style and drama of those stories and I have heard Anna Karenina does not disappoint in the slightest. I have seen the movie with Kiera Knightly and I really enjoyed it–yes, it’s crazy and filmed in a very unique way, but that only further intrigues me to read book and see all the drama that was cut for the sake of time in the movie.
  2. The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
    • This story follows the story of a priest in Southern Mexico who is on the run following the slaughter of his fellow priests. I don’t know much about this story, aside from that brief description, however, too many people have recommended it to be for me to ignore and further.
  3. We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
    • This novel will fulfill my desire to read a book published in 2017 and my desire to read a WWII novel. WWII novels are my favorite, and despite my thinking that there couldn’t possibly be more stories about that time period, more keep popping up and they are truly wonderful. This one looks precious. It’s about a Polish, Jewish family who are separated at the beginning of the war and are determined to find their way back to each other. Tears will probably be she in this one.
  4. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
    • This book was recently recommened to me by a friend whose book judgement I fully trust. She told me I would love it, so it goes on the list. I was a little weary at first because I am not the biggest fan of of late 19th century romance novels (i.e. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre…those types of books), and I assumed this one was similar to those. However, I’m going to give it a go, mainly because my friend told me to, and it’s another classic I can check off this list!
  5. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
    • I am obsessed with C.S. Lewis and a year without a book from his would be a sad, sad, year. His books are magical and thought-provoking, always pushing your brain past the narrative and into something deeper. This book has a 4.18 rating on GoodReads, which is pretty good, especially because this is not one of his most popular books. This story is a retelling of the mythical story of Cupid and Psyche and, based off this first line, will trap you in it’s story right from the beginning: “I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of gods.”

 

Wish me luck! If you have any suggestions for me to add to my list, please let me know!

 

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The Night Circus

 

nc.jpegThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

 

My Rating: ★★★★

Favorite Line: “There are no more battles between good and evil, no monsters to slay, no maidens in need of rescue. Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case.”

Review:

This story has mystery, beauty, and tragedy written all over it from the beginning…and you, the reader, has no choice but to read on, tragedy and all.

Celia was born with an incredible gift, Marco learned an incredible skill, and together they build a circus. The circus is none like anyone has seen before. It travels in secret, appears without warning, and is only open at night. Each tent is filled with spectacles beyond the guest’s wildest imaginations. Unknowing to the crowd that wanders through the circus, they are walking through a dueling ground, or battlefield, between a magician and an illusionist, both trying to prove they are the superior power by what they create in the circus.

This book had me in its clutches from the beginning. The characters are strong and captivating. Both main characters, Celia and Marco, draw you into their stories and have you ping ponging between favoring one or the other.

In Celia’s struggle she is faced with cloaking her powers, keeping the circus running properly, and struggling with the pressure her father’s ever-watchful eye all while trying to defeat an opponent whom is hidden from her.

“They are a bunch of fish covered in feathers trying to convince the public they can fly, and I am simply a bird in their midst.”

Marco has spent his whole life in isolation since being plucked from an orphanage by “the man in the grey suit” to be trained as an illusionist. He is torn between wanting the freedom of the world outside and being obligated to defeat his opponent whom he knows is better than he.

“We lead strange lives, chasing our dreams around from place to place.”

In this book there are no limits and Erin Morgenstern fully embraces that with the ever-growing circus and magical illusions and it’s truly a fun journey for the reader.

The difference between four stars and five stars for this book (and most books) is the ending. The ending was a little confusing and was not completely satisfying. The rest of the book was unpredictable and beautiful, but the ending just didn’t do it for me.

With that being said, I highly recommend this book for a magical getaway. It is beautiful, emotional, and mind opening. Long before the end, you will be longing to enter into the world of The Night Circus.

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world”