Mama’s 2017 Year-End Book Review

Since Christmas is upon us full force and I’m just trying to keep up with the pace, I’m going to admit near defeat and confess that I probably won’t read much more between now and the dawning of 2018.

Even now, as my children are simultaneously napping (can you also hear the heavenly choirs belting their songs?), I’m struggling to decide how to spend my time. Do I type this post (you’re welcome!)? Finish my last DIY gift (probably the more sensible choice)? Wrap presents (eh, I’ve got plenty of time!)? Clean (hahahaha…)?

My life’s motto.

Read? Nap? Watch my new FAVORITE Masterpiece Theatre show: The Durrells in Corfu (I’m obsessed! I subscribe to the Masterpiece channel through Amazon Prime. I just finished season 3 of Poldark, and I miiiiss it!)?

It’s a hard life I lead, y’all.

And so, let us take a moment to glance back over the past 11.5 months to reminisce about books for both big and small. I read some delightful stories and, frankly, some complete duds. Happily, I discovered a number of new children’s picture books, which, thankfully, George enjoyed as well.

This is the secret to how I finished 48 books this year. Sorry, kids!

The Toddler’s Favorites of 2017

These are titles we sat on for a few weeks. George would bring them back to me again and again.

carrotsTurkey Trouble, Turkey Trick or Treat, and Turkey Claus by Wendi Silvano

Creepy Carrots  and Creepy Pair of Underwear, both by Aaron Reynolds

I Love you Like a Pig by Mac Barnett – I still don’t understand this book!

Where’s Walrus? And Penguin? by Stephen Savage

Mine! by Jeff Mack

Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run!: An Alphabet Caper by Mike Twohy

statesI’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton

The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller

The Z was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg

The Nuts: Sing and Dance in your Polka-Dot Pants by Eric Litwin

Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood

Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman

Mama’s 2017 Favorites for the Toddler

These are titles I look back on fondly, but didn’t appeal to George quite as much.

carnivoreCarnivores by Aaron Reynolds

Big Words for Little Geniuses by James and Susan Patterson

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

Triangle by Mac Barnett

I Am Not a Chair! by Ross Burach

The Very Clumsy Click Beetle by Eric Carle – This one is on here for my husband. He’s a biologist who gets very excited when he finds a click beetle in nature (or any sidewalk).

Mama’s 2017 Picks for baby Olivia

Since she can only make her intentions known by pointing her tiny finger or plopping down on your lap, I’m taking the liberty of making this list for her.

monsterNever Touch a Monster by Rosie Greening – My new favorite touch-and-feel.

Baby Talk by Dawn Sirett – This book has large, durable, cardboard flaps, which are perfect for a teething baby with chubby hands.

Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy!: A touch, skritch, & tickle book by Sandra Boynton

Beecause I Love You by Sandra Magsamen – Mostly because of the plush antenna.

Mama’s 2017 Favorites for the Literary Crowd

These books weren’t necessarily published in 2017, but I discovered them this year–much to my delight. These are the books I can recall best and love to share with anyone who cares to listen.

marriageMarriage: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick

Mrs. Dusick also wrote Children: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures. Apparently, I’m a fan of humorous writing accompanied by crappy pictures (See: Hyperbole and a Half). I’m also a fan of books that echo my life. 

If I find myself with boo-coos of free time, I’ll be sure to create my own crappy pictures for your general amusement. Do computers even have Microsoft Paint anymore? That’s a sad thought…

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I’m still thinking about this book, even after writing a love letter to it months ago. I now dedicate myself to reading other books by Mr. Backman.

The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family’s Method to College Ready by Twelve by Kip Harding

I’m not sure that we’ll fit George into this mold, but it gave a lot of food for thought. Did anyone else struggle to fill high school hours with meaningless credits simply because they were required? I definitely had a few too many “study halls” to fill my days. The moral? Work smarter, not harder!

A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers

Y’all. Can you truly beat Francine Rivers when it comes to Christian fiction? The woman is a marvel.

The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling

And the autobiography of my year goes to…Dancing with the Stars runner-up, Lindsey Stirling!

crapOh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right by Jamie Glowacki

This book saved my sanity during George’s potty training. Just so you don’t think my life is all golden rainbows and jellybeans (which, ironically, were the special treat for going numero dos in the potty), it took George about six months to fiiiiiinally figure this whole she-bang out.

The title says it all! Three years old — day and night training complete! Boo-yah. (Also, I’d like to apologize for the number of times the word “crap” has appeared in this post. It’s not my favorite word, as it makes me feel rather…crappy.)

The Only Thing Worse than Me is You by Lily Anderson

My favorite young adult novel this year. I am biased since my favorite Shakespeare play is Much Ado About Nothing, but I thought this clever, quirky adaptation hit the nail on the head.

heartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer

I will continue to devour everything Marissa Meyer writes, especially after the Lunar Chronicle series.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I only pass along good books, and this sci-fi trilogy is about to be wrapped up for someone’s Christmas present. Perfect for the 18-35-year-old male demographic, I’d say. And, apparently, me.

And now, a word from our sponsor! I asked my husband to contribute to our list. He mainly reads non-fiction books about computer programming and statistics, but occasionally forays into fantasy, sci-fi, finance, classics, and Christian leadership. Yes, it is difficult for us to find an audiobook for roadtrips! Thank you for asking!

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – I’m taking full credit for this one. I started it, then the Hubs got interested. Well, I only read like 200 pages and moved on. Maybe I’ll earn some nerd cred and try it again someday soon.

Doing Bayesian Data Analysis by John Kruschke

Python For Data Analysis by Wes McKinney – And by “Python,” it doesn’t mean snakes.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information  by Edward Tufte

Yes, those last three are written in English. As an English major, I can attest to that much. As to the definitions of about 3/4 of those words? Yeah, you’ve got me there. What can I say? I married a brilliant man!

Have you read anything worth sharing this year? I’m always looking for recommendations.

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