Books in 2017, and ‘Goals’ for 2018


2017 was a good year for me in books. I read 21, which is 4 more than my original challenge of 17. I discovered some new (to me) authors, but most importantly I think I finally brought back my reading mojo.

Aside from that, I also bought much less than I usually do (which is a good thing), and I found myself reading what I already have. It wasn’t quite the three out one in I was hoping for, but it was still better than other years.

Fingers crossed for 2018. God willing, these trends will continue.

In 2017 I also started a separate Instagram account for all my book-related posts.

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Come join me there if you haven’t yet!

At first I thought that Goodreads yearly review would be enough for me, but no. I want to write an actual post, even if it’s just a line or two about each book I’ve read last year.

Even if my notes are short, the post itself is still kinda long – after all, I am talking about twenty-one books here. So it’s all blissfully hidden under the cut. If you’re not keen on book notes, scroll down to the very end for my tentative 2018 reading goals.


The New One Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard

The problem with these books is stretching the message to, well, turn it into a book. I do want to give it to nigh every person in management, though.

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K. Glei

A collection of articles on various subjects concerning self-discipline and motivation. I liked it, but can’t say I found anything I haven’t already read on the myriad of self-improvement blogs I still occasionally binge read.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

My third work by Gaiman. As enjoyable as the other two. He really has a knack for this magical storytelling that’s pretty much suitable for children, but then bam, blood thirst and mayhem ensues.

Thank you, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Jeeves is good fun, but I think short stories suit him better than novels.

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The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma

No. Nope. I refuse to talk about this. Never again. I will kick this book out of people’s hands at bookshops.

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

First read for a book club my friend and I semi-organised at work. I remember reading parts of it as a kid. Found it enjoyable as an adult as well.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Yet another book I am inclined to kick out of the hands of strangers in bookshops. I should have liked this book – the subject of reading, obvious gothic influences, the language isn’t half-bad – but it is such an amalgam of all the cliches, I just couldn’t. Left a bad taste in my mouth for weeks.

Hotel by Arthur Hailey

This book is … calming. I read it when depressed. The book’s effect I can only describe as positive. Though there are no real twists, turns, or action, it was hard to put down. Looking forward to other works by the author.

Murder in Mesopotamia (Hercule Poirot, #14) by Agatha Christie

Great setting, amazing story.

Evil Under the Sun (Hercule Poirot #24) by Agatha Christie

… What I said above.

Five Little Pigs (Hercule Poirot #25) by Agatha Christie

… And again. :D Honestly, I can’t really review Agatha Christie. I love her works, and hope to one day read them all.

Год души. Православный календарь с чтением на каждый день (2016)

Translation: Year of the Soul. An Orthodox Calendar with Daily Devotional Reading. This is a 2016 edition. As you can see, I’m behind on my spiritual reading, sadly. As I write this, 2017 calendar is still not finished. I religiously (lol) buy this almanac every year, and attempt to keep up. Sometimes I manage, most of the time I don’t. Nevertheless, it has good material that matters to my faith day in, day out.

Понедельник начинается в субботу by the Strugatsky Brothers

Translation: Monday begins on Saturday. My first work by the Strugatsky brothers, and I am glad I started with this one. It’s a lighthearted, kind read that I sincerely recommend to others. If you are unaware of the Soviet/ Russian realities, then some concepts may be lost on you, but I wouldn’t let that stop you.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

Second book club read, which was wildly unpopular with most of my peers. Me, I enjoyed every single line of this book. I have no idea how Wilde manages to fit so much humour, irony, wit, and brilliance into such a short play.

Прихожанка. Женский православный календарь на 2016 год

Translation: Churchwoman. Woman Orthodox Calendar 2016. I’ve never bought this almanac before. This was amongst the piles of books habitually brought home by father. This one has, should we say, simpler material than the devotional reading I’ve mentioned above. It included recipes, pages of reading for children, some poetry, but also touched on some subjects that are important for the woman of the Church both from modern and biblical point of view. I enjoyed this, and already asked my brother to procure years 2017 and 2018 for me. (And their hummus recipe was the bomb diggity.)

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

My fourth book by Gaiman. This is a tale for children, or so they say. I found it very compelling as an adult.

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The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1) by Robert Galbraith

If you did not fully enjoy the Cuckoo’s Calling, don’t let that stop you from reading other books in the series. The first one is the weakest of the three books. Nevertheless, it’s a good foundation for what seems to be my most anticipated series right now.

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2) by Robert Galbraith

Much better than the first one. A really strong continuation of the series. Also, if you found the first book light on the crime, so to say, this one will certainly not disappoint you.

A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets by James Bowen

This was probably the most surprising book of the year. I received it as a gift from Oxana some months back. I expected this to be a lighthearted humorous tale about a kitten. It is that, but it’s also much more than that. Bowen introduces people to the subjects of poverty, homelessness, and addiction. This book was actually eye-opening to me on some subjects, and forgive me for being jaded, but rarely ever a book is eye-opening for me these days. As I mentioned on my Instagram, this would make a great gift. As I understand, there’s a kid version as well.

Hickory Dickory Dock (Hercule Poirot, #30) by Agatha Christie

I think it’s the first work by Christie that I haven’t found unputdownable. It was slow to pull me in, and the resolution was a little… shaky, for lack of a better word.

The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-wise Cat by James Bowen

A continuation of Bob’s adventures. This book is more of a collection of stories than a solid narrative, but still enjoyable. I’ve got one book left in the series that I’ve saved for 2018. Random note: I own The World According to Bob both in Russian (hardcover) and English (e-book).

Book Goals for 2018

As Goodreads will inform you, I set myself a goal to read 26 books this year. Five books more than in 2017; one book every two weeks. Sounds like a manageable goal.

Aside from that, I want to:

  • read a Russian classic. Our current book club read is Demons by Dostoevsky, should work;
  • finish a book or two from the list of my ‘currently reading’ shelf. My ‘cr’ shelf on Goodreads is full of books I haven’t exactly abandoned, but just stopped reading at some point and found difficult to come back to. I like the books there – if I don’t, I reshelf them as ‘didn’t finish’ – it’s just that the mood is gone;
  • finish Les Miserables. When did the movie come out? That’s how long I’ve been ploughing through this. Ridiculous, really;
  • Instagram every read. I never took pictures of some books, dunno why;
  • have a book club meet up at least every other month. We started out on enthusiasm, but it has waned over the last couple of months. I still want to see the damn thing up and running, but I suppose we should set meetings every two months;
  • write a bi-monthly or quarterly book post here. I tried doing monthly digests, but I don’t really read that many books to have monthly posts about them. So every 2-3 months it is.

There are also more ambitious ideas, like reading a book in Spanish and a book in Romanian, but I didn’t want to add them into goals, as it would make my list too rigid and would take the joy out of reading.

Any reading goals for 2018?