A Year in Reading – 2017

It’s always at this time of the year that you tend to look back at what you’ve done the past couple of months. Even though I can be proud of myself for daring publish a short story on Amazon, for getting a job that I truly love and for organising the best wedding I could have dreamt of, I’m telling myself a big “meh” in term of readings.

I feel like I could have read more. I had well started the year: reading books after books for the first six months of 2017… and then nothing. It was certainly because of all the cool things happening at the same time so I won’t blame myself for it.

Anyway, I’ve read 20-something books this year and wrote down my top 5 of Fiction and Non-Fiction books.

Top 5 Fiction books

1. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Victoria Schwab has been my favourite author since I discovered her in 2016. Her Shades of Magic series is one of the best I’ve read these past few years, and I’m always craving to read more and more and more of her. A Gathering of Shadows is the second book of the series and has been done wonderfully. The only thing I don’t like is the end: how can she do that to her readers, letting them in the dark like that? I can’t wait to read the last book of the series, which I’ll get as soon as it’s out in US paperback.

2. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

I’ve always read about Roman and Greek mythologies but never about the Norse one. I feel like Gaiman dug some pearls of History/Culture and turned them into pearls of storytelling. It got me interested in so many other mythologies, those that we’re not spreading as much as the others. Loki is smart and sneaky, but I don’t think I liked a god in particular. They all had their particularities that made them likeable. For the curious, I recommend.

3. The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange

Lucy Strange intrigued me. What was the secret of the nightingale wood? An amazing story about bereavement and truth, love and beliefs. My mind has been blown by this children book on appearance but so deep inside. I couldn’t be more dazzled by the storytelling and story itself.

4. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Amani is a strong female character, and I travelled in an unknown land full of Eastern mythology. Remember what I said about Norse Mythology? Here you have another example of a misunderstood one. I’m curious to read the second and third books of this amazing trilogy.

5. The Secret Lives of The Four Wives by Lola Shoneyin

Last year has truly been a year of discoveries. With this book, I entered a culture that I didn’t know about. With my Western culture, I’ve been amazed by how brave women could be to protect their loved ones. One of the best reads I had in 2017.

Top 5 Non-Fiction books

1. Real Artists don’t Starve by Jeff Goins

I loved that book. It’s giving so many advice and insights on artists’ lives. I’ve learned a lot with Real Artists don’t Starve, and got inspired. I think you can truly be energised by such a book if you lack motivation just to get started in your craft.

2. Show your Work by Austin Kleon

I remember Love saying that I should show my work, share it with the world and publish my first ebook. Well, I can say Austin Kleon inspired me to do it. In his book, he’s encouraging you and showing you that sharing your work is totally possible, whatever you do. You don’t need to have the finished product; you can also share your process and experience. And that’s what’s brilliant about this book, it’s the level of encouragement and inspiration you get, from an artist to another.

3. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

Ok, I’ve read this one because I’m a fan of Gilmore Girls and I wanted some insights about the show. Not only Lauren Graham talked about it (a little), but she also talked about her experience from the beginning of her career. I found it so interesting that her book entered my top 5.

4. The Heart to Start: Win the Inner War & Let Your Art Shine by David Kadavy

Kadavy’s book is about the starting blocks, overcoming excuses and making arts. I really liked that he’s more talking about his own experience as a creator than giving other people’s examples. If you have issues with getting started, it’s the right book for you.

5. She means business by Carrie Green

Carrie Green is the founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association. She wrote about women’s empowerment, how to start a business and have a well-balanced life as an entrepreneur. I think that’s what got me: reading about her experience and what advice I could get out of it. She’s pretty inspiring too, just like the other authors of this top 5.

My bookcase for 2018

I can’t finish this blog post without telling you a little about my current bookshelf. Weirdly, I only have fifteen books waiting for me. You’d expect a writer to have an endless list of books to read, but I only own fifteen of them.

Among the Fiction ones, I’m craving to start Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. I have two of them for more than a year now… I think it has to do with the commute: never easy to take a big book on the tube.

I’ve also got two self-published authors’ books to read: Eve the Awakening by Jenna Moreci and Shadow Crown by Kristen Martin. I think it’s good to mention it somewhere that self-published authors are read too.

As for Non-Fiction books, I’m currently reading Neil Gaiman’s View from the Cheap Seats. Also on my shelf: The Romanov by Simon Sebag Montefiore and You are a Badass by Jen Sincero.

I think reading is as important as writing. With it, I can learn and explore so many things. I hope these lists gave you some inspiration for future readings and that you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.


What were your best readings of 2017? And what will you read in 2018?
Do not hesitate to tweet me @vdvestelle

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