My Favorite Reads in 2017 (thus far)

It's been a minute since last I blogged. And since that post was about books I figured I'd do a reentry with another post on reading. I'm a bit behind my usual pace of reading this year-- and the reasons why are similar to my reasons for being bad about posting. These include: 1) obsessively reading news, especially about politics, 2) being even more politically involved, 3) teaching a lot in the spring, and 4) posting on social media, mainly Facebook and Instagram, instead (see points 1 and 2). But I miss writing short posts, so resolving to get back on track for the rest of 2017! Thus far here are my top six reads (out of 45 books) this year, listed in alphabetical order by author:

  1. Killer Show: The Station Nightclub Fire, America’s Deadliest Rock Concert by John Barylick– Written by one of the lawyers involved with the case, this is a very detailed book that covers so many areas (history of lawsuits, science of fires, the way touring bands work). But it is the human tragedy that is most compelling. I appreciate the book follows things all the way through, from disaster to years later… I live less than 10 miles from where this tragedy occurred and wanted to learn more, and that I did.
  2. We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh– I had to keep reading once I started this book. It is a reminder that the world is full of such sadness, and struggle, but once in awhile things work out. A lot of issues at play here– inequality, immigration, disability, teen pregnancy– so it becomes a lot at times, but the story is beautiful and the addition of science very good.
  3. American Historical Pageantry: The Uses of Tradition in the Early Twentieth Century by David Glassberg- Such a fascinating book about a short time in American civic life, but thanks to great organizational records it can be studied and remembered. Even though the details became a bit much at times, and I would have liked to understand the later incarnations/evolutions, a very useful book.
  4. The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine- By far my favorite book read in 2017. It is technically YA, but serious themes, great characters, wonderful language, a forgotten part of history make it a worthwhile read for anyone of any age. Definitely a must read! (Set in Little Rock 1958-9)

5. A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner- I can't lie, this book made me outright sob at least twice (once in public). I initially liked the historical portion more, then liked the 2011 story more, which shows I just liked the whole thing. Loved the blended stories, even if they didn't exactly line up (which I actually liked-- would have been too "pat" otherwise). I do recommend, but know it's a tearjerker.

6.In this Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear- I love the Maisie Dobbs series and try to read the latest installment as soon as it is out (this one I had to wait a bit to get from library as others clearly feel the same way!). Did not disappoint-- and this even made me cry. Can't wait to see what WWII brings for Maisie; I am sure many important adventures.

You can see all the books I've read in 2017 here.