The past years I have written my favourite reads of the year for my local English book store. This year they aren’t doing the readers top books. Thus I decided to write it here. I like sharing books I read. I also hope others will chime in what theirs was.
Without much ado, here are my top 5 books of 2017.
This book sets the tone just right. It’s about taking responsibility. Dealing with your own shit. You decide how you feel and deal about bad and good things that happen to you. What are you willing to struggle and suffer for? This books takes a lot from Stoicism and is also in the same line as another favourite book of mine I read a couple years ago: The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking
“You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get fucked.” -Mark Manson
I had no idea about this book existence. Isn’t it always with the books that we like most? It happened to me with Harry Potter when book 3 was already out. (I know!). It happened with ‘Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore’, already in paperback and past the hype. And now this one. I was wandering in the book store telling one of the sellers I want something 80’s, computerish and nerdy to read. The Impossible Fortress was just out and she recommended it to me. Sold.
14 year old Billy Marvin and his two best friends are plotting on how to get their hand on a Playboy with Vanna White on the cover. The plot involves Billy making friends with slightly overweight Mary. Turns out Mary shares Billy’s passion for computers (Commodore 64) and coding. Mary decides to help Billy learn Machine Language so they can improve Billy’s video game for a contest. All in 12 days.
I love the book for the obvious 80’s nostalgia and the fact that Mary kicks ass at coding and basically helping Billy grasp Machine Language. It’s also a coming of age story with just enough angst and family drama. A well rounded YA book.
“Girls practically invented programming,” she said. “Jean Bartik, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas—they all programmed ENIAC.” I had no idea what she was talking about. “And don’t forget Margaret Hamilton. She wrote the software that let Apollo 11 land on the moon.” “I meant programming video games,” I said. “Dona Bailey, Centipede. Brenda Romero, Wizardry. Roberta Williams, King’s Quest. She designed her first computer game at the kitchen table. I interviewed her for school last year.” -Jason Rekulak
Stand-up comedian, Tig Notaro, has been around for a long while. I found out about her, through her Netflix documentary, Tig. In less than one year, Tig almost died from C-diff, lost her mother and then got cancer. She turned her pain and grief into her stand-up art and it’s just beautiful and heart breaking. It was no question to buy her memoir once it was out. She goes deeper into her thought and experience during that time. Tig bears it all about her suffering. She’s a bad-ass 🙂
“Why can so many of us only express our true feelings onto a blank slate: a diary page, the sky, an unconscious loved one, a tombstone?” -Tig Notaro
Another book I found on happenchance. An A-list blogger that I follow, mentioned it on her Instagram feed. And after reading about it I knew I had to get this book. ‘We are never meeting in real life’ is written by Samantha Irby. It’s a collection of essays about her life. A very funny, sarcastic, sometimes sad collection of essays. It’s so human and soul bearing that I feel better. As if Samantha is my new BFF who helps me feel better. In a world when everything looks perfect on Facebook and Instagram, Samantha’s book is a breath of fresh air and relief. And funny. So much dark humour. Did I mention sarcastically fun?
Looking forward to more of her writing in the future.
“Real love feels less like a throbbing, pulsing animal begging for its freedom and beating against the inside of my chest and more like, “Hey, that place you like had fish tacos today and I got you some while I was out,” as it sets a bag spotted with grease on the dining room table.” -Samantha Irby
Since discovering sourdough bread 5 years ago, it’s the only kind of bread I eat. When I found out that Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore, is releasing a book about sourdough bread. I set my calendar to buy it on release day.
The book is set in the same world as ‘Mr. Penumbra’. Clay and the bagel company he used to work at are even mentioned. Sourdoughs timeline is before Mr. Penumbra.
The main character, Lois, is a software engineer who moves to San Francisco. She spends her days working and barely has time to eat. One day she orders spicy bread and spicy soup from a shop run by two brothers. She befriends them and when they have to suddenly leave the country they leave her with the starter of their sourdough bread. Lois embarks in an adventure to learn how to keep the starter alive and bake the best sourdough bread. She gets involved with an underground exclusive community of foodies where she sells her bread.
Robin Sloan does for bread what he did for book stores in ‘Mr. Penumbra’. Be prepared to want to bake your own bread as soon as you finish reading the book. Or at least to go out and buy sourdough bread.
“Baking, by contrast, was solving the same problem over and over again, because every time, the solution was consumed. I mean, really: chewed and digested. Thus, the problem was ongoing. Thus, the problem was perhaps the point.” -Robin Sloan
I read more books this year that I liked very much:
Design For Real Life by Eric Meyer and Sara Wachter-Boettcher. About inclusive design for everyone.
Hallo witte mensen by Anousha Nzume. A Dutch book about white privilege and racism. A must read for everyone.
You can find all books I read on my Goodreads account. Drop me a line if there is a book you think I should read, at darice [at] darice.org.