Books, Movies & TV to Look for in 2017

Now that we’ve finished up with lists of the best books of 2016, it’s time to start thinking about the best books to read in 2017.

Spring 2017 Announcements: All Our Coverage

Publishers Weekly has us covered with a look at the following categories of books:

  • Art, Architecture, & Photography
  • Business & Economics
  • Comics & Graphic Novels
  • Cooking & Food
  • Essays & Literary Criticism
  • History
  • Lifestyle
  • Literary Fiction
  • Memoirs & Biographies
  • Mysteries & Thrillers
  • Poetry
  • Politics & Current Events
  • Romance & Erotica
  • Science
  • SF, Fantasy, & Horror
2017’s Most Anticipated Movie Adaptations

The movie industry has obliged our curiosity and anticipation with a schedule heavy on book- and fact-based stories that run from animated family films to thrillers and comedies, sequels and continuations, comic books and biopics, war films and romance. There are two gigantic Stephen King adaptations on the docket, and sci-fi/fantasy fans with a literary bent have three eagerly awaited films coming this year.

5 Nonfiction Books We’re Excited to Read in 2017

If you’re into current affairs, true crime, science, or history, we think you’ll love these soon-to-be-released books.

What You’ll Be Reading in 2017

John Williams of The New York Times point out some books, both fiction and nonfiction, he’s looking forward to in 2017.

Which Books Are Coming to TV in 2017?

Ian McShane & Neil Gaiman, Amy Adams & Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Moss & Margaret Atwood —TV is about to have a very literary year.

25 of the Most Exciting Book Releases for 2017

Vulture has the news for you on upcoming book releases.

Most Anticipated: The Great 2017 Book Preview

From The Millions:

Books from no fewer than four Millions staffers? It’s a feast. We hope the following list of 80-something upcoming books peps you up for the (first half of the) new year. You’ll notice that we’ve re-combined our fiction and nonfiction lists, emphasizing fiction as in the past.

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017

From Elle:

Phew, 2016. We can’t remember ever being so happy to see a year end, even as the next brings only uncertainty. There is one thing we know for sure, though: Misogyny has had far too big a public platform, in these past few months especially. So we’re kicking off the new year with a preview of extraordinary books by women, with an eye to how women live, imagine, and think across the globe. Now, more than ever, we need compelling fiction to widen the bounds of our empathy and imaginations, and strong women’s voices to guide us.

 

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Reading Challenges for 2017

I’ve set out my own reading plan for 2017, but if you’d prefer a challenge with specific category descriptions to guide you, here are several. Many of these challenges offer discussion groups either on their own web sites or through Facebook pages, so you’ll be getting a book group as well as book recommendations.

Here are several challenges to get you started in your search for the right one for you. If you don’t find anything appealing here, do a web search for “reading challenge 2017.” You’ll find lots of entries, some for specific interests (e.g., Christian reading challenge, European reading challenge).

BOOK RIOT’S 2017 READ HARDER CHALLENGE

For this well-known challenge “there are 24 tasks, averaging to two per month over the course of the next 12 months. You may count one book for multiple tasks, or read one book per task.” The purpose is to achieve “a perspective shift – but one for which you’ll only be accountable to yourself.” You can download a printable PDF of the challenge tasks.

The 2017 Reading Challenge

From Modern Mrs. Darcy, who describes this as a “choose-your-own-adventure reading challenge.” She offers two focused challenges, “reading for fun” and “reading for growth.”

Take the 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

POPSUGAR offers “40 book prompts to help diversify and expand your reading in the new year, PLUS an “advanced” section with 12 books for hardcore readers who complete the challenge before the year is over.” The challenge consists of “a variety of ideas to mix up your reading choices, not specific book titles.” Examples of categories are “a book set in the wilderness” and “a novel set during wartime.”

There’s a printable list you can download and use to check off categories as you complete them.

2017 Reading Challenge

This challenge from Better World Books aims to get you “to try different kinds of books.” There’s a PDF checklist to download to keep track of your progress. And the Better World Books blog will be posting recommended books for each challenge category throughout the year, just in case you have trouble coming up with titles on your own.

Retellings Reading Challenge 2017

This challenge from the U.K. asks you to read retellings of stories such as classics, children’s classics, fairy tales, myths, legends, folk tales, well known people’s lives.

Reading Challenge

This Pinterest board links to many reading challenges from several years.

The WeAreTeachers 2017 Reading Challenge

This challenge asks you “to read at least one book from one of these categories every month.” There’s no indication that you must be a teacher to participate.

The 2017 reading challenge

This challenge, from Justina Wooten of Anythink Wright Farms of the Rangeview Library District in Colorado, might suit you if the 40+-category challenges are too much to take on. This one lists a different category of book for each month in 2017.

 

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

When picking up my next book, it’s always hard for me to resist reaching for another juicy novel. Even though I often buy nonfiction books that I want to read, I usually give in to the urge to read more fiction. And even though I concentrate on fiction, I read mostly traditional novels. I’d like to reacquaint myself with other forms of fiction as well.

In an effort to be a more well-rounded reader—and to cull my TBR shelves—in 2017, I’m laying out a plan to get myself to broaden my reading by choosing books in four categories. I’m also assigning each category a month when I’ll dedicate my reading to it. Here are the categories and the books in the category that I already own.

(1) Memoirs (January)

  • H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • Heart Earth by Ivan Doig
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
  • The Journal Keeper by Phyllis Theroux

(2) Short Stories (March)

  • Dear Life by Alice Munro
  • Tenth of December by George Saunders
  • Thirteen Ways of Looking: A Novella and Three Stories by Colum McCann
  • The Stories of Jane Gardam by Jane Gardam
  • The Collected Short Stories of Conrad Aiken

(3) General Nonfiction (July)

  • Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Wired to Connect by Amy Banks with Leigh Ann Hirschman
  • Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By by Timothy D. Wilson
  • On Friendship by Alexander Nehamas
  • The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

(4) Essays (October)

  • In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary Writing ed. by Olivia Dresher
  • Rocket and Lightship: Essays on Literature and Ideas by Adam Kirsch
  • The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

I’m not promising to read all the books in each category during that month, but I’m going to try to choose most of the month’s reading from the list.

This will be a real experiment for me, as I’ve never set up a year-long reading plan before.

How About You?

How do you choose the next book to read? Do you have some kind of plan, either formal or informal, or do you go with whatever book seems to be calling to you?

 

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Of the 42 books I read in 2016, these are the top 15 (listed alphabetically by author):

Cook, Thomas H. The Chatham School Affair
du Maurier, Daphne. Rebecca
French, Tana. Broken Harbor
Haruf, Kent. Our Souls at Night
Hawley, Noah. Before the Fall
Knowles, John. A Separate Peace
Plath, Sylvia The Bell Jar
Stedman, M.L. The Light Between Oceans
Strout, Elizabeth. My Name is Lucy Barton
Yanagihara, Hanya. A Little Life

Honorable Mention

Connelly, Michael. The Wrong Side of Goodbye
Galbraith, Robert. Career of Evil
King, Stephen. 11/22/63
Sweeney, Cynthia D’Aprix. The Nest
Updike, John. Of the Farm

How About You?

What were the best books you read in 2016?

 

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

My Year in Reading: 2016

gr-challengeI challenged myself on Goodreads to read 40 books in 2016, and I exceeded that goal by two. Of those 42 books, some were ebooks and some were unabridged audiobooks. For those books I included in my records the number of pages in the most current print edition, and arrived at the grand total of pages I read in 2016:

15,158

Of the 42 books I read, only two were nonfiction. I always read more fiction than nonfiction, but I don’t recall a previous year when I read only two nonfiction books. That’s a shortcoming I’ll have to correct when I set up my reading plan for 2017.

What About You?

How did your reading go in 2016? Let us know in the comments.

 

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Literary Deaths: 2016

Last Tuesday (12/27/2016), the day Carrie Fisher died, my Facebook feed was filled with lamentations about all the well-known people who had died in 2016. Later that day came the report of the death of Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, on Christmas Eve. And then the following day Carrie’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, died.

Have we really lost more shining stars than usual in 2016, or does it just seem that way because quite a few deaths clustered around the year’s final few days? For the last several years I’ve posted a list similar to this one, and it always seems that the list is longer than we’d like.

Here, with a link to an obituary (if available), are the lights we lost from the literary world in 2016.

Florence King, 1/6

Sylvan Barnet, 1/11

Brian Bedford, 1/13

C. D. Wright

Skip Skwarek, 1/15

Michel Tournier, 1/18

Forrest McDonald, 1/19

George Weidenfeld, 1/20

David G. Hartwell, 1/20

Edmonde Charles-Roux, 1/20

David G. Hartwell, 1/20

Paul Aiken, 1/29

Margaret Forster, 2/8

Jake Page, 2/10

Harper Lee, 2/19

Umberto Eco, 2/19

Louise Rennison, 2/29

Pat Conroy, 3/4

Anita Brookner, 3/10

Geoffrey H. Hartman, 3/14

Jim Harrison, 3/26

Adrienne Rich, 3/27

Frank De Felitta, 3/29

E.M. Nathanson, 4/5

James Cross Giblin, 4/10

Glenn Ellis, 4/11

Arnold Wesker, 4/12

Jackie Carter, 4/13

Jenny Diski, 4/28

Katherine Dunn, 5/12

Yang Jiang, 5/25

David Lamb, 6/5

Peter Shaffer, 6/6

Rhoda Blumberg, 6/6

William Wright, 6/11

Lois Duncan, 6/15

Michael Herr, 6/23

Austin Clarke, 6/26

Alvin Toffler, 6/27

Judy Feiffer, 6/27

Geoffrey Hill, 6/30

Yves Bonnefoy, 7/1

Elie Wiesel, 7/2

Robert Nye, 7/2

William Gaines, 7/20

Tim LaHaye, 7/25

James Alan McPherson, 7/27

Mahasweta Devi, 7/28

Jim Northrup, 8/1

Joyce Carol Thomas, 8/13

Max Ritvo, 8/23

Michel Butor, 8/24

Warren Hinckle, 8/25

Anna Dewdney, 9/3

Robert Timberg, 9/6

Barbara Seuling, 9/12

D. Keith Mano, 9/14

Edward Albee, 9/16

William P. Kinsella, 9/16

Gloria Naylor, 9/28

Dario Fo, 10/13

Lucia Perillo, 10/16

Natalie Babbitt, 10/31

Yumi Heo

E. R. Braithwaite, 12/12

Shirley Hazzard, 12/12

David Berry, 12/16

Richard Adams, 12/24

Carrie Fisher, 12/27

Best Books of 2016: Final Installment

LITERARY HUB’S BEST BOOKS OF 2016

The staff of Literary Hub offer their choices of the year’s best books in a list vastly different from typical best-seller lists.

The Top 10 Library Stories of 2016

OK, this isn’t a best books list, but it IS a book-related summary of the year’s events.

Great Reads

An interactive guide to The Seattle Times’ best books recommendations from the past few years.

10 OVERLOOKED BOOKS BY WOMEN IN 2016

This piece starts out with the reasons why a list of outstanding books written by women is necessary.

The Year in Reading

From The New York Times:

In this season of giving, we asked some notably avid readers — who also happen to be poets, musicians, diplomats, filmmakers, novelists, actors and artists — to share the books that accompanied them through 2016.

THE 60 BEST BOOK COVERS OF 2016, AS CHOSEN BY DESIGNERS

this year, we had a healthy quantity of beautiful, inventive, arresting, unforgettable book cover designs, many of which deserve recognition.

BEST OF 2016

I’ve included a couple of these in earlier installments, but here’s the complete list of the year’s best books in the following categories:

  • poetry
  • comics
  • economics
  • philosophy
  • nonfiction
The 10 Best Movie Adaptations of 2016

Critic Lisa Rosman lists her favorite book-to-film adaptations of the year.

The 11 Best Poetry Books Of 2016

From BuzzFeed

13 of Off the Shelf’s Favorite Book Recommendations from 2016

Off the Shelf is made possible by a small group of passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with Off the Shelf readers. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. It gives us great pleasure to offer you a collection of our favorite single-title recommendations from 2016.

The folks at Off the Shelf offer lists of recommended books on particular topics throughout the year. They have recommended all of these books during 2016, but not all of these books were published this year.

BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD

An earlier list of best books lists included the top five books of the year as voted by Book of the Month members. Here, BOTM announces the overall winner.

THE YEAR’S BEST OVERLOOKED BOOKS, ACCORDING TO BOOKSELLERS

A bit of a different twist on a best books list.

A Year in Reading: 2016

From The Millions comes a round-up of the year’s reading from a great host of writers, including Tana French, Richard Russo, Annie Proulx, and Megan Abbott.

The 30 Best Books of 2016

Compiled by Daniel Ford on Writer’s Bone.

The best books of 2016 list you get when you combine 36 “Best Books of 2016” lists

Yes, you read that right:

By combining 36 different qualitative “best books” lists by everyone from the New York Times to The Telegraph to a smattering of celebrities (full list of lists here), Quartz has created the Ultimate Authoritative Unimpeachable Top 20 Books of 2016.

Get A Global Perspective With 5 Of The Year’s Best Books In Translation

I don’t know about you, but I don’t read enough literature translated from other languages. Why is this important?

There’s a great quote by Haruki Murakami: “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” This, of course, is two-fold, because it also means that if you want to think more broadly and gain a larger understanding of the world, you will seek out lesser known books, and from different places.

THE BIGGEST LITERARY STORIES OF THE YEAR: THE FINAL 5

The folks at Lit Hub present the top five literary news stories of 2016. If you jump into the link clicking maze, you can see the other 25 news stories of the year, too.

Top Crime Books of 2016

This is the lead-in page to individual lists of the year’s five best books by various folks at Crime Fiction Lover.

 

© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

News you can use: Infographic walks you through 10 questions to detect fake news | The Seattle Times

Can this infographic help students spot a phony news article? Test it out with your students, kids or friends and let us know in the comments.

Source: News you can use: Infographic walks you through 10 questions to detect fake news | The Seattle Times

Check out the PDF in this article. This exercise isn’t just for students.

Carrie Fisher, a Princess, a Rebel and a Brave Comic Voice – The New York Times

She entered popular culture as a princess in peril and endures as something much more complicated and interesting. Many things, really: a rebel commander; a witty internal critic of the celebrity machine; a teller of comic tales, true and embellished; an inspiring and cautionary avatar of excess and resilience; an emblem of the honesty we crave (and so rarely receive) from beloved purveyors of make-believe.

Source: Carrie Fisher, a Princess, a Rebel and a Brave Comic Voice – The New York Times

RIP Carrie Fisher

In Memoriam: 12 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2016

In 2016, we said good-bye to many literary luminaries. These authors have inspired us, challenged us to think deeply, and opened windows into the lives and struggles of others. Here we remember some of the award winners, trailblazers, and creators of beloved classics whose works will stand the test of time.

Source: In Memoriam: 12 Authors We Lost Too Soon in 2016

I’ll post my own list of those whom the world of books lost in 2016 at the end of the year, but here’s a select list that includes seminal works of the 12 authors included.