Can you believe it’s 2018? Well it is, and you’re not the only one amazed at the passage of time. I think this tweet from 2016 sums it up perfectly:
2017 was the year where people talked about Donald Trump, compared 2017 to 2016, and Hollywood was finally able to get itself back into the headlines, albeit for all the wrong reasons. We lost a whole slew of celebrities such as Roger Moore, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, Adam West, John Hurt, George Romero, and Dexter composer Daniel Licht. Prince Harry got engaged. There were far too many lives lost to both international and domestic terrorists. Donald Trump held glasses of water and it was reported as Breaking News around the world. People complained. People were happy. People were sad. It was yet another year.
For me, 2017 was where I started my own political website, The Fifty Percent Review, continued the writing slog, and discovered Netflix. My most popular blog posts were my book reviews, namely for The One Who Got Away by Caroline Overington, Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, and The Girl Before by JP Delaney. Many people (myself included) were confused about the ending to The One Who Got Away. If you want to know my interpretation of the ending, check out my reply to Jay in the comments section of my review.
Reading-wise, 2017 was a disappointing year, as I read three books less than 2016. However, when most people struggle to pick up a single book, I can still consider reading 10 books an achievement, and am proud of myself for continuing to pick up books, despite a stressful and busy year. Without further ado, here’s my Books of 2017 Round-up:
Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford, was my first read for 2017. I analysed it back in January, and had a complicated relationship with it. In Australia, Ford is a well-known radical feminist who courts a lot of controversy, much of it which she incites herself. I read her book to check out her way of thinking. While it is easily readable, I felt like it had a lot of manipulative language and insulting generalisations of both men and women. You can read my analysis here. 2/5
The Girl Before by JP Delaney, is a cross between The Girl on the Train and Fifty Shades of Grey. It is fairly forgettable, much the same as the rest of the Gone Girl knock-offs, but a quick read and with a very creepy house. I reviewed it here. 3/5
Barbarians by Lauren Southern doesn’t even deserve the title of “novella”. It’s basically a pamphlet, albeit an interesting pamphlet about Right-wing politics and why the Right thinks the way they do. Since I’m not Right-leaning myself, it was interesting to learn about politics from a Right-wing millennial perspective. It uses a lot of Right-wing gobbledygook, which can be alienating, and suffers from the same manipulative, emotive language as Fight Like a Girl. I reviewed it here. 3.5/5
Rebecca – by Daphne DuMaurier. Slow to start, Rebecca picks up and becomes an amazing read. It’s dated but still timeless, and I recommend it to anyone who loves Gothic Horror, modern horror and just interesting stories about couples with secrets (especially secrets about dead wives). Go read it today! I reviewed it here. 4/5
Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. A lovely companion to Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It provides a useful checklist that goes into more detail about the different Konmari categories, especially the ambiguous “komono”. It’s much of the same as the first book, just in more detail. Only read it if you want to know more about the Konmari method, and you’ve already read the first one. 3/5
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. A disappointing letdown from the author who became famous with The Girl on the Train. Into the Water had an interesting premise, and started off promisingly, but the killer reveal is completely ridiculous and out of nowhere, and the novel’s forced political ideology is a huge turn-off. I reviewed it here. 2/5
Goodbye Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki. It was a typical day, and I was browsing the Konmari subreddit, when someone recommended Fumio Sasaki’s book as an alternative to the supposed wishy-washiness of Marie Kondo. I picked up the book from the library and decided to see if Anonymous Redditor was telling the truth. Fumio Sasaki is a radical minimalist who lives in a sparse, almost-empty apartment in Tokyo. While his book provided some useful insights, anyone interested in minimalism or decluttering should probably head for Kondo lest they become dispirited. 3.5/5
The Child by Fiona Barton. A worthy part-sequel to The Widow, Barton’s amazing first novel. It’s a quick read, late to hook you in, and wonderfully interconnected. The two new women, Emma and Angela, provide an intriguing contrast, both between each other and the Mary Sueish journalist Kate Waters. I can’t wait for more of Barton’s novels! I reviewed it here. 3.5/5
The Naughtiest Girl #1-2 by Enid Blyton. I first read The Naughtiest Girl is a Monitor (#3) when I was younger, after discovering the book at the Salvos, because it matched some other Enid Blyton books of my mum’s that I had in my bookshelf. I loved the book back then, but hadn’t read the rest of the series. A couple of years back, my mum bought me the boxset for The Naughtiest Girl series, and in December, I read the first two. I’ve been struggling to enjoy reading lately, and thought that to get back into reading, I should start with something easy. It doesn’t help that the story of spoilt brat Elizabeth Allen is interesting and compelling! 4/5
There were also four books I didn’t quite get around to finishing. Firstly, there was The Republic by Plato. There was nothing wrong with The Republic. I actually had finished the first chapter, and was excited to read more. Sadly, I had to return it to the library, and then a bunch of books popped up on my TBR list, and then 2017 passed and I realised, “Oh, yeah, I never finished The Republic.” Maybe for 2018? Quiet by Susan Cain. I had the same issue with this interesting nonfiction about introverts in the modern age. Unfortunately, Cain’s book reads like a textbook, and I’d gotten just over a hundred pages in and had to return it back to the library (there’s a theme here, isn’t there?). I would recommend this book to introverts or anyone interested in the ways of introverts. Final Girls by Riley Sager. I DNF’d this about thirty pages in. There was no problem with the premise, but I’ve heard there is a movie in the works, and I wonder why it wasn’t a movie in the first place. Final Girls is about Quincy who was the Final Girl in a massacre at a cabin years ago, and how she befriends two other Final Girls. After one of the Final Girls “commits suicide”, ardent baker Quincy has to find out the truth. I just don’t know why it was a book first, when it even reads like it should be a movie. Can’t wait for the movie! Lastly, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. I loved the We Need to Talk About Kevin movie, but this was nowhere near as gripping, and was a meandering work of literary fiction. Unfortunate DNF, because the movie is just so great.
As we welcome in the New Year, I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading my blog, and thank you for all your comments and likes. Best of luck in 2018!