Treasure… it’s what we pirate’s crave isn’t it? However, being of a more quieter persuasion than my more bloodthirsty cohorts, my cache is of the more inky sort. Hence the blog name. “Bookaneer” is much more endearing than any old run of the mill buccaneer, don’t you think?
Don’t get me wrong-I love sparkly-but a fabulous book is what really makes my heart leap with joy. Paperbacks, hardcovers… these are the wealth that I stockpile and horde. But I’m a big girl and know how to share. After all, here on the Bookaneer we’re all about divvying up the loot. A love of good books brings with it no small amount of evangelical zeal- especially with a new year, all shiny and bright with possibilities.
Now is the time to forge ahead. Try something new. Explore unknown waters-or at least try a new book I’d say. Don’t know where to start? That’s where I come in.
Last year saw the start of this blog, and along with it came my top picks from 2016. This year though there’s a great difference: pictures! (Look at me- getting so fancy).
Given that I read over 170 books last year (the final count was 172 to be precise) I have a certain expertise on the subject. All of these books were previously uncharted territory; all of them were new. Well… new to me anyway. Rereading an old favourite does not count on this list. I’ll save those for later. Now is the time for the top ten of the past year.
So when I recommend these titles as the best books from last year? I do know what I’m talking about. After all, they were selected from a large and varied pool of candidates.
Treasure Trove of 2017
So, let’s get started than, shall we? Grab your cutlasses mateys. Let’s grab up these beauties while we can!
1. “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel
Yes, I have recomended this one before. Yes, I am doing so again: it really is that good! Mandel spins a brilliant story that keeps you turning pages at a ferocious rate, and melts your heart.
“Survival is Insufficient”. Fifteen years after a pandemic wiped out most of the planet the Travelling Symphony brings light through music and Shakespeare’s plays to outlets of survivors. Caught in the crosshairs of a cult their pasts intertwine with the present, weaving a stunning tale that I’ve happily reread three times since I first discovered it.
2. “Quiet: the Power of the Introvert in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain
In a society that idealizes the extrovert, do us introverts still have a place in this loud, noisy world of aggressive go-getters? Cain’s resounding defence of the quiet and thoughtful among us makes for a fascinating read.
Examining the strengths of the wallflower, while at the same time blasting to bit misconceptions on what an introvert actually is, this is a book that I haven’t been able to stop talking about. We all have a few introvert tendencies buried within us. Knowing how to honour and unleash them on the world makes this book a treasure.
3. “Art Workshop” by Barbara Rucci
With projects galore (the Still Life with Doughnut is one of our favourites) with variations and tips to encourage you and your kiddos’ creativity this book is a real gem. Given that I’ve signed this book out from our local library five times, I might just need my own copy.
4. “The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well” by Meik Wiking
Ah, the book that inspired my love of the the fine art of hygge! Cozy happiness is a way of life people, and it’s one that I’ve happily embraced. Quite shamelessly in fact.
5. “The Princess Saves Herself in This One” by Amanda Lovelace
Poetry can be such a beautiful thing. Using only words, sense and beauty is woven even out of the heartbreaking things of this world. Such is the case with this collection. Impossible to put down, I devoured this book in one sitting.
When the horrific happens, Lovelace writes her own fairytale where the princess not only saves herself, but can live happily ever after.
6. “Real Friends” by Shannon Hale
Who says memoirs can’t make for great reading? Hale (one of my all-time favourite authors) is at her best in tales from her own childhood.
Friendships can be tricky, more like a political minefield than an idyllic time on the school playground. Grappling with the popularity beast has never been so delightful or fun.
7. “Flora and Penguin” by Molly Idle
The cover is what first lured me into this book: the only thing cuter than a penguin is a little girl skating with one! Masterfully telling a story with simply sumptuous pictures though kept me there. I’ve been a big fan of Idle and her work ever since.
Flora is out to win a feathered friend, and the dance that ensues will win your heart- plus any tiny readers you happen to have about the house. The best part? There are many more Flora adventures to enjoy once this book has been finished.
8. “Big Mushy Happy Lump” by Sarah Andersen
Comic reading at its finest! Forget those shoddy things that pass as humorous in the newspaper and come revel in the work of master. Relatable and sure to inspire laughs, I have yet to meet someone who can resist this treasure of a book.
Avoiding responsibilities, the self-esteem roller coaster, and yes, even your period are all made funny in Andersen’s skillful hands.
Food for Thought
9. “Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek” by Maya van Wagenen
What is popularity? How is it attained? Is it possible for even the lowest to achieve it? van Wagenen, her trusty 1950s guide in hand, is going to find out!
Stuck near the bottom of the social ladder of “people at school who aren’t paid to be here” Maya sets out at the beginning of grade eight to change things. From grooming to being a good hostess, her attempts are both hilarious, painful, and endearing.
10. “Five Ingredients- Quick Easy Food” by Jamie Oliver
Continual frozen dinners or fast food is just depressing. Good food though, the homemade kind, makes everything feel better. With Oliver’s new guide cooking dinner seems not only doable, but deliciously simple.
This cookbooks has it all: fabulous recipes I couldn’t wait to try (we all loved the apple and sausage bake), a visual ingredient guide, and clear instructions … all quick and easy too! Dinner will be served before tummies start to rumble.
Savour the Swag
I must confess: this post has taken me awhile to write. With each recommendation I found myself thumbing through the book, getting lost in its pages! What can I say? I never recommend treasure that isn’t worth enjoying multiple times.
Any good gems that you feel should be on the list? What books thrilled and delighted you this past year?
Enough talk though. Let’s grab some of this treasure, brew up some tea, snuggle up under a good warm blanket and enjoy the wealth before us. Until next time,
Happy reading everybody!