What Was Your Favorite Book of 2017?

I thought I was doing well.  Thanksgiving was early this year, so I had an extra week to prepare for the Christmas crazy.  But then, this morning, my youngest child said, “Mom, Christmas is only 18 days away!”

Cue the panic.  I’m no where close to being ready.  I haven’t even made the Christmas card yet.

He didn’t mean to frighten me.  His enthusiasm for Christmas is inspiring, actually.  He’s the only child who still cares enough about the Christmas count down to put a new felt ornament on the Christmas tree advent calendar that Nana made by hand many years ago.  The three teens haven’t touched it.  Sniff.

My mother in law made this when my husband was her little boy.

This is the last Christmas before the first kid goes away to school, and I know that once the “kids in college” phase starts, it will change our lives into something not necessarily bad, but different.  I’m grappling with which traditions to cling to and which ones to let go as the kids get older and their interests change.  On my annual Christmas shopping trip with my friend Leslie, we didn’t visit Toys R Us.  (I’m okay with that.)   The kids still want to pick Secret Santas among the siblings. (I love that.)  Most of them just want cash for Christmas.  (Hmm… easier wrapping?)

One tradition I will keep is getting each of them at least one book for Christmas.  Which takes me away from my sentimental musings and brings me to the point of this post.

Are you, like me, a little behind on holiday shopping?  Do you need gift ideas for friends, loved ones, teachers?  I have a solution for you.

Books make great gifts. They are easy to mail, reusable, instructive, and entertaining. Besides, buying books supports writers and the publishing industry, and we all want to keep books around, right?  The problem: finding proper books for each person on your gift list. Here’s where Diary of a Word Nerd can help.

Today I’m starting the Favorite Books Giveaway for 2017.  Tell me your favorite book from 2017 and the reason you liked it.  I’ll add your book to a list of recommendations and your name to a drawing of potential winners. In the end, we’ll have a collection of fabulous book titles to use as a shopping guide, and one lucky winner will have a Barnes and Noble gift card.

Favorite Books of 2017: Giveaway details

  • You may enter the giveaway by commenting on my blog, my Facebook profile, my Twitter feed, or my Instagram Favorite Book post by December 13, 2017.
  • Your comment must include your favorite book from 2017 and a short explanation of why you recommend it.  All genres welcome.
  • The book doesn’t have to be published in 2017, just read in 2017.
  • I will announce the winner on Wednesday, December 13 with the full list of favorites. That will give you plenty of shopping time. 😉
  • The giveaway winner must provide a mailing address for the gift card.

The first suggestions

My friend Dana asked me to suggest books for a 13-year-old girl, and I thought I’d list those here, as maybe Dana isn’t the only one who could benefit.

Contemporary realistic – all of these are thoughtful YA without too much “content”

Historical fiction

  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (WWII)
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (WWII)
  • Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin (China, cultural revolution)


  • The Matched series by Ally Condie ( a good “entry” level dystopian series)
  • The Divergent series by Veronica Roth

Now, your turn.  Share your favorite read from 2017 and help me make a great shopping list!

Thanks for contributing!







Julia Tomiak

I believe in the power of words to improve our lives, and I help people find interesting words to read. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+. Member of SCBWI and Wordsmithstudio.org.


  1. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I love Jodi’s writing. Family drama, current and really important issue, and her signature surprise twist at the end!

  2. My favorite was probably THE EMPTY GRAVE, which came out this year–it’s the last book in the Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud. I LOVE this series. As in, as much as Harry Potter (warning, it’s a bit spookier and I wouldn’t recommend it the series for kids under 11 or so).

    1. I’m a fan of Jonathan Stroud. My third child tried the Lockwood series a few years ago but found it too scary- now that he’s almost 14, maybe we can give it another try. Thanks for the warning, and for always sharing great kid lit ideas.

  3. This is hard! Can I suggest a couple? My first would be Life List by Lori Nelson Speilman. It is the story of a 34-year-old woman whose beloved mother dies and while she expects to inherit a company and lots of money is instead sent on a quest to re-discover herself. Then I would move to The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by P. Patrick. On the first anniversary of his wife’s death, Arthur Pepper decides he has to clean out her closet. In the closet, he finds a red velvet box with a charm bracelet. He has never seen the bracelet before and it does not look like anything his wife would wear. He sets out on a journey to find out about his wife’s life before she met him.

    1. These sound interesting! Thanks Carol. I finally read Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and loved it- I think you recommended it last year for my blog list. I’m looking forward to checking out your suggestions this year.

  4. I’ve read fourteen books in 2017 that I rated 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, so I have to choose from those (no 5 star books this year!). Oh, this is tough.

    A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara was a long and tough read, but it is still with me, months after I finished it. Same with All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. What to Say Next by Julie Bauxbaum is my favorite YA that I read this year. I also loved This is How Its Always Is by Laurie Frankel. I can’t pick just one! But I guess if I had to, I’d pick A Little Life.

    Thanks for the suggestions, Julia!

  5. Do you mean that I read in 2017 or that was published in 2017?

    I don’t read many new-new books but I can recommend Tom Hanks’ 2017 debut collection of short stories, Uncommon Type. I liked all the stories in it and I loved some. Hanks writes in a variety of formats (traditional, movie script, movie junket itinerary, small-town newspaper social column, and so on), in a variety of settings, and from a variety of perspectives. And–bonus–a typewriter features in some way in every story.

    For Younger Readers: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, published in 2012. I read this to my grandsons way back in January and I still think about it – and hope it couldn’t happen today.

    1. Read in 2017 Debbie, and these are great suggestions. I’ve been wondering about Hanks’s collection; I heard an interview on NPR and the book sounded interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *