Even when I don’t consistently post a summary about the books I’ve read each month, I do keep statistics. Each blog post or book review is posted under the categories of either Resist, Relax, or Learn. I also keep track of number of books, number of pages, and authors who are diverse and/or female.

To me, a diverse author is anyone who doesn’t identify as white. In my list this year I read Native Americans, African Americans, a Haitian American, a Nigerian woman, a Columbian American, Asian Americans, a South African of mixed racial heritage, a man from India who lives in Australia, and people born in various Middle Eastern countries. Some of the latter now live in other parts of the world. 26 (23%) of my 159 books read in 2017 were books by diverse authors.

Nearly half of the books I read in 2017 were written by women. That’s 74 books or 46.5% of the yearly total.

Why do these categories matter? Because, in the case of diverse authors, I choose to support writers whose backgrounds are different from mine. The publishing industry tends to focus on men, especially white men. I want to support female writers, because that’s a small, everyday way to resist patriarchal attitudes. It’s important to me to demand more from the publishing industry, so I vote with my dollars.

This year I read 42 books in the Resist category (26.5% of my total 159). Resisting the status quo, especially the patriarchy, is important to me. While I can’t often attend a protest, I can educate myself. Understanding another point of view is part of my resistance effort.

In 2017, relaxation books were 85 (53.5%) of my total books read. I started some lighter reads in the summer, and never got deeply back into my Resist reads after that. I suspect some of this had to do with having major surgery in mid-September. While I was preparing and healing, it was more difficult to concentrate than normal. Balancing Relax and Resist books is one of my 2018 goals.

I’ve always picked books up to learn. When I have a new challenge, I find a book about it. When I want to understand something better, I look beyond just articles and search out an in-depth book. This year, I found 28 (18%) books to learn from. Some were also connected to either my Resist or Relax categories.

Picking favorite books for 2017 proved difficult, just like it did in 2016. So I turned to the stars I gave books in Goodreads. These are my five-star reviews in each of the three categories, with links to the original review too. I recommend each and every one of these books.

March: Books 1-3
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?
Between The World and Me
Strong. Female. Character.
On Tyranny
A Colony in a Nation
The New Jim Crow
Al Franken, Giant of the Senate
We Were Eight Years in Power

Sweetness in the Belly
City of Light, City of Poison
The Gargoyle Hunters
Locke & Key, the series
Our Souls at Night
The Heart’s Invisible Furies

The Year of Magical Thinking
The Gatekeepers
An American Sickness
The Radium Girls
Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War

When push comes to shove, these are my picks for the 2017 Best of the Best. Interestingly, I chose Alan Cumming’s audiobook despite having given it four stars. His narration bumped it up considerably. While neither of the Daniel Silva books I read were five-star reads, they’re the only series I’m itching to continue in 2018.

Best Fiction: The Heart’s Invisible Furies
Best Nonfiction: The New Jim Crow
Best Audio: Not My Father’s Son
Best author new to me: Daniel Silva

Here’s to a blank slate on the first day of the year! May you read great books for many hours in 2018.