I read a lot, and every year I aim to finish more books than I read in the previous year. I don’t have a favourite genre or author. As long as I can get into it, I’m indiscriminate.
In 2017, I got through thirty-three in total.
Below are the fifteen best books I read in 2017. I’ve listed them alphabetically (by title) and have added a two sentence summary for each.
The 15 Best Books I Read in 2017
Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs by Guillem Balague
A behind-the-scenes insight into how Mauricio Pochettino led Tottenham during the club’s successful 2016-17 football season. This is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the lessons we can learn about management in the unique context of sport, as well as for Spurs fans (like me).
Cooked by Michael Pollan
Whilst In Defence of Food is still my favourite Pollan book (and a better starting point to his work), in Cooked he discusses why we cook with fire, water, air and earth. I read this (and watched the accompanying Netflix documentary series) while undertaking my 100 Day Diet Challenge and found it helpful in demonstrating how going back to dietary basics should be delicious and healthy simultaneously.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
A science fiction thriller with a psychological undertone, this book asks questions about parallel lives and the road not taken. An enjoyable, thoughtful read.
The Devil’s Punchbowl by Greg Iles
The third thriller in Iles’ Penn Cage series set in Natchez, Mississippi. An easy read about gambling, corruption and murder in the Deep South.
Eskiboy by Wiley
An autobiography by the ‘Godfather of Grime’ and recent MBE-recipient Richard Kylea Cowie, aka Wiley. This provides an excellent overview of the emergence of a new music scene in London over the past two decades, with Wiley’s creativity, work ethic and ability to get things done by forging his own path setting him apart from his peers.
Everything That Remains by The Minimalists
Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, write about their journey to minimalism and intentional living in this memoir. Their tale of moving from lives of highly-paid jobs with accompanying debts and mountains of material goods towards simplicity and meaningfulness provides a different side to the Marie Kondo “Does it spark joy?” coin.
How Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb
A memoir by the Peep Show actor. Both heart-warming and heart-breaking, he opens up about his experiences growing up and draws retrospective conclusions about the unrealistic expectations thrown upon boys and young men.
Mini Habits For Weight Loss by Stephen Guise
I finished this after completing my 100 Day Diet Challenge as part of the research for my book. Guise’s advice fits well with my beliefs around eating and health, and readers looking to lose weight over the long-term could do so by adopting the principles outlined here.
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
For any writer looking to improve their non-fiction style, Zinsser’s classic offers a wealth of practical advice. It currently sits alongside Stephen King’s On Writing as my favourite book about the craft of writing.
Post Office by Charles Bukowski
A Bukowski classic. A fast-paced, occasionally difficult but nonetheless funny novel where the writer’s delivery provides a fantastic case-study for others studying the craft.
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
Rovelli’s takes us on a journey through modern physics and provides an interesting introduction to our understanding of the mysteries of the universe. His follow-up, Reality Is Not What It Seems, delves even deeper into this subject.
Solitude by Michael Harris
In our age of constant connectivity, mental health issues have grown across society. Harris’ study focuses on the benefits of being alone (as opposed to being lonely), thus underlining why we should all consider occasionally switching our phones and computers off.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
A blunt, practical and enjoyable guide to letting go. I found myself smiling and nodding my head in agreement throughout.
What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell
This novel, which tells the story of an American lecturer living in Bulgaria and his relationship with a male prostitute, is a character study about one man’s struggle with his sexuality. Elegantly written and engaging, with some chapters slipping almost into a stream of consciousness.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
A memoir ostensibly about running but with parallels drawn throughout to the craft of writing. As somebody who occasionally runs (and studies health and exercise) and who also occasionally writes (and studies writing), I found reading about Murakami’s habits to be fascinating.
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