Playing Favorites (2017 Edition)

A new year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. —unknown

My New Year's resolutions were to blog more, eat less, and buy a new home. Twenty days in and I've yet to write a single post, I'm 0-for-feels-like-500 in house shopping, and my jeans will be the first to say the whole eating less thing ain't happening either. Time to hit the refresh button and this seems like the safest bet—seeing that I have a penchant for foods I shouldn't eat and homes that aren't actually for sale. I need a win, people. Speaking of winning, here are my top picks from 2017.



Hillbilly Elegy should be required readingOne caveat: you've gotta have a stomach for some seriously salty language. Mamaw Vance has a mouth that could turn a sailor scarlet. Ah, but her love is as fierce as her tongue, and before you know it, you'll be her biggest fan. Hers is the saving kind of love. The kind this world needs a whole lot more of. 

Vance offers a no holds barred, unflinching look at his family and a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans—and "what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck." Because it's told from the inside, it never feels patronizing or heavy handed. As Vance reminds us, "there are no villains in this story. There’s just a ragtag band of hillbillies struggling to find their way—both for their sake and, by the grace of God, for mine.” 


Beneath a Scarlet Sky is a must-read. It's as simple as that. Read Tray's review of this winner here. Word has it we'll be seeing Tom Holland as Pino Lella on the big screen sometime soon. Sounds like a must-see to me.


2017 found me binge watching Stranger Things with Tray and binge listening to the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. Seriously. I. Can't. Stop. I'm in the middle of her 11th, yes, I said eleventh, novel, The Nature of the Beast, and this is the first one I haven't loved. I have a feeling it has more to do with this being the first novel not narrated by Ralph Cosham, the original and consummate Inspector Gamache, and less to do with the storyline. I feel as though my beloved Inspector died with dear Mr. Cosham. I'm sure the new narrator, Robert Bathurst, is a lovely man, but I'll be reading, rather than listening to, the next two books.

I foresee some serious Three PInes withdrawals when I finish, but thanks to a tip from one of our favorite readers, Marilyn Brinton, I've now discovered Louise Penny's blog and can continue to feed my obsession there. You're the best, Marilyn. As are all of you, dear readers. Thanks for sharing the book love. Here's to a new year with new reads and more blog posts!



The One-in-a-Million Boy

Posted by Rachel