Four Favorite Books from 2017

I’ve already written about the best books of 2017 for teachers, and so today I will focus on the other books that I’ve read this year. My “favorite” books are the ones that I am most likely to read again. Here they are:

1. Elizabeth Strout: Anything Is Possible.

I predict that a hundred years from now, readers will continue to turn to Elizabeth Strout’s books. She has the ability to focus on the details that reveal the best-hid secrets.  This book, in particular, shows us the scars of poverty.  In some respects, she is a literary descendant of Charles Dickens.

2. Charles Dickens: Great Expectations

I believe that today’s political climate calls for the reading of Charles Dickens because his novels show us what happens when the disparity between the poorest and the richest reaches the tipping point. What lessons can we learn from 1860s London, with its debtors prisons and lack of free public education for all children?

 

3. Jane Smiley: Charles Dickens: A Life

Charles Dickens was, in many ways, a misfit.  He was a head of his times in many respects as a writer – daring to take on subjects and sentiments that no one else would touch.  Even though he was very famous, he had few friends.  He became rich after suffering the indignities of poverty.  He trusted only himself.

4. Desmond, Matthew.  Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

I wish that this was a novel instead of a book that tells the true stories of real people.  Of all the books I read in 2017, this one was the most difficult because it chronicles the heart-breaking – and real – situations people here in Wisconsin are in right now. It shows us the unexpected consequences of public policies.

What are your favorite books from 2017?  Use the comment box or reach me at CStover1@madisoncollege.edu/.  Here’s to a happy 2018!

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