Reading Effort 2017 · The Reading Life

2017 Reading Year Review

Mid-January feels like a good time for a reading year review of 2017. In recent years, I’ve done my best to stop fussing over how many books or pages I read as compared to an arbitrary goal or my previous reading year. But two developments this year captured my attention.

Possibly my most noteworthy observation of 2017 is that 70 percent of the books I read were e-books. I knew I read more when I read ebooks, but I love paper books. Given that, I wasn’t expecting the disparity between paper and ebook to be so stark.

Conveniently, this disparity justified my decision to upgrade to the Nook GlowLight 3, despite its black chassis that visually shrinks the page. Even though the GlowLight 3 is, overall, larger than the GlowLight Plus, the reading screen appears smaller. Look:

Reading Year

I don’t mind telling that I was quite put out by this throwback development (the Nook Simple Touch of years-gone-by had a black chassis). I just stared and stared at it, thinking


Nevertheless, after testing the GlowLight 3 in the store, I couldn’t resist its Night Mode feature. It lights the page with a soft glow that feels so much easier on the eyes than the old screen. I can hardly believe the difference. The above photo doesn’t do it justice. Give it a look if you happen to be in a Barnes and Noble.

My second noteworthy observation is that I seem to have fully embraced a new reading stage: books from, about, or inspired by ancient Greece and, to a lesser extent, Rome. I’ve written before about my reading phases and how I spent years reading mostly contemporary fiction. So many years that I’d stopped thinking of it as a phase and just how I read.

This year divested me of that notion: 40 percent of the books I read fell into the ancient Greece category. Books I read that didn’t fall into that category were often work-related reads. Further, most of the books on my want-to-read-soon shelf are related to ancient Greece as well. But that’s a topic for another day. Let’s look at the final tally (links take you to where I’ve written more about the books).

2017 Reading Year: Ancient Greek and Roman-Related Reads
Ancient Greek and Roman texts

Reading YearDaphnis and Chloe by Longus, translated by Paul Turner

Prometheus Bound and The Persians by Aeschylus, translated by James Romm

The Life of Theseus and In Consolation to His Wife by Plutarch

Enchiridion by Epictetus, translated by George Long

The Odyssey by Homer, translated by George Herbert Palmer

Jason and the Argonauts by Apollonius of Rhodes, translated by Aaron Poochigian

The Bacchae, Helen, and Trojan Women by Euripides, translated by Emily Wilson

Medea by Euripides, translated by Rachel Kitzinger

The Thesmophoriazusae and Lysistrata by Aristophanes, translated by Alan H. Sommerstein

The Library of Greek Mythology by Apollodorus, translated by Robin Hard

True History by Lucian, translated by H. W. Fowler and F. G. Fowler

Lucius or, The Ass by Lucian, translated by M. D. Macleod

The Complete Poems of Sappho, translated by Willis Barnstone

The Golden Ass by Apuleius translated by, E. J. Kenney

Heroides by Ovid, translated by Grant Showerman

Books About Ancient Greece and Rome

Introducing the Ancient Greeks by Edith Hall

Classics: A Very Short Introduction and Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations by Mary Beard

An Introduction to Greek Philosophy by J. V. Luce

Classical Literature: A Very Short Introduction by William Allen

Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction by Helen Morales

Books Inspired by Ancient Greece and Rome

Reading YearHelping Hercules by Francesca Simon

The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes, Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (Books 1 – 5), The Dark Prophecy (Trials of Apollo #2), and Percy Jackson and the Singer of Apollo by Rick Riordan

The Night Tourist and The Twilight Prisoner by Katherine Marsh

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Chasing Odysseus by S. D. Gentill

What do you like to read? Do you go for themes or whatever strikes your fancy in the moment?

2 thoughts on “2017 Reading Year Review

  1. A very interesting look back, although I’m not surprised about the percentage of Ancient Greek/Roman books. I’ve so enjoyed reading your thoughts on them this past year.

    I’ve also been thinking back on my 2017 reading experiences. A lot of random, usually contemporary books came into my life this year, when I made a habit of roving through used bookstores with a new friend. As I’m sure you understand, even when I tell myself not to get anything, I can’t resist an intriguing find – espeically when the books at some places (regardless of being in English or French) only cost about 2 euros. I’ve also read so many books for a project I’m researching, about France during the mid-19th century and the Siege of Paris in 1870. It’s been interesting reading primary sources of the latter, and seeing how different people experienced it.

    This year, I hope I’ll change up my reading habits a little, especially by reading more books in French.

    The most important thing is, isn’t it wonderful that there are so many books out there for us to read and enjoy and think about? That, at least, makes me optimistic for the year ahead!

    Here’s to great reading in 2018 for the both of us, and I can’t wait to read your thoughts on the books that come your way!

    1. Thank you so much, Alysa. It is comforting to think about the abundance of reading material. I wish you a great reading year and a great 2018 in general!
      Your project sounds intriguing. Is it something you’re writing about?
      I’m super impressed that you want to read more in French. I am trying to learn Ancient Greek. I would love to read some of my favorites in the original someday!

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