01/02/2018 13:26 EST | Updated 01/03/2018 10:55 EST

The 36 Books I Read In 2017

There's no lack of excellent literature out there.

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For the past several years, I've kept track of the books I've read, with the ultimate intention of reading 52 each year. (I've hit that intention exactly once.)

The list is something I pull out whenever anyone asks for a recommendation, which I try to give based on other works the person likes. But as a whole, it lets me take a look at my year in reading, which can so often reveal exactly what was going on in my life and the world around me. They weren't all published in 2017 by any means, but they did help define the year for me.

This year, some definite themes emerge: a few excellent post-apocalyptic tomes, a lot about family dynamics and plenty to be gleaned from the current political climate — which is really just to say, the times we live in.

The books that I highly recommend are marked with asterisks, though each one on the list is worthy of a perusal, since I straight up dropped anything that didn't grab me within the first 20 pages.

I'd love to hear about books other people recommend, so please leave them in the comments below!