Hi, I'm Angi
Welcome to my corner of the internet! My passions include travel, photography, books, music, Japanese language and culture, Italian language and culture, and art.

Here at Abbott Lane you'll find my thoughts on these topics and much more. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

My Top Five Favorite Reads from 2017

I'm a big reader, and I love looking over what I've read in the past year and thinking about which books I most enjoyed. In 2017 I had the goal to read 30 books, and ended up reading 57! I feel like 2017 was when I really, truly reconnected with my love of reading.

So here are my favorites from last year. These were incredibly difficult to pick, and there are a few that might've been switched out for another on a different day, so I've decided to also include a few honorable mentions.

The Fifth Season - NK Jemisin
This was the only book this year that made me exclaim "Wow!" after I finished. I literally had to take a bit of a break after this one, because it was an intense read and made me feel so many feels. I've always been a sci-fi fan, but Jemisin takes it to the next level, creating a deeply rich and complex story. I'm not going to write anymore about this one, because it's best discovered on your own. This, by far, was my absolute favorite read of 2017.

Wicked Weeds - Pedro Cabiya
I'm not sure where I heard about this one. I think it was on a "Best of..." list somewhere, but I can't retrace my steps to figure out which one. I'm so glad I found it though, because this book was fantastic. Very strange and surreal, Wicked Weeds takes place on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It's about...zombies. But also about love and how we become human. It's funny and weird and sweet and terrifying. There's a lot packed in here about the relationship between the two countries, which share an island, and I'm sure some of the political and social messages woven into the story went over my head. But I still loved it.

The Twenty Days of Turin - Giorgio De Maria
I read this right after the election and it was...sobering. An incredible book that centers around the Italian city of Turin, and the mysterious 20 days in which the city's citizens experience mass hysteria and psychosis, ending with many of them killed at the hands of an invisible force. What scared me about this book, besides the fact that it's essentially about how neo-facism gets its claws in a grows, is how perfectly De Maria described the internet...despite this having been written in the 1970s. It almost reads like a warning of times ahead. A terrifying, but wonderfully written novel.

Electric Arches - Eve Ewing
This was the year that I got into poetry. Poetry had always felt so far removed from my experience. Not that this is a bad thing, but I often found I couldn't relate to a lot of it. But this year I found three poets: Claudia Rankine, Danez Smith, and Eve Ewing. Each of them spoke about the black experience in a way that I'd never seen, and something clicked. It was hard to pick just one of their books, but in the end I felt most connected with Ewing's work. Beautiful, afro-surrealist poems about being a woman, being black, and being from Chicago. Perfection.

The Grip of It - Jac Jemc
You guuuuuuuuuys...I AGONIZED over this final choice, because there were so many that could have been slotted in here (see the Honorable Mentions below). There were a number of books that I completely devoured because they were just so well written! I decided to go with The Grip of It as my final top five because it was beautifully written, and it was completely different than anything else I read this year. It's a meditation on haunting, but not in the traditional sense (though that does make an appearance in this novel). It's about the things that haunt us as individuals, how they live within us, how they haunt our relationships with others...the ghosts that we carry that can ripple outward and impact our experience of life. Jemc portrays this really wonderfully by wrapping it all up in a traditional-ish ghost story about a young couple that moves into a new - and haunted - home. But what is it haunted by? Loved this one AND she's a Chicago-based author (holla!)

Other books I adored this year: Citizen - Claudia Rankine, Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel, Don't Call Us Dead - Danez Smith, My Best Friend's Exorcism - Grady Hendrix, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - Caitlin Doughty.