Welcome to 2018.  And with 2018 brings some new things to the Guide.  We are approaching the first anniversary of the blog, which is exciting in and of itself.  This past year I have made beautiful relationships with many of the people I have connected with on my blog.  And I have appreciated getting to know many of you through facebook groups, comments on my blog, and my social media.  So when I began speaking with Brandi Kennedy about possibly putting together a blog series for the month of January, I became excited.  Putting together a series of posts with the same themes and differing perspectives sounded so interesting. One person would present the single mother’s perspective, while the other would present the single father’s perspective.

So as we proceed through the month of February, make sure to check out Brandi Kennedy’s blog at Author Brandi Kennedy.  You will get different perspectives on all the various things going on whether parenting issues, book reviews, movie reviews, and a whole host of other topics.  Make sure to check back and forth throughout the month to fully catch up on everything from both perspectives.

For the month of January, we will be kicking our perspectives series with a list of some of our favorite 2017 reads.  It’s not necessarily a single dad vs. single mom topic, but these books fascinate me. So without further ado, the Guide kicks off the next year by remembering the past year, I present some of my favorite reads of 2017.

Favorite 2017 Reads –

The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I am always a bit loathe to get books simply based on movies.  And with this book, it’s a book about a movie about a book.  But I really did enjoy this work put together after they released the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  Maybe it’s because the original book the movie was base upon was a relatively small work meant to accompany the original Harry Potter film series.  After we were introduced to Newt Scamander’s original work that Hagrid showed to his third-year students at Hogwarts, Rowling decided to release a book covering many of the various beasts we had been exposed to.  So when they finished filming Harry Potter and were looking for other works to make movies into, they first decided to tackle the tale of the man behind the Fantastic Beasts book.

What’s beautiful about this book, aside from all of the amazing pictures, is all of the material they have directly related to the movie.  Whether it’s newspaper clippings of stories from the movie or letters written between the characters, you will find a ton of material to peruse through while reading this book.  It makes the material come alive and allows one to experience the movie all over again.

The Hunger Games Trilogy

I am going to be honest.  My favorite part of the Hunger Games trilogy is the very first book.  There are so few books out there that immediately grab my attention and then suck me in.  It’s one of those rare books where I began the story and couldn’t put the book down.  I realize that this book has been out for quite a while, but I definitely feel like it’s worth a read.  I realize that some people might not be able to deal with the idea of children killing children.

Think before you consider whether the material is appropriate for your child.  Try to be understanding of who your child is and whether they can handle the material.  Also, be prepared to talk to them about the material afterward.  It’s so important as a parent to be able to engage with our children about the difficult subject material.

But I would say that my daughter at eleven could easily comprehend what was going on with the characters and could handle some of the more delicate issues going on behind the scenes.  The basic plot of the story is a Capital in a post-apocalyptic America where they control their citizenry by means of fear.  The rich and powerful make the subclasses fight in hunger games, not unlike the Coliseum of ancient Rome.  The winner could gain freedom, of a sort, and notoriety for their district.  These games start for people as young as 12.

And when Katniss Everdeen sees her sister being selected for participation in the games, she sacrifices herself to prevent her sister from being forced to participate.  Along with Peeta, a guy who has loved Katniss from a youth, District 12’s representatives face off in the 74th Hunger Games.  Will Katniss make it out alive?  And what does she do about her feelings for Peeta?  Especially as she may have to kill him in the end.  If you have not read it, and you enjoy Dystopian literature, the Hunger Games is a must-read.


Currently, my daughter’s favorite novel, Wonder tells the tale of Auggie Pullman, a ten-year-old with a severe deformity making it difficult to have friends or anyone else.  From lessons about bullying to lessons about the true nature of Beauty, Wonder teaches everyone something.  It can teach kids to be better siblings to those around them.  It can teach us to look past the exterior of what everyone sees.  Wonder reveals true beauty is found within.

The great thing about Wonder is that it does not leave us with just one perspective.  One can see how difficult people and relationships can be from all different kinds of perspectives.  I think they beautifully show how difficult situations can affect a whole family.  It beautifully tells the strained relationships with the sister, the parents, and even friends at school.  And it doesn’t make light of any situation.  I think it was important that they don’t make one dimensional, not even the bully.  And you can even understand where the bully comes from.  Definitely, a beautiful story worth a read if you haven’t done so as of yet.  And of course, they have now released a great movie to go along with it.

Continue The Conversation

What books did you find interesting this year, or which books moved you.  I admit I love books they make into movies, so I frequently engage those kinds of books.  So maybe that’s why my books list of the past year is a bit movie heavy.  And maybe they are a bit teen heavy given I have a tween daughter.  So what books are on your book favorites list for the past year?  And what are your favorite types of books?

Like / Follow Me

If you liked this post, please check out the corresponding perspectives post by Brandi Kennedy at her blog. And definitely, like this post at the end and follow me here at the Guide.  All email subscribers will be given access to the Dad Rules, every father should know about and follow.  Thanks for stopping by as always and looking forward to many adventures with you during this happy 2018.

Until next time, this is me signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life