I did not read as many books in 2018 as I did in the previous two years. We got a puppy in March, and another in late December, so maybe that’s why. Maybe I also started paying more attention to the news, but after a few months I knocked it off. Maybe I remembered a piece of advice I got a number of years ago: Don’t Watch Bad Goes.
My favorite work of fiction among these titles is “Milkman,” by Anna Burns, followed by Gail Honeyman’s “Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine.” My favorite non-fiction was Tara Westover’s “Educated: A Memoir.” I have continued to try to read books by women authors, but have made a couple of exceptions since making that pledge.
Elizabeth Strout’s “My Name is Lucy Barton,” which is like “The Handmaid’s Tale” but historical fiction, so less stressful.
Roxane Gay’s “Bad Feminist”
Gail Honeyman’s “Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine”
“Dust Tracks on a Road” an autobiography by Zora Neale Hurston
“Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng
“The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter” by Theodora Goss, the super adventures of the daughters of monsters
“The Ice House” by Minette Walters
“A Darker Shade of Magic” by V. E. Schwab
“The Power” by Naomi Alderman, fun times in the land of misandry tag.
Mary S. Lovell’s “Straight on till Morning: The Life of Beryl Markham” (which took me a year to finish)
“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi
Gish Jen’s portrait of creepy suburban Asian Americans “The Love Wife”
The steam-punk hippo western, “River of Teeth,” by Sarah Gailey
“Home” by Marilynne Robinson
“Lila,” by Marilynne Robinson
“All the Answers,” a graphic novel by my Twitter friend Michael Kupperman
“Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson (a reread)
“Woman at Point Zero,” by Nawal El Saadawi
“Smoke gets in your Eyes,” by Caitlin Doughty
“Everything Happens for a Reason,” by Kate Bowler
Jennifer Egan’s “Manhattan Beach”
“Tin Man,” by Sarah Winnab
“The Scorpio Races” by Maggie Stiefvater
Barbara Ehrenreich’s grouchy “Natural Causes”
“A Mind to Murder” by P.D. James
Svetlana Alexievich’s “The Unwomanly Face of War”…interviews of female soviet war veterans
“The Dry: A Novel” by Jane Harper
Jack London’s “White Fang,” which I listened to on Audible because it was free, and really, I almost couldn’t get past the extremely racist and tiresomely sexist bits, but the dog stuff was pretty engaging, especially since I was traveling with a dog when I listened to it.
Gail Caldwell’s “Let’s Take the Long Way Home” …a salad of dogs, friendship, and cancer, tossed in a dressing of sobriety
N.K. Jemisin’s “The Fifth Season”
“Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America,” written and read by John Waters, an excellent road trip audiobook.
Tara Westover’s “Educated: A Memoir”
Catherynne M. Valente’s rollicking “Space Opera,” which is as good as Douglas Adams but without his heteronormative nonsense.
“Leadership” by Doris Kearns Goodwin…I read her book about Lincoln when I was in the leadership cohort in business school and I swear I quoted it in at least five different papers. My leadership challenges these days are all dog-related, so this one didn’t grab me the way the Lincoln book did.
“Washington Black” by Esi Edugyan
Audre Lorde’s “Sister Outsider”
“Feminism is for Everybody” by bell hooks, because if you are reading this, you are, actually, a feminist.
“A Conspiracy of Truths,” by Alexandra Rowland. These are times for books about liars and storytellers and spies.
“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee
“Milkman” by Anna Burns, and I can’t wait to reread it.
“All Systems Red” by Martha Wells, the first of the Murderbot novellas, which are my favorite sci-fi in decades.
“Trump Sky Alpha” by Mark Doten, in which the current US president brings about the end of the world
Chuck Wendig’s “Blackbirds”
Joan Didion’s “The White Album”
“Born a Crime,” an autobiography by Trevor Noah, who reads the audiobook. Parts of this were so funny I had to stop listening to it on an airplane because I was laughing so loudly I was afraid I was being rude.
Jane Rawson’s “A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists,” which was kind of like “The Phantom Tollbooth” but for gin drinkers.
Peter Shinkle’s “Ike’s Mystery Man: The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler,” which I read because Peter is one of my oldest brother’s closest and oldest friends. Turns out I liked it anyway.
“Artificial Condition” by Martha Wells
“Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” 1960s essays by Joan Didion, which I listened to as an audiobook read by Dianne Keaton, who sounds so gloriously Los Angelean, with her sloppy diction and flat delivery, I’m ready to pack my books, give away my sweaters, and move (slowly) to Malibu.
Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Poisonwood Bible” …I don’t know how it took so long for me to get around to this book because it’s the kind of thing I like, and I found it very satisfying. I bet my mother read it in her book group right around 2000, and sent me her copy when she finished, and I dismissed it with an eye roll as the kind of thing my mother would read with her book group. It is beautifully written, intimate, engrossing and larger than life, and has connections to Marilynne Robinson’s, Peter Shinkle’s, and Tara Westover’s books.