The Last 50 books I Read

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.

January 2018

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

February 2018

“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.

March 2018

Mary S. Lovell’s “Straight on till Morning: The Life of Beryl Markham” (which took me a year to finish)

“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi

April 2018

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

May 2018

“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

June 2018

“Smoke gets in your Eyes,” by Caitlin Doughty

“Everything Happens for a Reason,” by Kate Bowler

Jennifer Egan’s “Manhattan Beach”

July 2018

“Tin Man,” by Sarah Winnab

“The Scorpio Races” by Maggie Stiefvater

Barbara Ehrenreich’s grouchy “Natural Causes”

August 2018

“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

September 2018

N.K. Jemisin’s “The Fifth Season”

“Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America,” written and read by John Waters, an excellent road trip audiobook.

October 2018

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.

November 2018

“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

December 2018

Audre Lorde’s “Sister Outsider”

Feminism is for Everybody” by bell hooks, because if you are reading this, you are, actually, a feminist.

January 2019

“A Conspiracy of Truths,” by Alexandra Rowland. These are times for books about liars and storytellers and spies.

February 2019

“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee

March 2019

“Milkman” by Anna Burns, and I can’t wait to reread it.

April 2019

“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.

May 2019

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.

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