books I loved in 2018

Well HELLO THERE 2019, and happy new year, friends!

As you know (or maybe have not noticed, which is also fine), I haven’t been doing this newsletter… at all, but the one thing I always look forward to sharing is the list of books I loved in a given year. This year, that list feel shorter than previous years. I had a lot of bad luck reading this year, and reading I had to do for work; I started nine books I didn’t finish, which seems like a lot, but on the other hand, I suppose I should be pleased with my still relatively new ability to stop reading a book I do not enjoy. At the end of 2017, I set a goal to read 60+ books, but in the end I "only” read 49. (I think — I think I forgot to write a couple down.) Of these I starred just 17. To me that seems low, but maybe my starring standards are too high? (No — it’s my freaking star.)

Anyway. For one of my 2019 resolutions, I wrote “Read for fun,” which is my way of trying to trick myself into not counting the books I read this year. [I have noticed that when I do count them, I am always racing to finish and start the next, and reading starts to feel like a chore.] I am still going to write down what I read, which of course means I can count them even if I do not list a number next to each entry, but it’s the spirit of it that counts, I hope.

Here are the books I read and loved in 2018. (As usual, if you happen to purchase anything via my Amazon links, I earn tiny affiliate commission — usually it’s like $0.50 or something. You are also welcome to look up these titles from your preferred indie bookseller.) These are listed in the order I read them.

  1. Winter Solstice, Elin Hilderbrand (thank you to Caroline Moss for getting me into ELIN, who has her bougie wino heterosexual drama formula DOWN — and I mean that as a compliment)

  2. Motherhood, Sheila Heti (This book seemed to make a lot of women/mothers mad but as someone conflicted about having kids I loved it)

  3. Displacement by Lucy Knisley (Sweet, sad, all about mortality)

  4. Theft by Finding, 1977-2002, David Sedaris (Fun to go back and read about pre-fame Sedaris again)

  5. Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard (legitimately suspenseful YA, I was hooked)

  6. Unwifeable, Mandy Stadtmiller (I’m as surprised as you are but again, HOOKED)

  7. The Love That Split the World, Emily Henry (gorgeous story of love and loss with more than one passage that moved me to tears)

  8. Natural Causes, Barbara Ehrenreich (I love this bitch, down with empty wellness)

  9. We Are Okay, Nina LaCour (beautiful, atypical lesbian YA)

  10. Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed anthology, Meghan Daum (I was inspired by Motherhood and found it reassuring)

  11. Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton (spooky and funny and twisted)

  12. Willa & Hesper, Amy Feltman (dyke drama but make it literary)

  13. Educated, Tara Westover (you already know)

  14. Circe, Madeline Miller (not my usual bag but it’s as good as everyone says)

  15. SCUM Manifesto, Valerie Solanas (GOD she was funny)

  16. Edith’s Diary, Patricia Highsmith (I can’t believe this isn’t like, canon recommendation among youngish, disaffected women; it was SO eerie and good)

  17. Less, Andrew Sean Greer (annoyed I let the cover put me off for so long; easily the most fun I had reading all year)

That’s it! I must also mention that my book Would You Rather? came out this year, and if you haven’t yet read it, I think it would fit in nicely on your Read in 2019 list. If you have read it: thank you.

Also, if you sense any patterns here, and/or have any recommendations based on whatever this list says about my taste, PLEASE feel free to send them. I would love to have a better batting average this year.

xo

Katie

floor length nightgowns and a eulogy for my fave Colourpop product

Hi friends! Long time no see!

Last week I deleted my Facebook (ostensibly because of the security breach, but more honestly because I found myself opening it roughly 500 times a day only to read posts in podcast fan groups I’d joined, and commenting on things I don’t really care about, and then regretting commenting as soon as the notifications of every other comment started rolling in, and on and on, and what’s the point), and the week before that, I deleted all my old tweets. That was a little sad — I didn’t even say goodbye! — and I don’t regret it, per se, but it did make me think a lot about what I’m choosing to share or not, and what I think is worth keeping (or not). I think the conclusion I came to was that I’d rather err on the side of saying too much, but infrequently, than saying a lot of nothing, constantly. I guess that’s what I’m doing here!

I am in major back-to-school-clothes-shopping mode over here, despite being almost 32 years old and having a job I do mostly from home. There is no good excuse to want all this stuff I don’t need, but the excuse I have is that I sold a book, which means there is theoretical money headed my way. It’s by far the best advance I’ve gotten for a book, and while I have lots of austere, practical plans for most of it (notably: hacking away, over time, at ~$45K in student loan debt and ~$10K in credit card debt, mostly accrued by the nightmare that is moving from one apartment to another in New York), I also feel like I should be able to buy a designer Laura Ingalls Wilder dress I’ll be too embarrassed to leave the house in. But then I think, all I really want is a house with a backyard for my dog. I miss wanting things I could buy after saving two paychecks from the Gap. These days when I want something that costs $20 or $40, I either buy them right away or forget about them forever, which ends up being the same either way.

Right now, though, that money is still just an idea, and my credit card balance gives me a headache, so I’ll only allow myself to shuffle things in and out of my carts when I’m bored. I am hoping that by the time I get a little piece of that money the prairie dress thing is over because I know it’s unsustainable and a little nuts for the average citizen. Here is some of the other stuff I’m considering, though.

  1. PajamaGram Women's Bright Plaid Flannel Nightgowns — $49.99

I learned about this nightgown from Ruth Curry, who found it on a curb in Brooklyn. This was last May, and I have wanted one ever since. Right now I am torn between the above model and this one, which is maybe a little butchier, and this one, though I’m not sure about the cropped sleeves. All I want is for it to be cold enough for me to wear this 24 hours a day, in my house and at the door of my frosty backyard.

  1. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in “Secret Salma” — $34

It’s almost too harrowing to talk about, but the best lip product I’ve ever used — Colourpop’s Blotted Lip in Ice Cube — has been discontinued. When I first noticed it was listed as “out of stock” I emailed Colourpop’s customer service, and a woman named Janelly replied to let me know a restock was coming, but she wasn’t sure when. Then the listing disappeared from the site altogether, and I emailed customer service again. Janelly wrote back to say that she was sorry, but a restock wasn’t happening after all. I feel betrayed to this day. Ice Cube was all I wanted in a lip product: matte, pink, natural-ish, lasting stain I could wear under my Burt’s Bees, $5. And now it is gone. Temptalia suggests the above lipstick as a comp but, I don’t know. It’s freaking $34, and it’s a lipstick, and it’s not the same.

  1. Gardenia Cardigan — $168

There isn’t much thought I’ve put into this one. I just like it. It’s sporty but femme. It looks like a sweater I would have thought was very cool in my senior year of high school, back when I still planned my outfits in advance, or put effort into them at all. (Stylistically, I think, that was my best year: so many cute knee high socks and skirts and blazers with broaches and cool thrift store earrings everyday.) I don’t wish I were a teenager again (well, most of the time), and I don’t wish I had a job that required me to dress fancy every day, and I don’t wish I were single and going out to bars and things. But I do miss having built-in reasons to put an outfit together. If I think of one worth $168, I might buy this sweater.

Okay, that’s all for now. See you sometime, whenever I feel like it, which I hope is not too far away! Let me know if there’s anything amazing you’ve bought or wanted to buy since the last time I wrote.

xo
Katie

hello, old friends.

Hi!! Remember me? I used to be much better at regularly publishing a newsletter about shopping and not shopping. Then I got a full-time job at the Cut (yay!), and moved into a new apartment, both of which meant I lost all ability to write anything else for a while (boo). (Also, I am 100% shopping again. I have a salary now, hello!)

I am still trying to find the right working balance for me (my new thing is waking up at 5:15 to work on my new book, which I hope to tell you more about soon), but in the meantime, I wanted to make the seemingly inevitable move over here to Substack. RIP Tinyletter.

Though Substack offers a paid subscription option, this letter is still free, mainly because I think that’s the only way I can allow myself the freedom to do it sporadically and only when I want to. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing about shopping but I do feel like writing about something else. I think I will feel less guilty for deviating from my self-directed script if I don’t charge anything. Lol. I love rules.

Btw — does anyone know if Colourpop discontinued their blotted lips? I’m worried! Also I really want these baby pearl hoops!! You will probably not be surprised to learn that in high school and college I wore pearls all the freaking time. Okay, more soon!!!

Coming soon

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