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.