What I read in 2018

Again, thank you to John Manoogian III for encouraging me to do the Goodreads book challenge. Sometime in July, the reading bug bit me hard and I’ve been reading 2–3 books a week. I read over 70 this year!!!

I’m pretty tough when it comes to giving stars, there are some gems in the 3 star group.

If you’re not one of those “I need to feel the physical book” people (not that there’s anything wrong with you), please check out Libby, an app that helps you check out ebooks from your library.

Five Stars

Washington Black, *****

Edugyan, Esi

A simple (no, it’s not) story about a slave from Barbados who travels to the Arctic to the bottom of the sea and then the deserts of Morocco. Lovely book! (ebook through Libby)

(Should have been) Five Stars

My Year of Rest and Relaxation, ****

Moshfegh, Ottessa

As a napper/sleeper, I wanted to imagine her sleep binge. Don’t worry, I don’t want to sleep for a year. (ebook through Libby)

Red Clocks, ****

Zumas, Leni

A chapter in I was all “nah, not for me.” 3 hours later, I finished it at midnight. (ebook through Libby)

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, ****

Mayer, Jane

It’s terrifying how much the wealthy influence our politics. If you dislike the Koch brothers, this book is for you. (ebook through Libby)

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, ****

Pollan, Michael

Not only is Michael Pollan a wonderful writer, but he took a fascinating topic and broke it down into teeny, tiny pieces. (Library)

Four Stars

American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment, ****

Bauer, Shane

The fact that he was willing to go undercover is amazing. The actual dialogue that he captured is chilling. (ebook through Libby)

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, ****

Traister, Rebecca

This sums it up: “As a woman in public life, “you can’t be angry for yourself,” said Clinton. “You just can’t. You can be indignant, you can be annoyed, you can be frustrated, but you can’t be angry.”” (ebook through Libby)

The Fire Next Time, ****

Baldwin, James

Writing that speaks the truth and to your heart. (ebook through Libby)

Those Who Knew, ****

Novey, Idra

Subtle and smart. It’s like a watercolor of a book, not totally clear what’s happening or why people are doing what they’re doing. (ebook through Libby)

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, ****

Gay, Roxane

After reading Hunger last year, I wanted to read more of her writing in 2018. It shouldn’t, but it shocks me each time I read about how our society sides with rapists over rape victims. (ebook through Libby)

Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do about It, ****

Harding, Kate

Rape culture shouldn’t rest on women’s shoulders. Men (usually) are the ones doing the raping. So stop it. (ebook through Libby)

A Place to Stand, ****

Baca, Jimmy Santiago

This is the most hopeful prison book I’ve ever read. (ebook through Libby)

All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire, ****

Abrams, Jonathan

Makes me want to watch The Wire all over again. All five seasons. (ebook through Libby)

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, ****

Dyson, Michael Eric

Here’s the truth that you likely don’t want to hear. (ebook through Libby)

Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying, ****

Tisdale, Sallie

Death doesn’t have to be scary. The more I read about it, the more assured I feel. (ebook through Libby)

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, ****

DiAngelo, Robin

Important. Academic. Stick with it. (ebook through Libby)

So You Want to Talk About Race, ****

Oluo, Ijeoma

I heard her talk at the XOXO Conference this year. She’s blunt but not harsh. Not that I want to tone police, but it helps build confidence as you think about dismantling white supremacy (NBD, right?). (ebook through Libby)

Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto, ****

Crispin, Jessa

I’ll admit, I don’t remember the details of this book, but I remember loving it. (ebook through Libby)

Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, ****

Thompson, Heather Ann

I didn’t know enough about Attica. Now I know enough to be heartbroken. (ebook through Libby)

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, ****

Coates, Ta-Nehisi

Everyone should read Ta-Nehisi Coates. This book helps put the last two years into perspective. (Kindle)

The Ghosts of Gombe: A True Story of Love and Death in an African Wilderness, ****

Peterson, Dale

Checked it out on a whim. The stories of how chaotic early observational studies were undertaken was a little shocking. But the love everyone felt for the animals was clear. (Library)

On Trails: An Exploration, ****

Moor, Robert

How trails are made, why they’re made, why we follow them. Also a great description of the wilderness: that which is “not you.” (ebook through Libby)

My Abandonment, ****

Rock, Peter

I had to read it after seeing Leave No Trace. Different from the movie. (ebook through Libby)

A Secret History of Witches, ****

Morgan, Louisa

That one story about that one daughter was a bummer. But the rest was a quick, fun read. (ebook through Libby)

The Rules of Magic, ****

Hoffman, Alice

What a sweet and beautiful triple love story. (ebook through Libby)

The Power, ****

Alderman, Naomi

Troubling. But interesting. But troubling. (ebook through Libby)

The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life, ****

Ferrucci, Piero

Anyone who knows me has heard me say that I’d rather be kind than nice. But what is kindness and how do you cultivate it? (Used)

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3), ****

Schwab, V.E.

This whole series is lovely. I’m sure I’ll read all three again. (ebook through Libby)

The Listeners, ****

Zumas, Leni

I really like her style of writing, it bounces around and you have to wait for the key moments. (ebook through Libby)

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1), ****

Adeyemi, Tomi

I didn’t want to stop reading it. The world she creates is so interesting and beautiful. (ebook through Libby)

Uprooted, ****

Novik, Naomi

A fantasy world with witches, wizards and trees that eat you. So much fun to read. (ebook through Libby)

You Are a Message: Meditations for the Creative Entrepreneur, ****

Wolf, Guillaume

Part workbook. Part poetry. Part self-help. But it all resonates. (New)

Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals, ****

Sams, Jamie

A few friends were talking about our spirit animals (I know I’m not supposed to say that) and I wanted to learn more about animals beyond the ones I feel a connection to. (Used)

It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, ****

Wolynn, Mark

It’s amazing any of us function at all. I still need to go through all the exercises, but I imagine it will be pretty intense. (ebook through Libby)

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, ****

Brown, Brené

Everyone should read at least one Brene Brown book. They build on one another, so this is more of a foundational book.(Used)

Rising Strong, ****

Brown, Brené

Everyone should read at least one Brene Brown book. They build on one another, this is further along in the series. (New)

Three Stars

The Governesses, ***

Serre, Anne

Those naughty governesses… (ebook through Libby)

The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World, ***

Weinman, Sara

The story of Lolita made even more tragic knowing it was based on a true story. (ebook through Libby)

His Favorites, ***

Walbert, Kate

A one two punch after reading about Lolita. It is never ok to come on to a minor. Ever. (ebook through Libby)

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir, ***

Nicole Chung

I’ve never put much thought into the life experience of an adopted person. I will be much more thoughtful in the future. (ebook through Libby)

Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America, ***

Tenold, Vegas

I feel like I need a shower after reading that. So much hatred… (ebook through Libby)

Scribe, ***

Hagy, Alyson

You’re curious. But you don’t really know what’s going on and who people are. (ebook through Libby)

Vox, ***

Dalcher, Christina

Another dystopian future where the patriarchy effs everything up. (ebook through Libby)

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, ***

Cooper, Brittney

Part memoir. Part academic textbook. With some church-y stuff thrown in. (ebook through Libby)

In Pieces, ***

Field, Sally

Parents and children have complex relationships. It can take a lifetime to start to understand it. (ebook through Libby)

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, ***

Traister, Rebecca

Not sure what I expected, but this wasn’t it. :( (ebook through Libby)

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape, ***

Hill, Jenna Miscavige

Wtf Scientology?!? (ebook through Libby)

Before She Sleeps, ***

Shah, Bina

Good, but not great. It seemed like it had the potential to be great. (ebook through Libby)

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, ***

Krakauer, Jon

What is wrong with people?!? Believe women. (ebook through Libby)

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, ***

Brown, Austin Channing

Her Christian POV makes the book super interesting. (ebook through Libby)

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, ***

Rosling, Hans

Up is down and black is white. Change your gloomy predictions with facts that demonstrate opportunities for hope. Also, developed vs. undeveloped countries is not a thing, stop saying it. (Kindle, business expense!)

The Slow Regard of Silent Things (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2.5), ***

Rothfuss, Patrick

Not what you’d expect, especially if you’ve read In the Name of the Wind. But not unpleasant either. (ebook through Libby)

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, ***

Ronson, Jon

Jon Ronson is always an interesting, easy read. But talking about public shaming made me sad. (ebook through Libby)

The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir, ***

Julien, Maude

Just so heartbreaking. (ebook through Libby)

The Perfect Nanny, ***

Slimani, Leïla

Page turner. You grow more and more uncomfortable the more you read. (ebook through Libby)

Practical Magic, ***

Hoffman, Alice

I liked the prequel better. So many sets of sisters to keep track of. (ebook through Libby)

Difficult Women, ***

Gay, Roxane

Hard to read. But very well written. (ebook through Libby)

Profit First: A Simple System To Transform Any Business From A Cash-Eating Monster To A Money-Making Machine, ***

Michalowicz, Mike

Recommended in Feminist Business School. Seems obvious, but hard to do.(Used)

Your Story Is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice, ***

Luna, Elle

I bought it for a vacation and liked it, agreed with it, but didn’t feel changed by it. (Own)

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level, ***

Hendricks, Gay

Also read for Feminist Business School. Again, easier said than done. (Kindle)

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, ***

McNamara, Michelle

The author passed away before they caught the GSK. My guess is that her hard work helped the police locate him. (Library)

Everyday Oracles: Decoding the Divine Messages That Are All Around Us, ***

Bolinger-McQuade, Ann

Very woo-woo but an interesting way to look at the world around you. (Used but gave away)

Material Girl, Mystical World: The Now Age Guide to a High-Vibe Life, ***

Warrington, Ruby

Super fun and easy read, but also feels a little trendy and commercial. (Used but gave away)

American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land, ***

Hesse, Monica

Sort of like S-town or Serial, except a book. (ebook through Libby)

Paradise Now: The Story of American Utopianism, ***

Jennings, Chris

At a glance, I thought it would be a history of communes. Turns out he just talks about a few in the 19th century. Their utopian zeal is fascinating. (ebook through Libby)

The Empathy Exams: Essays, ***

Jamison, Leslie

Empathy or wallowing? Her assessment: “my obsession with gendered woundedness.” (ebook through Libby)

Two Stars

Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany, **

Ohler, Norman

I didn’t think you could make a book about Nazi Germany that was boring. This is it. (ebook through Libby)

How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life, **

Price, Catherine

I guess it’s what I expected… (ebook through Libby)

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1), **

French, Tana

Not my type of book at all, very procedural police story. (ebook through Libby)

Counting Backwards: A Doctor’s Notes on Anesthesia, **

Przybylo, Henry Jay

Gave me a peek into my dad’s work world. I get why he’s such a control freak. ;) (ebook through Libby)