Favourite Books of 2018
These books aren’t necessarily published in 2018 (I’m usually reading a few months in the future). I read a total of 181, of which maybe 20 are YA, 20 are graphic novels, and 30 are poetry. The rest are fiction and non-fiction. Unfortunately I am GoodReads-delinquent and don't really track my reading there. They’re not ranked any way except alphabetical, because it’s hard enough to pick ten.
One weird fact this year: every month except for one, I read an even number of books.
Ayesha at Last, Uzma Jalaluddin
A Pride and Prejudice knock-off set in a Muslim community in Scarborough, Ontario. Completely delightful.
The Book of M, Peng Shepherd
This is the only book that I had to read that made my top ten, and if you’ve asked me for a recommendation recently chances are this was one. It’s a dystopia/fantasy, in which for unknown reasons people begin to lose their shadows, and then their memories, rendering them kind of feral zombies. We follow a separated couple (one with a shadow, one recently lost) as they try to find each other, and a cure. And it’s got a great twist.
Like a Mother, by Angela Garbes
There are a lot of “so you’re a mom...but also a person...now what” books on the market right now, many of which are great, but this one takes a scientific angle on the myths of pregnancy and motherhood that was super interesting and necessary. I’ve got placenta facts for you, if you want them!
My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Otessa Moshfegh
I almost didn’t like this one as I was reading it -- it’s about a girl who keeps knocking down an increasingly terrifying prescription meds in order to sleep through an entire year, and I found it a bit frustrating -- but as I was looking through my list of “ingenue in New York City” novels this year, this is the one I remembered most intensely.
Normal People, Sally Rooney
Her debut, Conversations with Friends, was on my list last year. She’s 27. It’s flatly ridiculous that she’s this good. But she is. Normal People follows a single relationship from high school through college, and remarkably avoids being too precocious. It is, however, existentially depressing.
Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
I love a good family epic, and this one delivers, set over a few generations of a Korean family under Japanese occupation.
Pure, Linda Kay Klein
I have been yelling about this book since I read it. Klein takes on the purity culture that has frankly decimated a generation of evangelicals’ relationships with their bodies and each other, and she does it in such a kind and forthright way (since she herself is a product of that culture).
Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver
Two narratives, one present day and one during the time of the Darwin trials, where the rampant anti-intellectualism might feel...familiar.
The Wedding Date and The Proposal, by Jasmine Guillory Technically two books, but we’re going to overlook that. This is not a genre I know anything about (romance), but these books are sweet and fun and smart, and I’m always on the lookout for books that aren’t completely depressing but also don’t kill my brain cells.
Your Duck is My Duck, Deborah Eisenberg Short stories, and they’re just incredible. If you like short stories AT ALL this is the one to pick up.
Some more books I read and enjoyed:
How to Behave in a Crowd, Camille Bordas
My Ariel, Sina Queryas
Magdalene, Marie Howe
And Now We Have Everything, Meaghan O’Connell
Florida, Lauren Groff
The Dry, Jane Harper
The Incendiaries, RO Kwon
Hot Milk, Deborah Levy
Golden State, Lydia Kiesling
Severance, Ling Ma