Books I’ve read, 2018

Carmen Maria Machado reads from her book, Her Body and Other Parties
at the 2018 Sydney Writer’s Festival.

Another year of reading is behind me. As always, here’s a list of the books I finished in 2018.

The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy (book club)
The Power by Naomi Alderman
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (book club)
True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey (book club)
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
The Art of War by Sun Tzu (book club)
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (book club)
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (book club, reread)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (book club, audio book)
My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa (book club)
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (book club)
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (book club)
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (book club)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (book club)
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell
Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence (book club)
Educated by Tara Westover (book club)
Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden (book club)
Leonardo and The Last Supper by Ross King
A Visit from the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan (book club)
The Mighty Thor, Volume 3: The Asgard/Shi’ar War by Jason Aaron, et. al.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (book club)
The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson (book club)

Best Books
Losing the incredible talent of Michelle McNamara is truly a shame. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is a remarkable achievement in true crime writing. McNamara’s chapters are meticulously researched and gorgeously written, and the final chapter left me in tears. Michelle didn’t live to see the Golden State Killer finally arrested, but I’m sure she’s cheering on those working so hard to finally bring him to justice.

Short stories aren’t something I typically seek out, but I’m so glad I found Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. Her blend of fantasy, science fiction, humor and sexuality is haunting. I read this book at the beginning of the year and find myself thinking about several of the stories in this collection on a weekly basis. I saw Machado speak about this book at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, and the podcast recording is well worth a listen.

Lincoln in the Bardo is my second experience with audio books, and what an experience it was. An all-star celebrity cast brings the sprawling list of characters to life with beautiful and touching performances. If you struggled with reading this book (as some people I’ve spoken with have), then the audio version might be a good way to dive into the story again.

I also highly recommend Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey if you’ve previously tapped out of reading other versions. Her use of contemporary language finally brought the story to life for me, making parallels between Ancient Greece and today’s news even more evident. I also saw Wilson speak at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, and that recording is available online as well.

Worst Books
The only truly disappointing book on my list this year was A Simple Favor, though I went into it with low expectations to begin with. Everyone is trying to pen the next Gone Girl, and this is not it. Favor suffers from one dimensional characters and a few too many plot twists, but I plan to go into that a bit more in an upcoming Page & Screen post.

Looking forward to in 2019
I haven’t given much thought to what I’ll read next year. My only concrete plan outside of January’s book club selections is Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). This series has been reliable vacation entertainment for me, so I’m saving this latest installment for a trip in March.

Other than that, who knows! I’m excited to see where another year of reading will take me.

Follow me on Goodreads and leave any book recommendations in the comments!

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