“Best Books” and What I Read In 2018

I am a sucker for the “best of” lists that come out in December each year. I read the best album and/or track lists as well, but the book lists get me SO AMPED for what I’ll try to  read in the coming year.

NPR’s list gets delivered to my inbox. So that’s convenient. I also appreciate the layout (very clickable and user friendly), the length (319 books this year) and the variety; romance novels, poetry, cookbooks, it’s all here. https://apps.npr.org/best-books-2018/

Entropy Mag has lists for fiction, nonfiction and poetry. They provide detailed descriptions of each book, and they often feature indie publishers and new authors, which is MUCH appreciated. They also highlight the successful hybrid works. Here is the nonfiction list link to start:  https://entropymag.org/best-of-2018-non-fiction-books/

And – I love Electric Lit: https://electricliterature.com/electric-lits-20-best-novels-of-2018-8cec93a85896

My “Books I Read” in 2018 list tops out at 34. It is likely a personal best.

This year I re-read only one book. Bluets, by Maggie Nelson. I will likely reread it again and again and again until the end of time.

Yesterday a customer asked me to recommend him some good nonfiction, and I immediately wrote down Bluets. It’s short, poetic, theory-heavy, and very, very sexy.

Out of all 34, here are my top 5 reads of 2018.

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, Edited by Roxane Gay

This book is so important, and who better to put an anthology like this together than Roxane Gay? It was not something I could just read all the way through – I read it in three parts and broke it up with other books. Of course the range of experience represented is very intentionally diverse. My take-away: we need to change our language surrounding victims of assault. There are many, many take-aways. Just read it already.

Against Memoir by Michelle Tea

Queer, feminist activism writing at its best. Great introduction to Michelle Tea if you are unfamiliar. *See: Sister Spit

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

I know that most people think this is his worst novel, but I loved it. I have yet to read beyond NW and The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, but I could not put this down. It was very dark, dream-like, mysterious – and the characters made me laugh-cry.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

This short story collection is fantastic. It is queer and mythical and scary and hilarious – like the indexed version of Law and Order where each episode plays out an alter-reality of what the show could have been in story-form. Even if you are unfamiliar with L&W as I am, this was very entertaining.

Pretend We Live Here by Genevieve Hudson (Short stories)

So, so imaginative. Writing about home, intimacy and desire and a pet dolphin in Amsterdam. I went back and read stories to my partner out loud after I was done.


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