2018 in books

Free Women, Free Men - Camille Paglia, The Complete Stories - Truman Capote, The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion, M Train - Patti Smith, The Information - James Gleick, Woolgathering - Patti Smith, Hold Still - Sally Mann, Call Me By Your Name - André Aciman, The Abortion - Richard Brautigan, Revenge of the Lawn - Richard Brautigan, So the Wind Won’t Blow It All Away - Richard Brautigan, Witch in the Bedroom - Stacey Demarco, The Lonely Hearts Hotel - Heather O’Neill, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh, Pastoralia - George Saunders, The Dispossessed - Ursula K. Le Guin, The Log From the Sea of Cortez - John Steinbeck, The Magicians - Lev Grossman, Silent Spring - Rachel Carson, The Magician King - Lev Grossman, The Magician’s Land - Lev Grossman, Travels With Charley - John Steinbeck, Terms of Endearment - Larry McMurtry, No Time to Spare - Ursula K. Le Guin, Between Ourselves: Letters Between Mothers and Daughters - ed. Karen Payne, A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens, We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson, The Mother Tongue - Bill Bryson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson, Handywoman - Kate Davies, The Transit of Venus - Shirley Hazzard, Columbine - Dave Cullen, The Entrepreneurial State - Mariana Mazzucato, Watchmen - Alan Moore, Big Magic - Elizabeth Gilbert, Letters Home - Sylvia Plath, ed. Aurelia Schober Plath, Educated - Tara Westover

37 books. 19 by women and 18 by men.

18 works of fiction and 19 works of non-fiction. Of the fiction, 6 books by women and 12 by men. Of the non-fiction, 14 by women and 5 by men.

The novel that stunned me hardest with its sentences: The Transit of Venus, which was like a marriage of Dickens and Woolf.

4 memoirs. 3 collections of letters.

16 books from the library. 0 books from Amazon.

0 books in translation (to my shame).

The book that disappointed me most: The Mother Tongue, for its self-important tone, lack of rigour, and casual omission of women.

2 books written in the 1800s. 1 written (at least partially) in the 1900s before 1950. 2 from the 1950s. 5 from the 1960s. 3 from the 1970s. 5 from the 1980s. 3 from the 1990s. 6 from the 2000s. 11 from the 2010s.

The writer I imitated most worshipfully: Richard Brautigan.

6 books that I read right before or right after Dylan (Hold Still, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh, The Dispossessed, The Log From the Sea of Cortez, Terms of Endearment, Big Magic).

The book that changed my ideas most profoundly: The Entrepreneurial State.

The book I read in a single sitting: Educated.

The book I read in two sittings: The Dispossessed.

The books that showed up quite transparently in my own writing: The Information, The Abortion, Witch in the Bedroom, Silent Spring.

The book I’d read before: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.

The book y’all should read, if you read one of these: The Dispossessed.

Happy New Year friends. Here’s to another year of learning and reading and thinking. It’s what’s keeping us human.