18 Nov 2019
The best books I read in 2018
Sorry for the delay! I’m just barely slipping this in before I have to start working on my 2019 list, whoops!
Series[eseseseses…] I loved reading in 2018
- Prisoners of Peace by Erin Bow - Children of world leaders are raised as hostages by an AI to ensure world peace. Obviously war and rebellion come. (For Molly: there’s at least one scene I’d tag with #entrailsfromchandeliers for you.)
- The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone - Everyone recommended these to me for years, because they’re fantasy novels about law and magic. I bounced off hard the first time I tried one a few years back, but when I went back to the series last year, I fell in love. I think I needed to get further away from lawyering before I could truly appreciate these.
- The Brothers Sinister by Courtney Milan - I was promised romance novels that tackle a wide range of heavy issues while still remaining fairly light and fun but somehow not too glib, and these delivered.
- The Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce - The ultimate reread, of course. The Alanna books meant the world to me as a kid!
- The Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones - Another fantasy YA reread from my childhood, which I loved back then and continue to love now.
I have fond memories of the Little House books, so it was fascinating to read about the author’s real life and then reread the best of the stories.
- Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Carolina Fraser
- Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder - Still super nostalgic and great, even given the rather darker context from the biography above.
Other scifi and fantasy I loved reading in 2018
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor - Creepy, fucked up fantasy novel - magic and gods and abuse.
- The Daevabad Trilogy #1: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty - Somewhat antihero protagonist has healing powers, discovers she’s maybe part djinn, gets taken to djinn city full of dangerous politics.
- Lexicon by Max Barry - Gory, words and persuasion and manipulation, really quite interesting and fun in a bloody sorta way.
- Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi - It was such a pleasure to read about an engineer who’s also an autistic woman of color.
- Way Station by Clifford D. Simak - Reread - such classic scifi, from back when it was closer to Dunsany.
- Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke - Also a reread, also very much a classic for good reason.
Other YA I loved reading in 2018
- American Panda by Gloria Chao - YA romance, sure, but what hit me really hard here was the ongoing theme of dealing with perfectionist critical immigrant parents, and complicating sibling relationships when dealing with parental emotional abuse.
- Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - Fat protagonist who isn’t focused on getting thin, lots of Dolly fandom. Really charming, and the movie was pretty fun too.
- The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee - Monkey King inspired YA novel! Really fun brain candy.
Other books I loved reading in 2018 that related to gender, race, and class
- The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See - I love both Lisa See and puer tea generally, so I was absolutely the target audience here.
- The Neapolitan Novels #3: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante - I’ve been continuing to slowly work my way through this series. It stays astonishingly strong.
- Faking It: The Lies Women Tell About Sex - And the Truths They Reveal by Lux Alptraum - Disclaimer, Lux is a good friend of mine. She’s also a great author! In a lot of ways, this felt like an expanded summary of many of the conversations we’ve had over tea, which made it extra fun for me.
- Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - Pretty dark for Rowell. Poverty, abusive stepfather.
- The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang - Female mathematician on the autism spectrum hires a male prostitute to teach her how to kiss &c. Super cute romance!
Other non-fiction I loved reading in 2018
- Alibaba’s World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company is Changing the Face of Global Business by Porter Erisman
- Where India Goes by Diane Coffey and Dean Spears - On toilet usage in India, of course.
- Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect by Jonice Webb, PhD - The title sounds dire, but it’s more generally full of useful advice on how we can take better care of ourselves.
- The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8. Lee - The kosher peking duck bit was of course my favorite.
- Stiff and Grunt by Mary Roach - Basically everything she’s ever written is fantastic and fun, light but full of super interesting tidbits.
Total number of books read in 2018: 185