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04 Mar 2021
What did you eat yesterday? (recipe index)

For easy reference, a recipe index for the manga What did you eat yesterday?

Volume 1

  • salmon burdock rice (11)
  • bamboo zha cai scrambled eggs (12)
  • cold vermicelli with tuny and tomatoes (43)
  • boiled bamboo shoots and broccoli rabe (58)
  • strawberry jam (66)
  • sardines simmered with pickled plums (94)
  • tomato salad
  • stewed bacon and cabbage
  • miso soup with string beans and potatoes
  • stir-fried asparagus (97)
  • chinese-style spicy pork with eggplant and tomato (111)
  • finely chopped blanched okra with fresh ginger and minced bonito flakes (112)
  • tofu salad with mustard greens, shiso, cucumber, shrimp, ponzu (112)
  • salt-grilled mackerel pike (133)
  • chestnut rice
  • sesame-dressed spinach
  • nameko and trefoil miso soup
  • mackerel pike rice (137)
  • oven-roasted chicken (153)
  • german potatoes with leeks
  • tosa-style sesame-dressed broccoli
  • tofu and wakame miso soup
  • tosa-style cabbage and onions (155)


Volume 2

  • spinach lasagne (17)
  • sour cream and cod roe dip with baguette
  • baked herb-crusted chicken
  • tuna salad
  • miso pork, leeks, cabbage, and thick fried tofu (29)
  • yuzu-dressed napa cabbage
  • wakame soup
  • stewed yellowtail and daikon (37)
  • fried tofu stuffed with miso scallion
  • egg drop soup with mitsuba
  • miso-marinated cherry salmon (54)
  • mustard and mayo dressed asparagus
  • simmered dried daikon strips
  • scrambled eggs with stir-fried veggies
  • onion and new potato miso soup
  • beef and celery oyster sauce stir-fry (75)
  • potato salad
  • natto
  • egg drop soup with tomato and okra
  • Miso pork, eggplant, and bell pepper stir-fry (92)
  • crispy baby sardines, carrot and celery salad
  • cold tofu with onions, myoga ginger, and soy-sauce flavored bonito flakes
  • shredded kelp soup
  • pork and pumpkin curry udon (112)
  • chikuwa and green been salad
  • milky agar with brown sugar syrup
  • foil-baked miso salmon (129)
  • bacon and turnip greens garlic stir-fry
  • vinegared turnips
  • country-style vegetable chowder
  • nikujaga (meat and potatoes) (139)
  • ohitashi spinach
  • scallop and daikon salad
  • tofu and wakame miso soup
  • mixed seasoned rice with salmon, burdock, and maitake mushrooms


Volume 3

  • fried rice with miso pork sauce (17)
  • sweet and sour soup
  • chicken and broccoli in oyster sauce
  • sapporo ichiban miso ramen (napa, carrot, bean sprout, pork, leek, wakame, egg) (33)
  • mochi and veggie-laden toppingful soup (51)
  • chicken wings hot pot (75)
  • lotus root kinpira
  • seasoned rice cooked with vegetables (92)
  • pork and tofu
  • steam-cooked clams, cabbage, and bacon
  • sesame-seasoned sprouts and leeks
  • salty chicken and asparagus stir-fry (113)
  • stewed hijiki with soybeans
  • spring onions dressed in bonito flakes and baby sardines
  • potato and wakame miso soup
  • seasoned rice with eel, takana, and eggs (130)
  • fried eggplant and tomato salad
  • german potatoes with asparagus
  • tofu and myoga soup
  • side-dish crepes (ham and egg, tuna salad, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, &c) (145)
  • snack-dish crepes (banana, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, yogurt, honey, &c)


Volume 4

  • stewed hamburders in mushroom sauce (17)
  • stir-fried mustard greens and bean sprouts
  • lightly-pickled daikon, cucumbers, and carrots
  • eggplant, thin fried tofu, and ginger bud miso soup
  • salmon, egg, and cucumber sushi rice (33)
  • stewed chicken and veggies
  • stir-fried eggplants and bell peppers
  • plum and mayo dressed broccoli
  • shrimp and turnips in rich sauce
  • rice porridge with chicken, egg, and mitsuba (55)
  • rolled omelet
  • spinach shiraae
  • hot soba with shrimp, mitsuba, and onion fritters (69)
  • vegetable tempura
  • stewed chicken wings and daikon (89)
  • leek consomme (includes the leeks, and mustard)
  • chives with natto
  • sweet potato and fried tofu miso soup
  • caramel-simmered apples on toast (107)
  • ginger pork with heaps of onions (126)
  • carrot namul
  • cold tofu with scallions and zha cai
  • bamboo shoots and wakame miso soup
  • spaghetti napolitan (140)
  • stewed dried daikon strips with carrots
  • tea over rice with pickled plum (146)


Volume 5

  • coleslaw (4)
  • bean rice (actually peas, not beans) (19)
  • tomato stewed chicken
  • stewed string beans and potatoes
  • horse mackerel tataki (32)
  • stewed cabbage and fried tofu
  • kinpira of green peppers and dried baby sardines
  • miso soup with tomatoes and chinese yam
  • summer veggie curry (49)
  • wasabi soy sauce flavored avocado and tomatoes
  • pork soup (74)
  • dried mackerel
  • corn fried in soy sauce and butter
  • spicy tofu with okra
  • japanese-style pasta with mushrooms, tuna, and turnip leaves (93)
  • minestrone
  • turnip salad with wasabi dressing
  • banana pound cake (114)
  • tonkatsu (128)
  • stewed dried daikon
  • spaghetti salad
  • miso soup with spinach and fried tofu
  • pork and chikuwa chop suey (149)
  • spicy daikon and ham and scallion salad
  • corn and egg soup


Volume 6

  • boiled pork and cabbage dumplings (18)
  • sesame-dressed bok choy
  • chilled tofu with baby sardines, natto, and kimchi
  • bamboo shoot rice (38)
  • babyneck clam miso soup
  • sashimi salad
  • green asparagus dressed in white sauce
  • baby sardine and burdock root seasoned rice balls (47)
  • rolled eggs as seen on public television
  • roasted and dunked green peppers
  • tomato-stewed hijiki and tuna
  • corned beef and onion toast (70)
  • worcestershire fried cabbage
  • banana yogurt
  • kenji au lait
  • curry udon (75)
  • miso-fried squid and konnyaku (89)
  • vermicelli, egg, and cucumber salad
  • mustard-dressed bok choy
  • clear soup with green onions and chicken
  • chinjao rosu (beef and green pepper stir-fry) (107)
  • tingly pickled cucumber
  • grilled eggplant
  • miso soup with kabocha and japanese ginger
  • sirloin steak with sauteed string beans and tender potatoes (129)
  • easy pickles
  • cabbage and bacon soup
  • miso-stewed mackerel (144)
  • white stewed taro
  • spinach and shimeji mushroom with grated daikon
  • chives and egg soup


Volume 7

  • peperoncino-style broccoli and littleneck clams (10)
  • milk tea granita (14)
  • fried chicken (35)
  • stir-fried turnip greens with baby sardines
  • lightly pickled turnips and carrots (41)
  • sukiyaki-style udon hot pot (lightly salted cod, chicken thighs, oysters, blue crabs, scallops, littleneck clams, napa cabbage, mizuna, shiitakes, scallions, parboiled udon) (53)
  • stir-fried carrots and konjac with sesame and miso
  • mapo-style cellophane noodles with cabbage and spinach (69)
  • new onions and wakame dressed in ponzu soy sauce
  • turnip and bacon soy milk soup
  • chili shrimp with eggs and asparagus (91)
  • namul-style carrots and bean sprouts
  • plum-wasabi cold tofu
  • potato and wakame miso soup
  • kimchi stew, gilbert style (with littleneck clams and tofu) (107)
  • salt-grilled horse mackerel with ponzu (129)
  • pork stewed with eggplant and string beans
  • okra natto
  • cabbage, onion, and fried miso tofu soup
  • omelette over chicken rice with demi-glace (149)


Volume 8

  • fried oysters (16)
  • plum-dressed boiled spinach
  • thunder konjac
  • miso soup with tofu and nameko mushrooms
  • oden stew (34)
  • boiled chrysanthemum
  • brownies (79)
  • pan-fried chicken with salted rice malt and leeks (97)
  • boiled broccoli
  • kinpira burdock
  • daikon miso soup
  • nagasaki-style plate udon noodles (115)
  • tuna and avocado with wasabi, soy sauce, and rice malt
  • cabbage dressed with plum and baby sardines
  • egg drop soup with mitsuba and baby sardines (133)
  • firefly squid, welsh onion, and wakame salad
  • boiled field mustard dressed with wasabi
  • sawani-style vegetable soup
  • mapo-style bean sprouts (150)
  • carrot salad
  • boiled snap peas with yuzu pepper dressing
  • miso soup with new potatoes, cabbage, and onions


Volume 9

  • salmon ,euniere with japanese-style ginger sauce (14)
  • ratatouille
  • simple green salad
  • okra and tofu clear soup
  • faux roast beef (38)
  • acqua pazza
  • gorgeous green salad
  • chicken wings in garlic, vinegar, and soy sauce (56)
  • mizuna and onion salad
  • potato gratin
  • napa cabbage and bacon soup
  • squid with daikon (70)
  • kabocha salad
  • cabbage sauteed in butter and soy sauce with dried bonito
  • komatsuna and thin fried tofu miso soup
  • shiruko (91)
  • black beans (93)
  • carbonara with broccoli (108)
  • yellowtail teriyaki (127)
  • broccoli and shrimp in thick sauce
  • julienned daikon with natto dressing
  • enoki mushroom miso soup
  • ume bonito onigiri (145)
  • meatballs
  • spanish omelet
  • komatsuna and seaweed salad
  • shredded potato, cheese, and ham pancake (151)


Volume 10

  • beef/pork/potato croquette sandwiches (15)
  • okra with spicy miso
  • tomato soup
  • thai curry (32)
  • beef and zucchini stir-fry
  • shrimp and glass noodle salad
  • homemade yakiniku (beef, bean sprouts, cabbage, green peppers, carrots, onion, eggplants, potatoes, kabocha, grated daikon, ponzu soy sauce) (53)
  • ricotta pancakes (74)
  • sole with sweet and sour sauce (94)
  • bok choy ohitashi
  • sardines over grated daikon
  • kabocha and bacon miso soup
  • miso marinated grilled pork (112)
  • napa cabbage and scallop cream soup
  • savory komatsuna with tofu sesame dressing
  • yam with plum dressing
  • pork belly, cabbage, chives, and glass noodles hot-pot stew (131)
  • tuna with grated yam (150)
  • miso-stewed turnip and chicken
  • bean sprout namul
  • nori soup


Volume 11

  • steamed cod with ponzu (16)
  • steamed egg custard
  • chrysanthemum greens and carrot salad with sesame miso dressing
  • taro and leek miso soup
  • sardine and sesame seed inari sushi (35)
  • carrot and scallion pork rolls
  • salmon nanbanzuke
  • savory rolled omelet
  • asparagus with bonito flakes
  • wasabi chicken (54)
  • fried eggplant and shishito peppers
  • carrot and tuna salad
  • potato and wakame miso soup
  • stir-fried liver and chives (75)
  • steamed eggplant with baby sardine marinade
  • salted cucumber and cabbage
  • egg drop soup
  • stewed flounder (93)
  • fried okra with bonito flakes
  • potato salad
  • tofu, wakame, and leek miso soup
  • kansai-style okonomiyaki with pork (110)
  • clam chowder (128)
  • avocado, shrimp, and broccoli salad
  • corn and butter rice
  • chiffon cake (151)


Volume 12

  • sukiyaki (14)
  • apple muffins (36)
  • squid, natto, and avocado rice bowl (53)
  • gochujang-dressed broccoli
  • miso soup with lettuce
  • stir-fried chicken and turnips (68)
  • tofu-dressed hijiki
  • mitsuba ohitashi boiled greens
  • potato and snow pea miso soup
  • sardine, cabbage, and cod roe pasta (92)
  • yanagawa-style eggplant and pork belly (cooked with burdock root, eggs, and dashi)
  • broiled salted mackerel (110)
  • kabocha and chicken stew
  • coleslaw
  • okra and myoga ginger miso soup
  • zucchini omelet (119)
  • stir-fried pork, tomatoes, and eggs (132)
  • edamame
  • spicy cucumber pickles
  • garlic chives miso soup
  • smelt (152)
  • sweet potato rice
  • chinese-style fried tofu and mushroom stew
  • fried eggplant with grated daikon and ponzu
  • komatsuna and tofu miso soup


Volume 13

  • tantan udon (16)
  • nameko-dressed tofu
  • spring rolls (33)
  • potato salad with egg and bacon
  • chinese komaysuna soup
  • okayu rice porridge with daikon, egg, and miso (49)
  • simmered broccoli with crab
  • sweet potato and apple simmered in lemon juice (52)
  • upgraded boiled chicken (bone-in chicken thighs/wings/meatballs, atsuage tofu, green cabbage, leeks, shiitakes, pea sprouts) (65)
  • carrot shirishiri
  • chicken meatballs (73)
  • edomae-style barachirashi sushi (88)
  • chicken and avocado tempura
  • sesame-dressed rapini
  • clear clam soup
  • tasty boiled shrimp (93)
  • singaporean chicken rice (105)
  • stir-fried bok choy
  • vegetable and consomme egg drop soup
  • stewed horse mackerel (127)
  • octopus and scallion butter-ponzu stir-fry
  • dressed asparagus
  • potato, onion, and bacon miso soup
  • boiled pork and okra (with spicy scallion sesame sauce) (149)
  • stewed kabocha and eggplant
  • egg, tomato, and tofu chinese-style soup


Volume 14

  • white rice porridge (15)
  • soft-boiled eggs
  • atsuage ketchup stir-fry
  • umeboshi-dressed garlic chives
  • dried sardines
  • shiitake with kelp
  • mackerel tatsua’age (33)
  • green pepper and tuna miso stir-fry
  • stewed cabbage with ginger
  • tomato natto
  • mushroom soup
  • mapo tofu with garlic chives and tomato (52)
  • lightly-pickled zucchini
  • wakame and onion soup
  • financiers baked in pound cake pans (73)
  • kakuni cubed pork belly (86)
  • chinese okowa rice (93)
  • pork cutlet over rice (104)
  • butter cod teriyaki with chinese yam and shimeji (125)
  • chrysanthemum greens salad
  • turnip and aburaage miso soup
  • japanese-style pasta with green bell pepper and sardines (144)
  • chicken and avocado salad
  • bok choy and egg soup

01 Jan 2021
The best books I read in 2020


Books I loved reading in 2020 which had a strong sense of place

  • Meddling and Murder: an Aunty Lee Mystery by Ovidia Yu - Murder mystery solved by a Singaporean aunty who runs a restaurant. Very foodie, very cute. Latest book in a series I love.
  • Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap - Thai short stories. Reading these made me feel ridiculous about my tourism. Excellent.
  • The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin - A love song to the real NYC where I live. She gets it. (The plot is almost beside the point with this one, for me.)
  • If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha - Young women in Seoul, beauty standards and plastic surgery, what we do to survive.


Romance novels I loved reading in 2020

  • The Bride Test by Helen Hoang - Autistic love interest. Protagonist was chosen by the mom to be the bride (mom went back to Vietnam to find a candidate), agrees because she wants citizenship, and is brought to the US as a housekeeper to try to win him over. It’s all loving and respectful and sweet.
  • The Truitts: Appetites & Vices by Felicia Grossman - Historical romance (1800s Philly) with a Jewish protagonist who came across to me as probably on the spectrum. Not accepted because of her religion, but also she’s always just too loud and direct and confident and blunt. I love her.
  • Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston - Adorable romance between the UK prince and the son of the US president. Light and warm and fuzzy and just solidly comforting.
  • The Worth Saga: Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan - Queer old women, one rich one poor, falling in love. I live for stories of old ladies having fun!


Scifi/Fantasy I loved reading in 2020

  • Strange the Dreamer (series) by Laini Taylor - Dark, creepy, awful, sickening. (First book was a reread, but I finally read the sequal this year.)
  • Species Imperative (series) by Julie E. Czerneda - This was a reread, I love it so much. Evolutionary biology scifi! Written by a scientist, and it shows!
  • The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle - Reread, of course. Lives up to the memories.
  • Docile by K.M. Szpara - Feels like this should’ve been sexy but in fact it was creepy and depressing. I wouldn’t actually say I loved it, or even liked it, but it certainly stayed with me.
  • The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke - What this one really gets right is the feeling of being a teenage girl - all sharp and gross and ridiculous and dangerous and desperate and confused and powerful. Really excited for the rest of the series to come out!


Books I loved reading in 2020 that related to parenting

  • How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King
  • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
  • Go To Sleep / I Miss You: cartoons from the fog of new parenthood by Lucy Knisley


Other non-fiction I loved reading in 2020

  • The Sting of the Wild by Justin O. Schmidt - By the Schmidt Sting Pain Index guy! Fun anecdotes (though at least one rather horrifying one, too)
  • An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management by Will Larson
  • Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet
  • Making Comics by Lynda Barry


Other fiction I loved reading in 2020

  • Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz - Sherlock and Watson as two middle school girls solving kid problems. Exactly the wholesome content I needed this year.
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly


Total number of books read in 2020: 159

26 Nov 2020
The best books I read in 2019

Whoops, better get my 2019 list out before 2020 ends…


Books I loved reading in 2019 that related to Judaism

  • The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman - A murder mystery that takes place in a mikvah!
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Promise by Chaim Potok


Serieseseseses I loved reading in 2019

  • The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch - Fun, light, junk-food fantasy novels about a black (dark skinned, not ethically challenged) magician cop in London.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold - Lots of good training montage stuff, disability awareness, uterine replicators, and frankly learning about leadership.
  • The Expanse by James A. Corey - Caught up on the latest two books this year. This series stays really strong for me because the characters are so well-developed. The TV series is great to pair it with, because I think the actors really match my mental images of the characters incredibly well.


Books I loved reading in 2019 that had major family dynamic themes

  • The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka - Big family story during Japanese occupation of Malaysia. Strong matriarch. Loved it.
  • The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf - Protagonist is a teenager with OCD separated from her mother during the 1969 Kuala Lumpur race riots.
  • Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin - Actually this look at Korean family life and parenting and aging really struck me.


Books I loved reading in 2019 that related to parenting

  • Precious Little Sleep: The Complete Baby Sleep Guide for Modern Parents by Alexis Dubief - This basically saved our lives.
  • Dear Parent: Caring For Infants With Respect by Magda Gerber
  • Small Talk: How to Develop Your Child’s Language Skills from Birth to Age Four by Nicola Lathey and Tracey Blake - I’ve gone back to this again and again. Not sure it really matters, but it kinda soothes me to have ideas on what to try.
  • The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson - Some interesting stuff on emotional development and how to understand what’s going on with tantrums and such.
  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman - The main idea is to emphasize that all feelings are accepted, but all behaviors are not, and how to handle the feelings.


Other non-fiction I loved reading in 2019

  • For God, Country & Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It by Mark Pendergrast
  • Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration by Bryan Caplan and Zach Weinersmith - Graphic novel. I thought I’d find it boring since it’s preaching to the choir with me, but it was a nice overview and well worth the read regardless of where you’re starting from.


Other fiction I loved reading in 2019

  • The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz - Punk rock time-traveling feminist scifi!
  • The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson - Really good YA, politics and sacrifice.
  • Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell - Murder mystery, really fun characters, reminded me a bit of Wodehouse.
  • The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson - Delightfully creepy. This might be this year’s #entrailsfromchandeliers winner.
  • Hoodtown by Christa Faust - Bwahaha, murder mystery where everyone in the japanese/mexican ghetto wears luchadore heads 100% of the time.
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers - I liked this a lot more than the first book in the series. It had stronger characters and a more interesting story arc. Quite good.
  • Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee - A Chinese girl and a runaway enslaved girl traveling together on the Oregon trail, helping each other.
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig - Reread. Aged really well.
  • Worm by John C. McCrae - Lots of really good stuff, sort of like The Martian but better, though I got tired of it by the end. Again, I’m very into the training montage stuff.


Total number of books read in 2019: 118

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.


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.
  • Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Carolina Fraser


Total number of books read in 2018: 185

24 Feb 2018
The best books I read in 2017


This is the latest I’ve ever put out my best-books-of-the-year post! Sorry for the delay, folks. But I think the books I’m recommending here are worth the wait.


Books I loved reading in 2017 that portrayed a very real NYC

  • New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson - This is exactly what I needed - really captures the spirit of my hometown, kinda financy, dealing with climate change head on, but offering a view of a possible future where my beloved city survives despite dramatic flooding and the rise of the midtown intertidal zone.
  • A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky - A gorgeous urban fantasy novel that takes place in a very real NYC. Highly recommend to all New Yorkers who love this filthy mess we live in.
  • The City Born Great by N.K. Jemisin - Lovely novella about cities as entities in themselves.
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older - My favorite book of his so far! Very accurate NYC, poc protagonists, white villains, magic with history, healthy queer relationship, lots of great stuff going on in here.
  • Giving Good Weight by John McPhee - Some great essays! I loved the NYC greenmarkets one best, of course.


Books I loved reading in 2017 that focused on grandparents

  • My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman - Broke my heart into a zillion little pieces, and it was worth it.
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - The protagonist is sort of like an older, grumpier Dave. (Dave saw himself in the character when he read it too, without any priming! Also I like his description of this one as grandfather fanfic and the other one as grandmother fanfic.) Just beautiful.
  • The Property by Rutu Modan - A graphic novel about a Holocaust survivor who returns to Poland to retrieve her old real estate. Hit home for me, of course. (My survivor grandmother had very strong feelings about the house in Hungary that was stolen from her.)


Books I loved reading in 2017 that focused on siblings or sibling-like friends

  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See - Incredible novel about two girls in 19th century China, in a small Hunan village, who grow up close like sisters. Visceral descriptions of foot-binding, isolation, failures of communication, and speaking past each other. The sort of novel that made me think hard about relationship troubles I’ve had in my own life and the difficulty of really seeing where people are coming from and meeting them where they are.
  • Shanghai Girls by Lisa See - Two sisters in Shanghai in the 1930’s. Sort of flapper-feeling. Their father tells them they’re poor and he has to sell them as brides. They get out of it, then escape towards their husbands when the Japanese bomb Shanghai. Fascinating look at what immigration to California was like, and the relationship between the sisters is difficult and intense and feels very real.
  • The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante - These books are so overhyped, I expected to not be into them, but the depictions of personal growth and complicated friendships across different means and perspectives really are great. I don’t remember which book in particular, but there was some excellent stuff about adolescent difficulties with friends you maybe felt threatened by or maybe better than or maybe both.
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson - Gorgeous, gorgeous novel about twins and the love and resentment between them, queerness and love and complicated romantic relationships, art and relationships with oneself and with one’s art.


Books I loved reading in 2017 that related to gender, race, and class

  • The Power by Naomi Alderman - I needed this like water. The ending is a bit weak, but the descriptions of various women’s dawning realization that they’re now the more physically dangerous ones, yes yes yes.
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee - Fantastic novel about a family of Korean immigrants living in Japan. Totally different set of racial tensions than I’m used to.
  • And I Darken by Kiersten White - YA. I loved having a protagonist who was unapologetically aware that she was ugly but unbothered by it, who was cruel sometimes but not purely evil or purely good, who got mired in politics over her head.
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik - At a glance it looks like a standard fantasy novel, dragon comes and steals a girl, but it’s largely about a girl growing into an adult woman and how she approaches magic and her world, how it can be great without being the same as what the more experienced men tell her it should be.
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - Novel about two half-sisters born in Ghana, one sold into slavery, one married off to a slaver. Follows the impact down through the generations of their descendants. A very familiar sense to me, of what it means when family history is lost. I’d never even really considered the other side of that before, what it could be like if it had been retained.
  • Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue - Story of a Cameroonian couple in NYC, trying to make ends meet and deal with the legal immigration system, their life entangled with the husband’s employer’s finance career right before and during the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly - It’s almost boring to recommend this, after the movie was such a hit with everyone I know. Book really was great too, though.


Other books I loved reading in 2017 that touched strongly on themes of abuse

  • The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin - The last book of her mindblowingly spectacular The Broken Earth trilogy. All the trigger warnings, all the feels, and the strongest of recommendations. To me, these books are about family and generational trauma and systemic trauma, how we hurt each other and how we survive each other. Oh, and they’re great fantasy novels with an interesting world. This book is the rare example of a trilogy that ends as strongly as it began.
  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson - Gutwrenchingly good fantasy novel. Themes of colonialism and complicity.
  • The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins - Really vivid horrifying stuff, in a fantasy novel that reads like literature and was anything but light. Abuse, family, power, and plotting for change.
  • The Dagger and the Coin series by Daniel Abraham - A fantasy novel series where one of the protagonists is a young female banker! Turns out of my favorite genres is something I could frame as economic/financial speculative fiction. The series also gets into some horrifyingly realistic themes of dealing with a “nice guy” who thinks he deserves you but is also a monster. I loved all 5 books in this series, but as seems to be my pattern with Daniel Abraham, I think the second was my favorite.
  • A Leaf in the Bitter Wind by Ting-Xing Ye - Vivid, painful memoir of the cultural revolution.


Other intense fiction I loved reading in 2017

  • Unsong by Scott Alexander - I was pretty much the target audience for this, a rationalist novel about morality and halacha. But it has some really troubling problematic aspects, too - eg all of Mexico is made of drugs. I have a lot of complicated feelings about this, but it’s definitely worth the read.
  • An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King - I picked this up by sheer luck at the bookstore, and it was great! Explores a China where as a repercussion of selecting for males, they have too many, so they end up with policies permitting women to have multiple husbands and strict laws against homosexuality. I love explorations of alternative family configurations!
  • On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis - Immediately post-apocalyptic story of survival with an autistic woc hero and her complicated relationships.
  • The Last One by Alexandra Oliva - A plague hits and wipes out most of the population while a survivalist reality show is being filmed. The contestants don’t all realize it’s not all part of the game.
  • Six Months, Three Days, Five Others by Charlie Jane Anders - The title story is one of my favorite short stories of all time. You can also read it online here.


Other light fiction I loved reading in 2017

  • Flora Mackintosh and the Hungarian Affair by Anna Reader - A sophisticated schoolgirl’s adventure. Sort of a classic romp, but now with Hungarians so of course it’s great.
  • Oglaf compilations by Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne - These were a reread of compilations of one of my favorite filthy webcomics (NSFW).
  • git commit murder by Michael Warren Lucas - Super cute nerd mystery. Reminded me of Bimbos of the Death Sun (an old murder mystery set in a scifi convention).


Other non-fiction I loved reading in 2017


Total number of books read in 2017: 158