This year I added a new tag to make it easier to find books that I really liked. This makes the year-end recap a cinch instead of having to wade through 300+ titles to handpick my favorites.
It’s been quite the year. Despite trying to slow down my reading, I gobbled down a record number this year: 336. My consumption of women writers dropped to 69% this year, down from last year’s 78%; men clocked in at 29% with the remainder a mix of both. Non-fiction (64%) edged out fiction (36%) for the second year in a row. These are some of my favorites that were absorbed in 2017:
The first five on the list are absolute must-reads. The last three are delicious treats.
- Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer
- The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
- Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson
- Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
- Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder
- Up and Down California in 1860-1864: The Journal of William H. Brewer
- The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford
- The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination by Sarah Schulman
Fiction is extremely hard to recommend since it is such a personal taste. Here are a few.
- Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh; also McGlue, which is not for everyone. Moshfegh’s talent is jaw-dropping.
- We Were Witches by Ariel Gore.
- The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett. You might know her as the author of “The Shoes” books for YA – “Ballet Shoes”, etc. She also wrote killer fiction for adults.
- Eve’s Hollywood by Eve Babitz. Fell hard for Babitz and liked this one especially.
- White Teeth by Zadie Smith.
- Transit by Rachel Cusk.
- I also read 24 titles by Patricia Highsmith. Favorites were A Suspension of Mercy and Those Who Walk Away.
- A Visit to Don Otavio: A Traveler’s Tale from Mexico by Sybille Bedford – excellent, witty, well-written.
- West with the Night by Beryl Markham – memoir about growing up in East Africa. “Entertaining, with equal parts adventure and understated philosophy.”
- The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston. Cannot believe I had not read this before.
- A London Girl of the 1880s by Molly Hughes – The whole series is worth reading. I think this is the 2nd of 4 books.
- The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed.
- I read seven by Charles Dickens this year, but favorites were Bleak House and Little Dorrit and The Pickwick Papers. Hilarious and just the right touch of absurdity to help you get through 2017.
- Finally gave Middlemarch another read. Worth it.
- Moby-Dick got another re-read, along with a bio of Melville and scads of background notes for M-D. Little sips of Moby were a tremendous lift to my spirit for weeks.
- I dove deep into Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf’s friendship this year. KM’s The Montana Stories were an interesting way of collecting her work based on when she wrote them.