Bookkeeping: The Reading Year in Review (Without Reviews)
Contributing to Shelf Awareness taught me how to craft a concise, structured book review. I’ve never really mastered the “bite-size” capsule book discussion, though–not on LibraryThing or Goodreads, not on Instagram or Litsy, and definitely not here. My book posts here tend to skew high on the word-count side.
I’d like to think I write long reviews because I read books that give me lots to think and talk about Sometimes that’s actually true. And sometimes I scrounge for things to say just to have made the time spent writing feel worth it.
I started this blog to have a record of my reading, with the intent of discussing every book I read. The intention is still there, but the fulfillment of it has been extremely lacking for at least 18 months. That hasn’t meant the end of the world, but it has meant that there’s no record of most of what I’ve read in the last year and a half.
2017 has disappeared, but I don’t really want 2018 to follow it. Here’s a list of the books I’ve read so far this year. If time and energy allow, I will come back to some of them in other posts and say more about them, but I don’t plan to “review” any of them at this point. The lists are in roughly chronological order, although they don’t account for movement between fiction and nonfiction.
Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng (purchased audiobook, narrated by Jennifer Lim) [I will probably buy a paperback keeper copy of this one; I liked it more than Everything I Never Told You.]
Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty (paperback) [I read this one because I didn’t plan to watch the miniseries. After I read it, I couldn’t wait to watch the miniseries.]
Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, and Rich People Problems, all by Kevin Kwan (paperback and hardcover) [Recommended binge-reading!]
The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin (ebook from the library)
This Could Hurt, by Jillian Medoff (ebook from the library)
In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox, by Carol Burnett: memoir (purchased audiobook, read by the author) [I actually did post a capsule review of this one!]
The Monster of Florence, by Mario Spezi and Douglas Preston: true crime (purchased audiobook, narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris)
The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, by Frances FitzGerald: history, religion, politics (audiobook from the library, read by Jacques Roy) [A 2017 National Book Award finalist, this is probably the most important book I’ve read so far this year. It’s instructive, aggravating, and very enlightening about America’s present political and cultural climate. It’s on the heavy side, but not dry reading, and I highly recommend it.]
The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath, by Leslie Jamison: memoir, social history (audiobook from the library, read by the author) [Jamison weaves the experiences of other writers who struggled with addiction into her own story. I thought it was well-built and well-written, and I was impressed by her narration of the audiobook.]
Educated, by Tara Westover; memoir (audiobook from the library, read by Julia Whelan) [This deserves more than a capsule and I intend to give it that. Meanwhile, you should read it!]
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, by Michelle McNamara: true crime (audiobook from the library, read by Gabra Zackman with Gillian Flynn and Patton Oswalt) [The story around this book is almost as interesting as the book itself.]
The Book of Separation, by Tova Mirvis: memoir (ebook, from the library) [I’ve read a few of this author’s novels, but this memoir came to my attention via Beth Kephart.]
I have noticed some themes and trends here, but I’ll save that discussion for another time. Meanwhile, a couple of questions for you:
Have you read any of the books I mentioned here? Which one(s), and what did you think?
What book are you recommending most frequently these days?
I’m re-approaching my reading habits… …because we all know what it means when you keep doing the same thing expecting different results. Many of us have been through a reading slump or two (or 25), but the last year or so has felt different. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find books that interested me. It was more a matter of time and energy–that is, not having either–that made it hard to invest in any books I […]
I don’t usually do the “bite-sized book reviews” thing here. But after four months away, it’s probably the most efficient way to catch up! I’m updating my 2017 Book Review Index and reading record with these collected mini-reviews. Granted, I didn’t do a TON of reading while I was gone. However, I did read too many books to write individual posts about each one. I don’t have the time–or quite frankly, the memory of some of […]
I received this book for review consideration from the publisher, via Shelf Awareness for Readers. All opinions are my own.The Devil and Webster Written by Jean Hanff Korelitz Published by Grand Central Publishing on March 21st 2017 ISBN: 9781455592388 Genres: Fiction, Literary, Contemporary Women, Family Life Format: ARC Pages: 368 Source: publisher, via Shelf Awareness for Readers From the New York Times bestselling author of You Should Have Known and Admission, a twisty new novel […]
I received this book for review consideration from the publisher, via Shelf Awareness for Readers. All opinions are my own.Setting Free the Kites Written by Alex George Published by Penguin on February 21st 2017 ISBN: 9780399162107 Genres: Fiction, Literary Format: ARC Pages: 336 Source: publisher, via Shelf Awareness for Readers From the author of the “lyrical and compelling” (USA Today) novel A Good American comes a powerful story of two friends and the unintended consequences […]
Born a Crime Written by Trevor Noah Audiobook read by Trevor Noah Published by Random House Publishing Group on November 15th 2016 ISBN: 9780399588174 Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Essays, Performing Arts Format: audiobook Pages: 304 Source: purchased Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at […]
The Mothers Written by Brit Bennett Audiobook read by Adenrele Ojo Published by Penguin on October 11th 2016 ISBN: 9780399184536 Genres: Fiction, Literary Format: audiobook Pages: 288 Source: purchased Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret. “All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to […]
The Princess Diarist Written by Carrie Fisher Audiobook read by carrie fisher, billie lourd Published by Blue Rider Press on October 18th 2016 ISBN: 0399173595 Genres: Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs, Popular Culture Format: audiobook Pages: 257 Source: purchased The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie. When Carrie Fisher recently discovered […]
I received this book for review consideration from the publisher, via Shelf Awareness for Readers. All opinions are my own.This Is Not Over Written by Holly Brown Published by William Morrow, HarperCollins on January 17th 2017 ISBN: 9780062456830 Genres: Fiction, Suspense Format: ARC Pages: 400 Source: publisher, via Shelf Awareness for Readers When 30-year-old Dawn reads Miranda’s email, she sees red. People have always told Dawn she’s beautiful, and she just hopes they don’t see […]
This Is the Story of You Written by Beth Kephart Published by Chronicle Books on April 12th 2016 ISBN: 9781452142845 Genres: Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, General Format: ebook Pages: 264 Source: purchased On Haven, a six-mile long, half-mile-wide stretch of barrier island, Mira Banul and her Year-Rounder friends have proudly risen to every challenge. But then a superstorm defies all predictions and devastates the island, upending all logic and stranding Mira’s mother and brother on […]
We Are Unprepared Written by Meg Little Reilly Published by Mira Books on August 30th 2016 ISBN: 9780778319436 Genres: Fiction, Literary Format: ARC Pages: 368 Source: publisher Meg Little Reilly places a young couple in harm’s way—both literally and emotionally—as they face a cataclysmic storm that threatens to decimate their Vermont town, and the Eastern Seaboard in her penetrating debut novel, WE ARE UNPREPARED. Ash and Pia move from hipster Brooklyn to rustic Vermont in […]
When She Woke Written by Hillary Jordan Published by Algonquin Books on 2012 ISBN: 9781616201937 Genres: Fiction, General, Dystopian Format: ebook Pages: 354 Source: purchased Bellwether Prize winner Hillary Jordan’s provocative new novel, When She Woke, tells the story of a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromedÑtheir skin color […]
Burn Baby Burn Written by Meg Medina Published by Candlewick Press on March 8th 2016 ISBN: 9780763679989 Genres: Fiction, Young Adult, General Format: ebook Pages: 320 Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous New York summer of 1977, when the city is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam who shoots young women on the streets. Nora’s family life isn’t going so well either: her bullying brother, Hector, […]
Born to Run Written by Bruce Springsteen Audiobook read by Bruce Springsteen Published by Simon and Schuster on September 27th 2016 ISBN: 9781501141539 Genres: Nonfiction, Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs, Music Format: audiobook Pages: 528 Source: purchased “Writing about yourself is a funny business…But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.” —Bruce Springsteen, from the pages of […]
A Spreadsheet Story So, I said this: Actually, tracking my reading has become a little more complicated since adding library books into the mix. Because I use LibraryThing only for “owned” books and ARCs, the count there does not include books borrowed from the public library and reviewed on the blog. This book-blogging accountant may finally have to take the plunge into spreadsheets (shudder). And in reply, Michelle said this: How do you not use […]