I Read 83 Books in 2018. Here’s What You Need To Read.

December 6, 2018 in Books

Every year I read a lot. Every year I swear I’m going to write a quick article about all the books I read and loved, and every year I fail. In fact, the post about my favorite books of 2017 is still sitting in my drafts folder. This is the year I got it together and jotted down my recommendations.

If you like inspired fiction, memoirs that will literally CHANGE YOUR LIFE and really important, in-depth reporting, read on.


Her Body And Other Parties [Carmen Maria Machado]

If you’re a fan of twisty, creepy stories with undertones of feminism (who isn’t?!), this clever short story collection will rock your world. It’s complex and stunningly written, but doesn’t require a graduate degree to understand the themes. She takes on myths involving women and does something more important than a “modern” take— she subtly highlights the misogyny lurking underneath.

BONUS! This book just got picked up by FX and will be turned into a tv series soon. I’m really excited to see what they do with it!

Men Explain Things To Me [Rebecca Solnit]

Rebecca Solnit invented the word “mansplaining,” and her thoughts on how talking down to women isn’t an isolated phenomenon is very accessible. If you don’t have time for the entire book, the best chapter was published online as an essay that you can read here.

Less [Andrew Sean Greer]

Have you ever read a book that ends predictably, but you still delight in the ending because you feel so deeply for the characters? Less is the tale of a novelist toiling in obscurity who is in love with someone who is about to get married to another man. He decides that instead of going to his ex’s wedding, he’s going on an around-the-world, Walter Mitty-esque adventure.

And Now We Have Everything [Meaghan O’Connell]

Meaghan O’Connell writes so honestly and unflinchingly about becoming a mother that this book ought to be required reading for every woman who wants to have a child someday. She goes into gross detail (which frankly before having a kid, I wish I’d known more of) and honest feelings without being too sentimental.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City [Matthew Desmond]

If you want to know more about how people get trapped in a cycle of poverty, Evicted explains how the housing system sets people up to fail. The author follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep themselves and their families housed.

All You Can Ever Know [Nicole Chung]

This book about a Korean woman’s adoption by a white family in Oregon paints adoption with a complexity that I’ve rarely seen, as something that changed the course of her life but that she knew little about until she was an adult. You watch her battle with questioning what her life would have been like with her biological family, and the disconnect she felt being raised as a woman of color in a predominately white family.

Honorable mentions

Red Notice by Bill Browder

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party by Daniel James Brown

I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb


Featured photo by Radu Marcusu. This post contains affiliate links.

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  • Reply Erika December 6, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    So, what are the books you read that are in your lowest 10. And any you’d recommend no one read?

    • Reply kathie December 7, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Good question! I read a lot of bad thrillers this year… The Cabin at the End of the World and Girl Last Seen. I also disliked Pamela Druckman’s There Are No Grownups Here (she wrote Bringing Up Bebe, which was really good, and this one was just… not, I didn’t even finish it.) Didn’t care for Andy Weir’s Artemis (he wrote The Martian, which was great!)

      I also didn’t finish Cork Dork, Astroyphysics for People in a Hurry, and Salt to the Sea. Cork Dork was interesting but too long, never got into Astrophysics…. and Salt to the Sea didn’t pull me in either. So I guess I’d say those are the ones you should skip, but every book affects people differently so I hate to say that you shouldn’t give them a try!

  • Reply Meg December 7, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Yesss! As always, impressed and inspired by your reading 😀 I am also upset that I have only read 1 of your top 6 and 2 of your runners up!! Darn it! Less and Evicted are on my “must read ASAP” list, although that list is about 50 books long which changes the meaning of “ASAP.” But I will get to them!

    • Reply kathie December 13, 2018 at 9:11 am

      YAY! You are going to love Less, it’s such a clever, optimistic book!

  • Reply Cathrin Gordon January 16, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Hey Kathie,
    I love reading your blog and I too read a lot in 2018. I usually prefer nonfiction, so I really appreciate your feedback concerning the highlights of 2018!! Does ‘Now we have everything’ cover adoption as well?

    • Reply kathie January 24, 2019 at 8:09 am

      Hi! Ack, I just saw this, sorry for the late late response. “And Now We Have Everything” doesn’t touch on adoption, although I think the author might consider it briefly at the beginning of the book. “All You Can Ever Know” was probably the best book about adoption (and one of the best memoirs) I’ve ever read, though– I hope you can give that a try!

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