Books I've read in 2019
Sun, 26 Jan 2020 01:25:44 +0000
In 2018 I read 37 books, which is a fair amount of books for me, a book person. I was very proud of it so I told my mum, who promptly replied, Yeah, I also haven’t read very much this year.
I am currently going through a dry patch and I haven’t been able to find something to read that really gets me, so I’ve decided to make a review of the books I read last year.
In 2019 I “only” read 30 books, and here is what I thought about them (in no particular order).
Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, Natalie Goldberg
This was actually the first book I read last year and one of the best books I’ve read in my entire life. I’m trying to read more non-fiction/books on writing and this one was such an eye-opening one. It introduced me to the concept of writing practice and helped me heaps with giving more structure to my writing. It also made me want to move to New Mexico and become a writer living in a mud house in the desert.
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, Natalie Goldberg
In spite of being Goldberg’s most known book, I enjoyed Wild Mind way more. This is kind of the same concept but more about writing tips than what it’s like to be a writer. Still very useful!
The Geek Feminist Revolution, Kameron Hurley
I liked the idea behind this book but found it a bit repetitive to be frank. It might just be because it’s about the role of women in fantasy and science fiction which is not a genre I’m particularly interested in.
Bear, Marian Engel
NOT WHAT I WAS EXPECTING. A librarian is spending a few months in a remote Canadian island and establishes an intense, peculiar relationship with a bear that’s kept on the property. Kinda weird. Kinda interesting. Don’t really know what else to say really. Maybe read it.
Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon, Dean Bakopoulous
I definitely judged this book by its cover and it didn’t let me down. Hard to put into words what it is about though. Boys growing up without fathers. Fathers mysteriously disappearing, apparently “going to the moon”. Boys becoming fathers themselves. One of those books where a lot happens yet it feels like nothing happened.
Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, Bonnie Jo Campbell
A collection of short stories depicting working-class women in rural America. I picked this up at a time where I was so preoccupied with various life events that I didn’t dedicate this book the attention it deserved, and I wish I could re-read it - too bad I left my copy in Canada for lack of space in my backpack (but I also wanted to gift it to my Air B&B host).
The Pisces, Melissa Broder
Just what you would expect from a Melissa Broder novel. A woman going through a breakup and trying to finish a dissertation she has been writing for thirteen years moves to a beach house and falls in love with a mysterious swimmer. Funny, bitter, a great page-turner. Will not disappoint you.
Excavation: A Memoir, Wendy C. Ortiz
Los Angeles in the 80s, an introverted teenage girl finding herself involved in a conflicted relationship with her high school teacher. A coming of age novel that will leave you with a bittersweet taste.
Trying to Float: Coming of Age in the Chelsea Hotel, Nicolaia Rips
Such a funny, easy-flowing read! I laughed out loud so much while reading this book. Imagine a seven-year-old girl growing up in the Chelsea Hotel art scene. She’s chubby, bad in school and likes to dress up as Groucho Marx.
The Reader, Bernhard Schlink
This book was a long time coming! But it’s hard to talk about without spoiling it, so I won’t except for: iiiiiiiincredible. Fucking sad. The movie is also great.
Sea of Strangers, Lang Leav
This book BLEW MY MIND. It’s the perfect combination of poetry, short stories, and one-sentence concepts that will kill you with kindness. It’s exactly how I want my own collection to look like. OMG please read it.
Good Bones, Margaret Atwood
I am ashamed of admitting I don’t remember what this book was about. I don’t even remember if I own it. If so, I’ll read it again. Sorry Margaret.
Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, Tristan Taormino
A very informative overview on polyamory and open relationships. Very straightforward and educational through a mix of relevant terminology and reports of people’s different experiences.
The Edible Woman, Margaret Atwood
A super interesting exploration of an ordinary life turning into something unexpected. Another one that’s hard to describe without spoiling it.
The Mental Load: A Feminist Comic, Emma
A sweet, poignant graphic novel about being a woman in today’s world. Will empower you but also make you sad.
Some Thoughts About Relationships, Colin Wright
Very interesting read on relationships in sensu lato, from romantic ones to friendships to everything in between. Would recommend!
The Vegetarian, Han Kang
Also not what I was expecting. A bit of a weird story to be honest. I feel like I haven’t read enough Korean/Asian literature to fully understand the context of novels like this (that’s probably why I struggle with Murakami so much). Will make you think.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown
I need more people to read this book because I want someone to discuss it with. I love the idea of doing less but better - as in, dedicating our limited time and energy to focus on what really matters and doing those things well, rather than stretching ourselves thin trying to please everyone because we can’t say no. However, the book also takes a very much work-oriented approach, which I don’t necessarily agree with. Read it and come back to me?
Be Your Own Backing Band, Liz Prince
You can’t go wrong with Liz Prince. In this graphic novel, she illustrates her relationship with music and the bands she liked growing up. Funny, of course. Educational, somehow.
Susie Orbach on Eating, Susie Orbach
All you need when you’re struggling with body image. This book will remind you that society’s beauty expectations are unrealistically and essentially bullshit. You’ll feel better about yourself.
First Bite: How We Learn to Eat, Bee Wilson
Another one of those. This book was super helpful to learn about how our body works in terms of sending hunger signals, what “being full” means, and how food is view in today’s society. I learner a lot from this one!
Motherhood, Shelia Heti
I was intrigued by the idea behind this book (what is lost when a woman becomes a mother), but wasn’t drawn in at all and in fact I can’t even remember any of it. I was probably not paying much attention, but I’m not going to try again.
Sheets, Brenna Thummler
An adorable, bittersweet graphic novel about a young girl trying to keep the family laundromat alive and a lonely ghost haunting it (but really just looking for a friend). Cute.
PostSectet: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives, Frank Warren
As someone once said, reading PostSecret is like being punched in the stomach by kittens. I am a huge PostSecret fan and I had been on the hunt for one of these books for YEARS, until I finally found one - second hand! That was a happy day.
Pretend I’m Dead, Jen Beagin
I have blurry memories of this book. A twenty-something-year-old woman is trying to get rid of her troubled past, mostly spent dealing with drug addicts and navigating a complicated, ambiguous relationship with one of them. She moves to Taos from Minnesota to look for healing, but to be honest I can’t remember if she ever finds it.
Finding Nevo, Nevo Zisin
A super cool, super interesting autobiography that touches on topics such as gender, sexuality, body image, culture, religion, and more. Yes yes yes.
Death in Ten Minutes: Kitty Marion: Activist, Arsonist, Suffragette, Fern Riddell
Such an interesting, intense read! I’m always down for some suffragette history and this book really reminded me that I will never not vote again.
Bone, Yrsa Daley-Ward
Another book that blew my mind. Incredible poems, beautifully depicted images, straight to the point. READ IT.
A Matter of Life, Jeffrey Brown
The story of three generations from the point of view of the middle man, who comes out as an atheist in a religious family and witnesses his minister father interact with a faith-free grandson. This book was very well-timed for me as I’ve been thinking about what role religion plays in shaping someone’s identity a lot recently. Relevant and interesting.
California Dreamin’, Pénélope Bagieu
A graphic novel following the life of Ellen Cohen and the events that led up to the formation of The Mamas & The Papas. I loved the illustrations!
Hope this was helpful, happy reading everyone!