Before I talk about what I read in 2018, I need to quickly recap the books I read in December. I was only able to get through three books last month, partly due to the holiday season and partly due to one book which took a considerable amount of time to read. But it was a good book, so that's okay.
I started off the month with Dirty John and Other True Stories of Outlaws and Outsiders, a collection of nonfiction short stories written by a journalist. I typically don't read short stories but Dirty John drew my attention. I'd seen the tv series (I think) based on the story advertised and I'd rather read than watch. Not all of these stories are true crime but the author is such a good storyteller, I enjoyed reading all of them. Goffard's ability to develop a character is amazing. Within a couple of pages, I really felt like I knew these people.
I'd been meaning to read this book for years and years and years now. If you read it when it was originally published in the '90s, you may want to check out the updated ending. In the early 1990s a young man from a well-to-do family left his life behind after graduating from college. Christopher McCandless gave away his possessions, broke off communication with his family and hitchhiked across the US, never staying long in one place. He made friends along the way and those people helped the author pull together the story of Christopher's time on the road. In 1992, he hitchhiked into Alaska, walked into the wilderness and was found dead four months later.
Into the Wild attempts to solve the mystery of what happened to Christopher and explain his actions. I couldn't help but feel sympathy for Christopher and the life he wanted to live, which most would consider to be unconventional.
I enjoyed reading The Mars Room so much that I decided to pick up another book by the same author. So while The Flamethrowers doesn't have a storyline as interesting as The Mars Room, it reaffirmed my thought that Kushner is a top notch author. I like detail when I read and she writes books with amazing detail. The focus of this novel is Reno, a young artist and the art scene in New York in the 1970s. Note that this is not a quick read. It's one of those book you become a part of as you read it.
I read a total of 57 books in 2018. In keeping track of what I read, I categorized the books by type. The results were interesting. Not surprising. It appears that I really enjoy thrillers/suspense, followed by the general "fiction" category. Below, I've listed all the books under the different categories.
I like to highlight my favorites of the year and, this time, I'm going to limit it to 5. With 57 books, it's easy to remember the favorites because those stick out from the other books. Despite enjoying all those thrillers, they are quick reads and, unfortunately, most of them are forgettable. Not all of them though.
So, my top five, in no particular order:
1. The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
Being a book lover, I like to scroll through the "best of" lists at year-end. I was happy to see The Mars Room listed on several. One even had it as the number one book of the year.
2. I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
3. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
4. A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
5. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
And because I read so many thrillers, I'll throw out honorable mention to The Wife Between Us and The Cabin at the End of the World.
Here's everything I read in 2018:
1. The Wife Between Us
2. The Woman in the Window
3. Two Girls Down
4. The Last Mrs. Parrish
5. Need to Know
6. Sometimes I Lie
7. Lie to Me
8. The Innocent Wife
9. The Other Mother
11. Then She Was Gone
12. How It Happened
13. If You Knew Her
15. The Daughter
16. The Outsider
17. Grist Mill Road
18. The Cabin at the End of the World
19. The Marriage Pact
21. Sing, Unburied, Sing
22. Everything I Never Told You
23. The Immortalists
24. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
25. Little Fires Everywhere
26. The Great Alone
27. An American Marriage
28. The Mars Room
29. Fahrenheit 451
30. Castle of Water
31. A Place for Us
32. All We Ever Wanted
33. The Vacationers
34. The Flamethrowers
35. Down City
37. 18 and Life on Skid Row
38. The Only Girl in the World
40. I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death
42. The Girl with Seven Names
43. The Sound of Gravel
44. Red Notice
45. Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets
46. American Fire
47. I'll Be Gone in the Dark
49. Fire and Fury
50. Five Days at Memorial
Apocalyptic/Future World (Yes, it gets its own category!)
52. One Second After
54. The Power
55. The Emissary
56. You Are A Badass
57. Into the Wild
For links to all my book reviews, click here.
What about 2019?
I typically don't set reading goals or participate in reading challenges and that will remain in effect as we roll into the new year. I'm going to read what I want to, when I want to.
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