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In 2018, in spite of being self-employed, doubling down on the blog, and having a new baby, I managed to read 15 books and I must say I was pretty damn proud of that.
Last year, in 2019, I only managed to read seven. Whomp, whomp. Although I know that seven books is better than no books, that tiny number neatly sums up the kind of year it was; one that was hectic, and largely void of self care.
I'm planning to turn that around in 2020, with reading more books (I've crushed three so far!) and other ways. And, ok, that baby was born in October so he definitely put a bigger damper on my 2019 book reading than he did the previous year.
At any rate, it's always fun taking a walk down memory lane and seeing what other people are reading. So even though this year's list is small, you still might find some inspiration in here.
What I read in 2019:
Late in 2018 my friend Alison surprised me with tickets to see Michelle Obama speak when she was in Stockholm in April of 2019, so I was determined to read Becoming before we saw her. My word, what an inspirational lady. I had no idea what she'd accomplished and that she met Barack as her intern?!
There's lots of poignant advice on making your way in the world as a woman and mother, wise words about marriage, and so much sage advice. I think this book is well worth a read.
Grab a copy of Becoming
2. The Story of the Lost Child
The Story of the Lost Child is the fourth and final book in the Neapolitan Series by Elena Ferrante. I read the previous three books in 2018, and although I did enjoy all of them, I honestly felt that I could have used with 1000 pages less in the series.
I was discussing this with my mother-in-law who is savouring each and every page in the series, and she thought it might be a generational thing. I think it might also be that I was completely exhausted with a fussy two-month-old and just didn't have that much energy for reading. I'm glad to have finished the series, but I'm also glad to have it behind me.
Grab a copy of The Story of the Lost Child
3. Sing, Unburied, Sing
This award winning book was simultaneously super heavy and an easy read. Sing, Unburied, Sing is the story of a mother and son who go on a road trip to pick up the father from jail, and things start to go awry. It definitely takes a path I didn't expect, and I can see why this book got so many accolades. Worth reading, in my opinion.
Grab a copy of Sing, Unburied, Sing
4. City of Girls
I am a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert's writing. I first came to know her through her non-fiction like Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic. But if you haven't ready any of her fiction, you are in for her treat. Her last novel, The Signature of All Things was a very serious book about a very serious person, and Gilbert said that after writing that, and after the loss of her partner, she wanted to write something really, really fun. City of Girls is just that.
It's a long read, but fast-paced and a real page-turner. It's fun and vibrant and makes you wish you were there, but not at all fluffy. It was the perfect read to follow up the previous book, and I'm so glad to have snapped it up on publication day. A must read, in my opinion.
Grab a copy of City of Girls
5. The Witches are Coming
I have been waiting for Lindy West's new book, The Witches Are Coming, since the second I saw her announce it on Instagram. Her previous book, Shrill, (now a series on Hulu starring Aidy Bryant) is one of my favourites, and when I read an excerpt from The Witches Are Coming, I knew it was going to be good.
My only complaint - and this is about society, not the book - is that the whole time I was reading it I kept thinking, I'm not the one who needs to be reading this book. I was nodding along with everything I read, cringing at the state of the world, and really wishing I could shove this into the hands of any and everyone who leans to the right politically. So good. A must read.
Grab a copy of The Witches Are Coming
6. I know What I'm Doing
My friend Alison insisted I read this book, and then it took me months to get through. Moooooooooonnnnnths. I Know What I'm Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself is a memoir by comedian Jen Kirkman that chronicles her life as a newly divorced 40 something woman. I was reading the book on my phone and picked it up now and then, but there always seemed to be something else that I wanted to read or do more.
When I did finally finish it, I found there was some stuff in the later chapters that really resonated with me, and perhaps had I read it during a less difficult year, in a different mindset, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
Grab a copy of I Know What I'm Doing
7. Dear Girls
The same friend insisted that I read Ali Wong's book, Dear Girls, and oh my god I'm glad I did. First of all, it was a fast enough read that I was able to squeeze in one more book in 2019 than I otherwise would have. And secondly, I laughed out loud, so hard, so many times reading this book.
There is so much truth in there, so much reality about being a parent to small children, and so much about growing up in the 90's that I related to. Ali Wong just announced that she's coming to Europe on her tour this summer, and my friend and I are making a trip to see her. Can. Not. Wait. And if you haven't read it, read this book.
Grab a copy of Dear Girls