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My 2018 Book List

December 31, 2018

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View the full list here.

This is my 18th year doing this book list. In 2018, I “benefitted” from a long commute and a lot of air travel. I also tried to shut off the screens before bed and read instead. I ended up reading the most books I ever have in a year—52.

This year, I tried to categorize so it wasn’t just a random list. There were a few groups that made sense. I read six books related to Twin Peaks. I also spent a fair amount of 2018 thinking about our current politics and wondering how the hell we got here, so there’s a handful of books that were in search of an answer—books about Nixon-era politics, a couple about Trump, one about the southern border, and a fascinating book—Colin Woodard’s American Nations—about the histories and tendencies of different regions of the country.

But in the end, the groupings didn’t make much sense. “Serial Killers and Other Criminals and Crimefighters.” “Poetry, Plays, Essays, etc.” “Books With Trees on the Cover.” So I settled on my regular, fairly random list in the order I read them.

Here’s how my list breaks down by the numbers:

52 books total
39 new authors (new to me)
29 nonfiction
12 novels
10 women authors
10 about serial killers (loosely)
6 biographies
4 books of essays
3 about mindfulness
2 about Trump
1 stageplay
1 collection of poetry
1 with armored bears

View the full list here.

Here’s the short version:

Favorite Fiction from 2018

Stoner by John Williams

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

The Overstory by Richard Powers

Favorite Nonfiction from 2018

American Nations by Colin Woodard

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel

Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith

Educated by Tara Westover

Spy of the First Person by Sam Shepard

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

In Praise of Shadows by Jun´ichiro Tanizaki

Thanks to Greg, who got me started doing this 18 years ago. Thanks to my mom, who still reads my reviews and spots my mistakes. Thanks to everyone who has shared recos over the years. This list is made up partly of those lists.

What did you read in 2018? What did you love?

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