One of my deepest shames about 2017 was how much I read. Or more accurately, how much I didn’t read.
I LOVE books. I always have. I want to write one. I edit them for a living. I know reading more makes you a better writer. And there are just so many books on my to-read list.
So I set a goal for myself for 2018. I refuse to call it a resolution because those really aren’t my jam. But I decided I would aim to finish a book a month in 2018. TBH, I find that almost shameful as a literary person, to only read 12 books in a year. But what can I say? My reading time is right before bed and this bitch is tired more often than not and I tend to drift off after a few pages.
I am happy to tell you I met my goal this year. I am even happier to tell you that at some point in the spring I realized all the books I had read thus far were written by female writers and I decided I would keep the trend going for the rest of the year and read books by women writers only.
In no particular order, here are the books I read and enjoyed this year so you can read and enjoy too!
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
I started 2019 off with this book and have been on a minimalist kick ever since. I do NOT use her intense maintenance system of putting literally everything away into cabinets (like shampoo and dish soap), but I found her method of purging all the shit you do not need to be extremely effective. Without it, I am not sure I could have made enough space for Scott to move in, especially in the closet. If you’re looking to pare down in 2019, this is a quick and enjoyable, if neurotic, read.
Outlander: The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
I am gonna go ahead and tell myself that these thousand-pagers are the reason I *only* read 12 books in 2018. They are long but incredibly good reads. These three are Books 5, 6, and 7 in the Outlander series, and I’m looking forward to starting Book 8 soon. I was a little skeptical of these from the start, expecting cheesy romance, but while there IS romance, it’s not cheesy, and there’s also history, science, fantasy, drama, and most importantly, a badass feminist main character. These are so well-written, and then you can watch the STARZ show featuring a rull hot Scot.
The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown
As you may remember, I liked this book on two levels — Tina Brown is a fucking G and she’s great at dishing some real hot goss. Reading about her meteoric career trajectory and how hard she pushed for it was inspiring to me, and as a former journalism student in NYC, reading about the New York magazine scene in the 80s was beyond entertaining.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
My friend Karen gave me a copy of Tina Fey’s Bossypants (which I am pretty sure she stole from a cruise ship library) literal years ago. It’s been sitting on my shelf, and after Scott got me to binge all of “30 Rock” with him at the beginning of the year (which I hadn’t previously seen), I was sold on Tina Fey’s genius. This book of essays (my favorite kind of book) delivered. I think I had it in my mind that it would be about being a female boss (which as you’ll see, is my second favorite kind of book), but it was so much more than that. This is NOT a book that put me to sleep. Rather, I was up late laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.
Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu
Cue another boss lady book. I heard Tiffany Dufu a while back on one of my favorite podcasts, Call Your Girlfriend (creators of Shine Theory!). Going into it, I thought this book was more about learning how to delegate well at work. And it is — but it is equally about delegating at home, particularly after having had a child or two. I am not married and I do not have kids, but as a newly minted manager at work, the lessons in this book have been invaluable to me in figuring out how to do my best with only so many hours in the day and only so much energy in my brain.
Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley
Sloane Crosley is and probably will always be one of my favorite writers — if not my very favorite. So as soon as her newest book of essays became available in the spring, I downloaded it immediately. Sloane’s writing is the writing I aspire to create — sharp, witty, dry, and hilarious. Like Tina Fey, her essays both in this book and her other books have made me laugh to the point of tears. For me, she is so relatable, and with every book of essays, I feel like I am along for the ride as a slightly older sister tells me what kind of hilarious shit to expect next from life.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
When this came out and I saw the cover, title, and format, I thought I had found another Sloane! I heard Sam Irby on another fav, Keep It, and decided I’d read it next. I flew through this one, this time keeping Scott awake as I laughed my ass off in bed. Irby is not similar to Crosley in writing style, but they are equally funny, and even though Irby’s background is totally different from mine, I related so heartbreakingly hard to some of her stories. Her essays are the perfect mix of touching poignancy and really funny poop and fart jokes.
WomanCode by Alisa Vitti
If you’ve spent any amount of time on this blog or if you just happen to know me IRL, you know I am OBSESSED with this book. Managing my endometriosis has become a full-time job at times in my life, and this book gave me some new powerful tools other than dubious medications and neverending surgeries to manage my pain. But it isn’t just for women with endo. She addresses menstrual-related disorders, infertility, and low libido, but considering I don’t know a single woman who has a “normal” menstrual cycle without taking hormones (and what exactly IS normal anyway), I’ve become a serious evangelist for every woman I know to read this book and learn about hormonal balance.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
I love a good true crime podcast, so when everyone and their brother started talking about this book over the summer, I figured I’d give it a read. Holy shit. I finished the whole thing on a transatlantic flight because I COULD. NOT. PUT. IT. DOWN. And thank doge I read it in the neverending daylight of traveling westward because this book is scary as hell. Michelle McNamara was a phenomenal writer, and it’s devastating she didn’t live to see California’s most prolific serial killer captured before her death.
Radical Candor by Kim Scott
As previously mentioned, this year I took a new step in my career and am now a manager of my own baby team at work. Having largely had managers throughout my career who only showed me what I didn’t want to be as a boss and not what I DID want to be, I decided to do some extracurricular reading outside of work. When I crowdsourced my Facebook friends for a good management book to read in my spare time, I got lots of great suggestions from my fellow dorks, but Radical Candor came up multiple times. Kim Scott was a HBIC at places like Apple, Google, and other tech startups, and she developed really doable techniques to get the best out of her team without become a soul-crushing, micromanaging dictator. If you’re a new manager like me (or even a long-time manager), this is a great refresher on how to be both a boss and an actual human.
So what’s next? I’m currently reading Ask Me About My Uterus. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because prior to writing this book, author Abby Norman picked up my endo essays for her Medium publication of the same name. I love seeing other writers out there talking about periods!
What have you read in 2018? What’s on your list for 2019? Tell me in the comments or on Instagram! Happy reading!