Reading List 2018

Yesterday I mentioned that one thing I really latched onto in 2018 was audio books. I should also mention that I started this because I got into a couple of podcasts and thought, “Hey, why not books too?” I am lucky enough to have a great public library that offers a huge selection of audio books and I’ve been able to read so much more than I have in years past! From here on out, if I say I “read” a book-you can safely assume that translates to “listened to.”

Audio books aren’t for everyone, but for me, it’s relaxing and just feels nice. It reminds me of being read a story which elicits great memories of my Grandpa who was the best story teller I have even known.

Unfortunately for my list-making mind, I had to change libraries in June and lost my book list in the switch. I even called my former library to see  if they had a way to view what I had checked out but  to no avail. I have since then started to use the Goodreads app as well as turned on my ‘track history’ in my current audio book app (Libby.) So this list isn’t complete but I tried to add the ones I could remember!

  1. Class Mom, Laurie Gelman (fiction)-This book was hilarious! Gelman’s follow up book to Class Mom should be coming out this year and I am pumped.  God bless the class moms-that stuff is no joke. A
  2. Turtles All the Way Down, John Green (young adult, fiction)-Eh. I wanted to like this more than I did. I really enjoy Green’s writing usually (and yes, I still like young adult. So.) I had a hard time connecting with the characters and the story felt a little disjointed at points. Not my favorite from him. Or maybe I’m just too old now. C
  3. Uncommon Type, Tom Hanks (short story, fiction)- omgomgomgomg. One of my favorite books of the year, easy. Also, Tom Hanks read me stories AND mentioned the town I live in-twice. (Tom Hanks’ brother teaches at the university in my town [I don’t think it’s the brother that does his voice work?] and sometimes HE VISITS HERE and my brother-in-law once served him frozen custard and I’M NOT WORTHY). Each story relates, somehow, back to a typewriter, which is such a neat idea. Hanks collects typewriters and there’s actually an app that you can download that allows you to ‘type’ on your device using typewriters that he likes. I love Tom Hanks. He can do no wrong (except that one movie he did that I did not like).  A+
  4. If You Were Here, Jen Lancaster (fiction)-  Solid story and I enjoy Lancaster’s work but I rolled my eyes a lot.  The main character was very superficial and I always struggle to really feel for someone who has it all complaining about the choices they decide to make. B-
  5. Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Holis (self-help?)-…speaking of eye rolls, I really struggle with people who have no idea about the privileges they have telling me to just suck it up, buttercup. Look, I know a lot of people who have had life-changing experiences with this book and I swear I just felt people close this browser when they started this sentence but NOPE. I’m glad it works for some, but I just yelled at the speaker a lot. I did finish it though. Girl, check yo’ privilege.  D
  6. Someday, Someday Maybe, Lauren Graham (fiction)-I liked it, solid story. B
  7. Talking as Fast as I can, Lauren Graham (autobiography)- Liked it, and she really did talk fast. I think I was hoping for a little more but it was still a good, light read. B
  8. Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger (fiction)- So one night while Derek was away at a work conference all I wanted to watch for some reason was Devil Wears Prada and I was m-a-d that it wasn’t on one of the millions of streaming networks we subscribe to and I actually had to get the DVD out. Anyway, that’s what inspired me to read the book. Interesting character development, I liked it. A
  9. When Life Gives You Lululemons, Lauren Weisberger (fiction)- I read all of Weisberger’s books this  year and was impressed. Lululemons takes place in the aftermath of Devil Wears Prada and I’d love if this one was made into a movie. A
  10. The Singles Game, Lauren Weisberger (fiction)- This one is out of the Prada universe and kind of gave me some flashback stuff initially because it’s about an athlete that gets hurt playing tennis and while I am really NOT an athlete I was playing tennis when I tore my meniscus which later reviled that I had no ACL (and hadn’t had one for like 5 years) but once I got over that I was good. If you haven’t figured out by now, I read a lot of ‘lighter’ stuff and this one was solid as well. I like Weisberger and look forward to more by her. A
  11. Leah on the Offbeat, Becky Albertalli (young adult, fiction)-So you know how you’re most definitely taught not to judge a book by its’ cover? Well I liked the color of the cover of this book and didn’t have anything available in my queue and that’s why I checked it out. I was originally looking for  another one of Albertalli’s books, Love, Simon, but it’s checked out for the next 6,000 years. That is what you get when you jump on the whole, “oh it’s a movie but I want to read the book first!” trend. Anyway, it was a good story and I enjoyed the perspective. It’s exciting to see young adult books taking on topics like sexuality and the complications that come with exploring who someone truly is meant to be. That didn’t really exist when I was a young adult, so kudos to growth! I’m looking forward to hopefully getting to her other works. B
  12. Yes, Chef: A Memoir, Marcus Samuelsson (autobiography)- This past summer we lost Anthony Bourdain and that was a rough blow. Maybe I’ll talk about how that impacted me at some point but long story short, I started digging deeper into some culinary works. I loved Samuelsson’s story (and he read it to me! I could listen to him speak for the rest of my life.) It was a great blend of culture and the great mysterious world of ball-busting work in kitchens. Hearing a story about a man from Ethiopia that grew up in Sweden and then worked all over the world but now calls New York City home? Loved it. I’m looking forward to visiting his restaurant when we visit New York City next year. A
  13. Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain (memoir)- I cried a lot. I’ve read it before. I don’t think I could be a chef but I’d like to think I’d give it an honest shot. A
  14. You’ll Grow Out of It, Jessi Klein (autobiography)-I liked it, but thought I’d laugh more given that she is a comedy writer. The only memorable part I can recall is listening to it while I was taking a shower in my hotel room at Disney World and I don’t feel like that’s an indication of my enjoyment. C
  15. Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer (autobiography)- I liked it, it had depth and humor. I like Amy Schumer. B
  16. Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy: Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, Rich People Problems, Kevin Kwan (fiction)- Again on, “Hey this is a move I need to read the book!” series, the Crazy Rich trilogy is really, really good.  I admit, I saw the movie before I read the books (and had never  heard of the trilogy before then) but I am so glad I did. I’m kind of sad the series is done but look forward to the movies! It was also really awesome to see how this movie broke a lot of barriers in Hollywood. A
  17. My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh (fiction)- 😐 what. was. this. I just read some of the reviews on Amazon that this book, “shimmers with intelligence and empathy.” 😐 Maybe it’s because I work in mental health that I am a very harsh critic of self-help bullshit and books depicting mental illness, maybe. Or maybe this book was just flat. *SPOILERS IN CASE YOU CARE* She took a bunch of shit that would kill a human being LIKE A MILLION TIMES OVER and slept for a year.  I did not see a shimmer of any intelligence or empathy. It was 100% apathy. When I was done I kind of just stared at a wall and said, “what the hell” and went back to life. Honestly, in ways it reminded me of one of my favorite books from high school, Go Ask Alice. (I think Go Ask Alice may have nudged me into working with kids with trauma by the way but I digress.) So I stuck it out thinking that it would stop running me the wrong way but the blatant bullshit of misusing psychotropic medication I just couldn’t get over. I guess I get what she was doing with this, and perhaps some may see that as brilliant (that things don’t always come to pass, that sometimes we’re alive but don’t want to live, etc) but what she did would kill someone so it was hard to buy into the story for me. Maybe most folks don’t know that so it works for them? I was looking forward to this one because it was met with such high praise and if anyone else has read it and wants to enlighten me I’m super intrigued to hear what you may have to say-let’s talk. 😐 C-
  18. Love is a Mixed Tape, Rob Sheffield (fiction)- I’ve owned this paperback for years and never read it so I decided to give the audio a try. I cried a few tears with this one just because I related to the story of how a mixed tape can mean so much. It was a sweet book, and I want to read more by Sheffield. A
  19. 10% Happier, Dan Harris (self-help, also autobiography?)- So toward the end of the year I started being interested in some of the works I had heard about from a podcast I really enjoy, Savy Psychologist  (she’s awesome!! I’ve learned a lot from this podcast. A++)  My own therapist often told me that I should try to meditate and I basically would look at her like, “haha. no.” and we’d move on but I’ve read a lot of research on the topic so I decided to see what others had to say.  Harris was a guest on the SP podcast at one point and what he shared cleared up a lot of my misconceptions about meditation  (I had quite a few, oops. Sorry to my therapist for all the eye rolls). I gave his book a chance and it was fantastic! It was entertaining to learn about his journey into meditation.  I can’t say I knew who Harris was before (I don’t watch ABC News shows) but I am sure glad I do now. This book helped me to start clear some fog. Way to be engaging and helpful. A
  20. Wild, Cheryl Strayed (autobiography)-Oddly, I still haven’t watched this movie but this was another book I chose since  none of the ones I had on my list were available. It also helped me understand Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life better, too. It was fine. C
  21. Yes, Please, Amy Poehler (autobiography)- I started this book when it first came out and couldn’t finish it but I’m so glad I went back to it!  It was nice to learn more about the path she took to become who she is now and hear some interesting stories along the way. I love comedians. A
  22. Born Standing Up, Steve Martin (autobiography)- Did I mention I love comedians? I love Steve Martin. I loved his book. A
  23. One More Thing, B.J. Novak (fiction)- Sensing a theme here. These were awesome short stories that made me legit laugh out loud. I kind of want to re-read this one like right now. A
  24. Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher (autobiography)-come on. It’s Carrie Fisher. It was good. It took a while to be able to hear her voice, ya’ll. A
  25. Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher (autobiography)- see above. B
  26. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Mark Manson (self-help, autobiography?)- I was skeptical at first but damn I loved this book. So eye-opening and really forced me forward in my thought process. A

And the final two books for 2018 were two that I enjoyed multiple times. Jenny Lawson has been a beacon of light on rough days. She speaks with such honesty and is freaking hilarious. I adore her ability to share her own stories about mental health and the struggles it brings and to add humor to the heavy. She is genuine and I listened to her tell me I mattered as well as stories about taxidermy animals and cried and laughed all the same. Lawson has a blog that I suggest you check out too. Jenny Lawson, you are a blessing. And I am number 26.

 27. Furiously Happy (autobiography, humor, self-help) A+

28. Let’s Pretend this Never Happened (more autobiographical than self-help but still a mix even if by proxy) A+

And a bonus! She has a coloring book/self-help/just a nice book called You Are Here. This isn’t an audio book and I’m a proud owner of this one! A+