Friday, December 21, 2018

2018: Year in Review

Another year down, full of much less reading but still some interesting books. I don't have quite the heart to abandon my faithful blog completely, even though I managed only one review this year--my lowest participation since I began. Not surprisingly, this slump came after returning to work following my maternity leave with my second daughter. As I said after my first daughter was born, while I can work or parent, doing both at once leaves little room for anything beyond the absolute basics.

Books read in 2018:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (Feb)
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (Feb)
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott (Apr)
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (May)
The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin (June)
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer (June)
The Power by Naomi Alderman (June)
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (July)
Disobedience by Naomi Alderman (Sept)
The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy (Oct)
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Oct)
Exit West by Mohsid Hamid (Nov)
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Dec)

Thirteen is not too bad, all things considered. Most were read for my book club, but I managed a few on my own too. Exit West probably tops my list--Hamid has beautiful, sparse prose, and a gentle approach to describing the natural ebb and flow of any relationship. The novel's focus on immigration is intensely topical, but its depiction of individual growth and its impact on relationships is timeless.
Alderman's dystopia The Power sparked the best discussion. In our #metoo era, it was also incredibly topical, and it posed a lot of questions about the nature of relationships between men and women and the path towards equality.

N.K. Jemisin continues to do no wrong for me. Every time I pick up one of her books I assume it's going to be cliche and stilted fantasy, and yet every time I'm impressed with storytelling rich in worldbuilding, characterization, and prose.

I read a number of nonfiction books, which is somewhat unusual. Rubin's The Four Tendencies surprised me by being more insightful and helpful than I would have thought. Not shockingly, I'm an "upholder," but the book gave insight into why my tendency can interfere with my relationships, and learning about my husband's "obliger" ways was also useful in understanding his behavior.

Like so many others, Kondo worked her magic on me, and I did a full Kondo-purge of my wardrobe. Almost a year later I've maintained her folding and near-empty closet style. I don't think I have the fortitude for a whole-house purge, but she has helped me to part with things I know I don't want. I'm now apt to throw a junky plastic toy immediately in the trash, and I have a large donation bag in my bedroom into which I throw any item I no longer want (I mean, that doesn't give me joy!).

If I can manage an average of a book a month again next year, I'll be pleased. Happy 2018, and here's to the year ahead!

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