what i’ve been reading in 2017

Like I did last year, I’ve tried to capture the essence of each of the books I read this year in as few words as possible.

  1. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (non-fiction, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik): a girl nicknamed “Kiki” grows into an activist supreme court judge and feminist icon
  2. All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood (non-fiction, by Jennifer Senior): sociological studies show how kids affect parents
  3. The Old Man and the Sea (fiction, Ernest Hemingway): an epic showdown between a tough old fisherman and the potential catch of his life
  4. The Cow in the Doorway:  Love and Loss in the Time of Pot and Protest (fiction, Gino B. Bardi): a young man’s incredible yet relatable freshman year at Cornell during the Vietnam War
  5. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (non-fiction, Trevor Noah): funny stories interspersed with profound observations from the experience of growing up mixed-race as apartheid ended
  6. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (fiction, by Junot Diaz): a geeky Dominican-American boy struggles with life and love, probably thanks to a generations-long curse on his family from an evil dictator(!)
  7. The Blue Castle (fiction, by L.M. Montgomery): in the 1920s, a single young woman leaves fear and convention behind
  8. Jane Steele (fiction, by Lyndsay Faye): a young woman’s journey as a murderer/hero in 19th century England
  9. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (non-fiction, by Jon Krakauer): systemic issues in Missoula, Montana led to controversy over the number of uncharged rapes occurring at the University of Montana
  10. Ways to Disappear (fiction, by Idra Novey): a literature translator finds adventure in Brazil when her author suddenly disappears
  11. Feminist Fight Club (non-fiction, by Jessica Bennett): a cheeky, fact-based guide to working while female
  12. The Dead (fiction, by James Joyce): an Irish dinner party followed by revelations about love and death
  13. Heart of Darkness (fiction, by Joseph Conrad): an English captain’s mission on the Congo River in the 19th century
  14. Valley of the Dolls (fiction, by Jacqueline Susann): following three women through friendship, love, fame, and self-destruction in the 1940s-1960s
  15. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (fiction, by Ransom Riggs): peculiar children are living in a time loop managed by a bird-woman, but none of that seems so crazy when you’re reading the book
  16. Dear Emma (fiction, by Katie Heaney): a very loose recapitulation of Emma in the age of social media, with a college advice columnist as the protagonist
  17. Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (nonfiction, by Claude M. Steele): an examination of how stereotype threat can affect anyone in specific conditions, and some evidence-based advice to mitigate this effect
  18. Anatomy of a Misfit (fiction, by Andrea Portes): the third-most-popular girl at a cliquey high school makes decisions that could ostracize her from high school society, or upgrade her to the most popular girl in school
  19. At Fault (fiction, by Kate Chopin): questionable romantic choices are made by several parties on a Louisiana plantation
  20. The Virgin Suicides (fiction, by Jeffrey Eugenides): five teenaged sisters in 1970s suburban Detroit commit suicide, as their community watches and tries to understand why

Some books on deck for 2018 are The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry (by Fredrik Backman), Notes from a Feminist Killjoy (by Erin Wunker), My Heart and Other Black Holes (by Jasmine Warga), and The Hate U Give (by Angie Thomas). Do you have any book recommendations?

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