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2016: A year in review: Books

These are the best 11 books I read in 2016:

All Things Cease to Appear — Elizabeth Brundage (9/10)

GREAT murder “mystery” book (not totally a mystery because you know who did it). A bit of a ghost story, but more in the sense of how what you don’t do in life will haunt you. Also very clearly about how women get trapped into terrible relationships.

Killing and Dying — Adrian Tomine (recommended)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: suburban ennui is hands-down my favourite genre and Tomine is a master at catching the subtle expressions that go along with those exasperating relationship fights. I waited a long time to read this, and it was totally worth it.

Before the Fall — Noah Hawley (recommended)

Great suspense novel. A lot of the plot threads are familiar because they are straight from recent news stories, but Hawley weaves them together in a believable way. A really quick read!

Good As Gone — Amy Gentry (9.5/10)

I read this book in less than 12 hours because I wanted to know the ending! I literally just finished reading it at work by hiding it under my desk 🙊

The Lightkeepers — Abby Geni (9/10)

So well-written and subtle. Has a bit of a mystery that is ambiguously resolved. Plus I learned a lot about the Farallon Islands!

Smoke — Dan Vyleta (9/10)

This book was a bit of a heart-breaker because the first 200 pages are absolutely amazing and then things slow to a crawl and there’s no real payoff. The concept is so creative and the book could’ve delved into about a million different things, but it settled on an unfulfilling conclusion. Whyyyyyyyy!!!

Heat & Light — Jennifer Haigh (9/10)

If someone comes to your house and asks if they can frack on your property, say no. TRUST ME. The money will seems great, but it is NOT WORTH IT. Haigh captures why so many people agree to allow companies to drill on their land, and why they come to regret it.

You Will Know Me —Megan Abbott (9/10)

An extremely dramatic look at the world of competitive gymnastics. Or maybe it’s not that dramatic 🤔 and competitive gymnastics regularly involves DEATHHHHHHH 💀☠️👻

KING BABY — Kate Beaton (10/10)

Soooooo good and hilarious and Kate Beaton-y. Perfect gift for anyone, but especially for someone who is expecting, or just had, a second baby.

Loner — Teddy Wayne (9/10)

Great critique of entitled white guy syndrome (or at least, that’s how I’m choosing to interpret it — I’ve read reviews that said the author was sympathetic to the main character in the end, but I am choosing to believe that is a gross misinterpretation).

The Mothers — Brit Bennett (9.5/10)

MOTHERS!! No matter what, they will probably inevitably screw you up or impact your life choices in an outsized way!! Damn!! Okay, that’s a very superficial reading of this wonderful book by a first-time author and no I’m not jealous, thanks for asking.

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Best books I read in 2015

In no particular order.

A Little Life — Hanya Yanagihara (9/10): Super depressing, but finishing it felt like I had actually accomplished something (but did I?).

California — Edan Lepucki (9/10): I will always read a good (or even middling) post/mid-apocalyptic story. This was a good one.

Station Eleven — Emily St. John Mandel (9.5/10): Similar to California, but I actually preferred this one.

Gut — Giulia Enders (9.5/10): If anyone ever wants to talk about poop and/or how your digestive tract is/is not working, I’m here for you. This book was basically written for me.

A God in Ruins — Kate Atkinson (9/10): I mean, Kate Atkinson, right!?

Missoula — Jon Krakauer (9/10): I mean, Jon Krakauer, right??

The Night Guest — Fiona McFarlane (9/10): Really surprised at how much I liked this one.

Bird Box — Josh Malerman (9.5/10): I don’t generally read “horror” novels, but this seemed like a good representative of the genre.

Honourable mentions: Why Not Me? — Mindy Kaling; Lock In — John Scalzi; The Girl on the Train — Paula Hawkins; Strangers at the Feast — Jennifer Vanderbes; Step Aside, Pops — Kate Beaton.

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2016 Resolutions/general life goals.

Do these have to start tomorrow (the 1st), or can they wait until Monday (the 4th)? Just checking. (I am TOTALLY dedicated to these.)

I know that resolutions/goals are supposed to be super specific in order to make them more likely to be realized, and I don’t think that all of these are specific enough, but oh well. INTENTIONS, right!

PHYSICAL HEALTH:

  • Stop eating candy for dinner.
  • Stop eating candy at work.
  • Work out at least three times a week, and fit in a fourth workout every other week.
  • Do something physically challenging.

MENTAL HEALTH:

  • Take an actual vacation.
  • Be more positive.
  • How do I say this… Get right with death?
  • Start meditating for 10 minutes a day.
  • As always, write my novel.

MOM STUFF:

  • Take Mila somewhere interesting and special once a month.
  • Be a good role model so that Mila thinks that being happy and healthy is the norm, not an anomaly.

ALSO:

  • Find my HG mascara.

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The 7 best books I read in 2013.

I only read 50 books in 2013. These were the standouts:

Non-fiction

Behind the Beautiful Forevers — Katherine Boo

[Subtitled “Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity,” this book looks at the lives of some of the people who live in a slum by the Mumbai airport. As sad as you would expect it to be.]

Salt, Sugar, Fat — Michael Moss

[If you are interested in nutrition at all (and/or enjoy junk food), this book will tell you why and explain how hard snack companies work to get you to never stop eating their products. Their delicious, tasty products.]

Fiction

The Interestings — Meg Wolitzer

[I think Wolitzer is the best person writing about interpersonal relationships today. I have no idea why she isn’t at least as popular as Jonathan Franzen.]

The Reluctant Fundamentalist — Mohsin Hamid

[This is probably one of the best books I’ve read in the past 5 years.]

Life After Life — Kate Atkinson

You Are One of Them — Elliott Holt

A Tale for the Time Being — Ruth Ozeki

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On giving up.

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“Oh hey — OH. Ummm. Hmm. So… you’re like, all ready to go? All ready to do this? No, I’m just… I guess I was just… You know, I just wanted to make sure. Dress looks nice; makeup’s done… Anything… else? Anything else you had to do? No? Hmm. Okay. Just wanted to make sure… I guess…”

BRO, I KNOW. TRUST ME.

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The Walking Dead vs. The Mist

Did you know that The Mist, a movie based on a novel by Stephen King, was written for the screen and directed by Frank Darabont, the same man who developed the TV show The Walking Dead? And that many people from The Mist are also in The Walking Dead (NOT Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harding though)? Watching The Mist now is like watching a very weird prequel to The Walking Dead. All of your old friends are there! Blond woman! Sophie’s mom! Guy with hat! That group of people just have the WORST luck!! Always plagued by something. Mist or zombies.

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No, he’s actually just that dumb

Well played, Katharine Q. Seelye:

Hahahaha, you and I both know that he actually thinks that every US state and territory (and by implied extension, every person in those states and territories) must speak English OR ELSE because he is a colossal idiot. I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, KATHARINE!

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