This year I read a lot of books. I have posted mostly about business/management books I read for Book Club, but I also read books with my kiddos and for fun, and so I thought I would put together my 10 favorites (in no particular order).
Kindred by Octavia Butler: poignant, disturbing, meaningful–absolutely worth reading, but was at times disruptive to sleep.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus: touching, delightful, amusing, and thought-provoking in a beautiful way that helped me appreciate how far women have come in the workplace, even if we still have work to do.
The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David Wengrow: a retelling of much of world history with a very unique perspective. It made me question a lot of my post-Enlightenment narrative, and ultimately what is inevitable and necessary for society to function.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt: light, lovely, a stitching of a beautiful place, loveable characters, and missed opportunities into a life of meaning. I just came away feeling hopeful about life.
Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb: literally I felt like I was walking into a picture of my mother’s life, and for that felt joy, sadness at points, and just the ambiguity that relationships are complex. Trauma lasts for generations, but ultimately what matters is love.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin: I cannot say enough about the prose of this book. It was truly lyrical. I also loved that it was set in California and Boston (specifically at my alma mater), so I literally could see places and experiences the book described in my own memories. The characters have difficult moments, but don’t we all, and did I mention the writing??? If you read no other book I recommend, read this one!
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery: at first I felt like this was a knockoff of A Confederacy of Dunces (which is a book I loved, and am glad I read, but I HATED the primary character, which rarely describes a book I like let alone love). At the onset of this book, there is a similar sort of dislike the primary character engenders. Then somehow through the course of the book your feelings about everyone flip, and there is such beauty and tragedy in it. I cried. Loved it.
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown: inspiring true story that just made me proud of what humanity can achieve. I was so glad I finally read it (have had it on my bookshelf for WAY too long).
Bittersweet by Susan Cain: lovely book about how American culture pushes positivity sometimes to the detriment of creativity, and authenticity. As someone who literally smiles when I cry, I found this book to be an interesting reflection, and I’m glad I read it. I also found the research interesting as a parent with one child far more sensitive than the other–great tips on how to respect each one’s strengths and support their development in proactive ways.
Why Fish Don’t Exist by Lulu Miller: I love books that teach you something. Ostensibly this book is a biography of David Star Jordan, but truly it is a book about loss, love, humanity, and the deconstruction of our assumed beliefs. I loved it.
Those were my absolute favorites, but I also loved What Bravery Looks Like, by Laurel Braitman, Lost and Found by Kathryn Shulz, Death’s End by Cixin Liu (although the Three Body Problem remains my favorite of the trilogy), Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor, which was a fun whodunnit set in India, Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson, and the Andrew Roberts biography on Churchill.