last year was the first year i actually frickin’ completed my good reads challenge! two months early, too! i am not so much for quantity rather than quality and i love reading long books and loads of non-fiction which are hard to get through as quickly as fiction is. so i am pretty pleased, here.
also, i love reading the internet. as aziz ansari famously said, “i read the internet so much i feel like i’m on page a million of the worst book ever”. but winter is my cozy book reading time, so i’m hoping to put a big dent in this year’s challenge in the upcoming months.
here’s the best of what i read last year!
funniest – shrill, by lindy west. as a long time reader of the stranger, i’ve been reading west’s work forever and was so excited to get my hands on her first book, a memoir about growing up female and fat in america. not only is she always hilarious, but she has a way of shaking you out of your “believies”, putting you in her very real and often uncomfortable life situations. i would highly recommend this book for literally everyone of all genders, orientations, and weights.
favorite memoir – my berlin kitchen, by luisa weiss. a book about berlin, cooking, and living. YES. to all the above. but this memoir by italian-american writer weiss, raised in berlin, was so much more than that. it was heart-rending, full of those difficult choices we must make about life and love, and i felt like i could relate to her so much as our stories are not so dissimilar, following her around to all of these places in berlin i know and love. also, i want to make all the recipes. she’s got her new classic german baking cookbook out which i can’t wait to get my hands on as well.
most memorable – the invisible bridge, by julie orringer. this book for me is like last year’s all the light we cannot see. a story set in both paris and budapest about a jewish hungarian set at the time of world war ii. i read it in preparation for my trip to budapest and man, this is definitely one to read if you like historical fiction and stories about life, love, and loss. it changed the way that i thought about both paris and budapest as well.
longest time coming – independent people, by halldor laxness. over five years ago, a few weeks before we started dating, alex bought me this paperback as i had told him how i tried to read it before my first trip to iceland (april 2011) but didn’t finish and had to take it back to the library. however, i don’t have that beloved copy with me here (nor did i read it bakc then), so i had to finally just up and buy it and get it read while i was in iceland. and as this book is something of a modern epic, my time in iceland was a great time to read it, especially as i was spending two weeks on an isolated farm, 45 minutes walk from the nearest corner store with the unspeakably beautiful rolling hills of the west spread before me. i am so happy i finished it – the tale of a stubborn man in the early 20th century who, after years of indebted servitude, earns his freedom and a parcel of land and is hell-bent on building an independent life there at no matter the cost to him or his family.
most obsessed over – into thin air, by john krakauer. i picked up this book as i had previously enjoyed krakauer’s work and this is really his crowning glory, about the summit attempt at mt. everest the fateful spring of 1996. for months i was basically obsessed with all things mt. everest, mentally planning a trip to nepal, and had to watch the film everest, which is based on the telling of this book and others. incredible! would read again.
biggest surprise – the tsar of love and techno, by anthony marra. i will just state right now that i am not a fan of short stories. i can’t get behind them, and the ones that are so good end much too soon. but this book, which initially seemed like a book of short stories set in the ussr/russia in the 20th century, really surprised me and made me think over and over again. i love how all the stories (or, chapters) were related to one another, even if it was only one minor detail, and i felt deeply invested in the lives of the characters. it was funny, heart-breaking, and just a treat to experience.
please tell me below: what was the best book you read last year?
have a great weekend, friends! mine should include a lot of this (above).
ps, you might like last year’s year in books.