Oh, 2018. I will not be sad to see you go. Although I feel this year was particularly rough for almost all of us, looking back I did actually get to do some really cool things! I took a road trip up to Canada and through 3 cities, made a lot of art, and most importantly – I started this blog! I have high hopes for 2019, but I thought I’d take some time to look back at some of my favorite books I read this year.
Funnily enough, the very first book I read this year was Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and has remained one of my favorite books of the year. I had tried to read this book multiple times and it just didn’t stick, but when I picked it up again this January I really connected with it. This inspired my to see a production of “Orlando” when I was in Toronto, which then in turn made me want to read the book, so you can say that this book was the catalyst for a lot of other highlights of my year.
Another book I had been meaning to read for a long time and finally got to was The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone by Olivia Lang. I remember seeing it in bookstores when I first moved to New York and wanting to read it, but I somehow never got to it. I’m so glad I finally did though! It’s half memoir, half journey through famous artist’s experiences of loneliness while living and working in New York. It was so inspiring to read about the lives of these artists who I’ve always loved, and I even got to take a trip to The Whitney while reading it to see some of the works mentioned in person. It’s a great book for any person trying to find their place in a big city, whether they’ve been there for years or have just arrived.
Maybe I’m biased considering I just finished this book last night on the train, but Bluets by Maggie Nelson definitely makes the list of best reads of the year. I was given this as a Christmas gift last year and decided to read it because I knew it would be a quick read and I didn’t want carry anything too heavy with me while traveling home for the holidays. I knew it was technically a book of poetry, but I loved the experimental structure of it, the brutal honesty Nelson is able to provide, and the story she shares of her lifelong obsession with the color blue. I recommend it for someone looking for a quick dive into exploring poetry or experimental literature, or really anyone just looking for a beautifully written and deeply personal story.
Last on the list is Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country: and Other Stories by Chavisa Woods. I grabbed this at a book fair hosted at the Brooklyn Public Library honestly because the title made me laugh. I rarely pick up collections of short stories, and I’m honestly not sure as to why. I find that when I do read short stories, I prefer ones that are a bit darker or surreal, and such is the case here. I’m determined to get some more short story collections in 2019, because they’ve proved perfect to read on my commute. The time it takes me to get to work and come home every day is almost the perfect amount of time to read one story, which gives me enough breathing room between each to feel like it really sunk in.
What were your favorite books of 2018? Did you branch out into any new genres or formats that surprised you? Let me know in the comments!
If any of the books I mentioned above sound interesting to you, grab a copy of your own by clicking below:
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