I read 30 books in 2018, which is the most sustained stretch of reading I’ve done since maybe college. It was great to get back into the rhythm and discover some amazing works that I’d missed in the past. I’ve got a clear sense of what I want to read in 2019 — the types of books and the writers — and I’m thrilled to set off on those goals.
My favorite book in 2018 was Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon. It was an extraordinary, immersive experience. I then reread The Crying of Lot 49, and now I’m halfway through Vineland, which will be the first book I finish in 2019. Gravity’s Rainbow is on my list for sometime next year.
There was also a three-book run of Philip Roths in the fall. I read American Pastoral and was absolutely spellbound. As soon as I finished it, I walked down State Street in downtown Chicago to buy The Human Stain. I picked up The Plot Against America back in Northeast Ohio, and had to briefly explain to the cashier why I was buying a book with a swastika on the cover.
Brave New Weed by Joe Dolce.
It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis.
Influence by Robert Cialdini.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.
Kill All Your Darlings by Luc Sante.
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.
The Quiet American by Graham Greene.
The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.
Leisure, The Basis Of Culture by Josef Pieper.
Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.
Tropic Of Cancer by Henry Miller.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.
Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon.
Dear God, What’s on the Second Floor? by Walter Holland.
How Music Works by David Byrne.
A Massacre in Mexico by Anabel Hernandez. (My review for the Cleveland Review of Books here)
American Pastoral by Philip Roth.
The Human Stain by Philip Roth.
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth.
White Noise by Don DeLillo (reread).
Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman.
Beatles vs. Stones by John McMillian.
Demand the Impossible! by Bill Ayers.
The Siege Of Harlem by Warren Miller.
Rabbit, Run by John Updike (not pictured).
The Crying Of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (reread).