“Dear Zealots” by Amos Oz happens to be waiting on my night table for Shabbat reading. I read this morning of Oz’s passing and I sadly look forward to spending the few winter Shabbat hours with him tomorrow. Hours spent in the company of a good book are among life’s most delicious pleasures.
For several years I’ve kept track of what I read each year. This helps me to see trends in what I’m reading, or when a friend asks for a book recommendation, or when my memory fails me as to whether I’ve read something before, and when my competitive streak emerges and I try to increase the number of books I read from year to year.
Books become favorites for different reasons. If a book makes me laugh out loud enough times that it annoys my children – that’s a good indicator. If a book stays with me so that a year and 130 books later I’m haunted by the narrative – that’s another good indicator. And if a book is just so beautiful that I’m loathe to finish it and start reading it again immediately – it’s a keeper.
In the past week, two different shul friends asked what I was reading so here are some of the favorite things I’ve read in 2018:
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umrigar
The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor
Three Floors Up by Eshkol Nevo
All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan
Women and Power by Mary Beard
Untangled by Lisa D’Amour
Grief Works by Julia Samuel
Everything is Horrible and Wonderful by Stephanie Wittels Wachs
It feels disloyal to not list some perennial favorites like Daniel Silva, the Kellermans, Lee Child and the thrillers that are the “fast food” of my reading life. It wouldn’t be summer with Gabriel Allon, though the stories all blend together by now.