One-line book reviews

My feelings on a book is always seems subject to influence by what is going on in my personal life. Which is why I find reviews difficult, and why the ones below are short. But since people ask all the time what I think about the books I’ve read, here’s a little feedback.

The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan
Really good, but depressing. I feel like it’s a valuable read, but if you’re in a dark place, maybe hold off. Longlisted for the National Book Award. Named Best Book of 2016 by Esquire, Time, and Vulture. Quality but heavy.

The Body in Question by Jill Ciment
SUPER enjoyed this one! Not a crime novel, even though it’s about a (fictional) murder trial. Follows two members of the jury.

Happy All The Time by Laurie Colwin
Was excited about this one, was recommended by the dude who worked at an independent book store in NYC, but it was a little slow for me. Had trouble hanging in there.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Really interesting book. I think his first novel in like a decade? Worth reading.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
Beach read. Perfectly enjoyable. Not a crime novel.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Thought this would be a typical thriller beach read, but I thought the twist at the end was above average. Two thumbs up.

The Constant Gardener by John le Carré
Enjoyed this so much more than Tinker Taylor. Really good. Never saw the movie.

Circe by Madeline Miller
Loved it. Same feeling as Song of Achilles but with strong female protagonist. I also love learning about Greek mythology (check out Mythos beforehand if you want to enjoy it a little more).

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Pretty standard whodunnit. Good beach/vacation read.

The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey
Actually listened to this one as a book on tape, because it was narrated by…Mariah Carey. If you like Mariah Carey, highly recommend.

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
Beach read. Typical

Later by Stephen King
A short Stephen King novel! I mean the guy’s a master. I liked it.

A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson
I was super excited for this one. Seemed like an amazing summer read. Could not get into it. Ended up in the Little Library down the street.

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
Collection of essays on contemporary culture, she is so smart, love her, loved this book.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Crime novel beach read.

Blowout by Rachel Maddow
I think Rachel Maddow is amazing at laying out the landscape of where we are, what is happening, and how we arrived there in layman’s terms. I really loved her book Drift, which I read years ago, about the military. If you don’t like her, maybe skip these. But I find them so informative.

Milkman by Anna Burns
THIS BOOK! I did a long review on this, largely to work through what was in this book for myself. I really really enjoyed it. It’s not a typical novel, definitely not an easy read, not for everyone, but I really loved it.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
I mean, Liane Moriarty. You know what type of book this is. Totally enjoyable.

Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
Ugh this book was incredible. I think reading historical novels by journalists is the way to go, they write in such a readable way. Learned a lot.

The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose
Random pick from the library and I liked it! Dark, dystopian feel. Similar feeling to Station Eleven or Ready Player One.

I’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie
Typical whodunnit. Beach read.

The Other Woman by Daniel Silva
Thought this would be a typical thriller, but I liked it better than most. A little more background/history based, as opposed to a straight up page-turner. Enjoyed it.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This book was pretty good. Had the magical feel of Something Wicked This Way Comes (maybe that’s just because it is also about a mysterious circus). Fun read.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Super interesting premise. Dark. Makes you think. Good read.

The Stranger by Albert Camus
Old book! Apparently a classic (I had never heard of it before). Dark. Interesting. Had a sort of Talented Mr Ripley feel to it.

Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie
This book takes place in England and really was like reading a warm cup of milky tea. Not thrilling, but I totally enjoyed it.

Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy by John le Carré 
This is like THE quintessential John le Carré novel and I was so sad that I didn’t get that into it. Took me a while to give him another shot.

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
Oh this book. Such a different type of story. Really good.

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
If you want to read a fun book about love in your 20s as a millennial, you’ve come to the right place. I love Dolly Alderton a lot. This is the only one of her books I’ve read, I thought it was going to be too much at the beginning, but by the end it came around. Really enjoyed it.

Running Against the Devil by Rick Wilson
Less relevant (maybe? maybe not?) in the post-Trump world, but if you want to understand Republican political strategy, look no further.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
Of all Liane Moriarty’s books, this one I probably liked the least. But it’s still Liane Moriarty.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
This got a lot of attention when it came out. An easy read about a difficult (but very relevant) subject. I enjoyed it, but apparently if you’ve read The Invisible Half it may fall a little flat (heard that from a number of people).

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
I really liked this book. Historical fiction is always fun.

When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal

This was kind of a…supposed to be a nostalgic book, and kind of succeeds, but you can feel the effort. Takes place in Santa Cruz, which was cool. Enjoyable.

Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky
Great summer read.

The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels
UGH I loved this book. I thought it was excellent. So freaking good. But it is about AIDS in the 80s, so don’t go in thinking it’ll be all sunshine and rainbows (well maybe a few rainbows). But really, it’s beautiful.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
I WAS SO EXCITED TO READ THIS BOOK and was SO BUMMED that I couldn’t get into it!!!! Might give it another try someday. I finished it, but feel like I must have missed something.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
Ooooh so so dark. SO creepy. Great Halloween read.

The Dinner by Herman Koch
ANOTHER dark Halloween read! But this one is a little different. Takes place over one dinner, so not super long. Translated from Dutch.

While I Was Gone by Sue Miller
Pretty good. Not a stressful page-turner, but still a mystery that unfolds slowly and in a relatively safe way. Enjoyed it.

A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill
THIS was a weird book. Very unique. Very strange. Kind of refreshing, but definitely not for everyone.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Long but good. I mean, Neil Gaiman. Love him.

What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer
The one (and probably only) book of poetry on this list. Poetry for people who don’t like poetry. Her stuff is incredible. If you are a woman and a mother, you will feel this. If you aren’t, you will still feel it and maybe learn something. Really, go get it.

Bad Blood by John Carryrou
Ah, Theranos. Read this before the documentaries came out. But if you want to know the story, this will cover it.

Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell
“One of the sharper novels about mid-20th century domestic life.” That was from the Guardian. James Patterson said this novel is the one that influenced him the most. It felt like a book that should have been read in a contemporary lit class in college. Slow, but lots to dissect.

King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild
About the Belgian colonization of the Congo. Did I know the Belgians were the ones who colonized the Congo before I picked this book up? Couldn’t say. Learned A LOT about colonialism in Africa, rubber, slavery, the media and power politics in late 19th century Europe…it’s a history book but reads like a novel. Incredibly depressing. Incredibly informative.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. I really did. Not a happy book, but a really, really good one. I cried.

Adèle by Leila Slimani
I picked this book up because Leila Slimani was THE author in France at the time. I couldn’t bring myself to read The Perfect Nanny, but when this one got translated I gave it a shot. It was…dark. And interesting.

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
A fine beach read.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare
I mean…I feel like I don’t need to say anything here. I didn’t just read this cold, I was taking an online class on Shakespeare. If I had just picked it up, there’s no way I would have stuck with it. But with the supplementary info it was actually good! And I learned (hot take coming)….there’s a lot there.

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll
A thriller. Fun read.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Good story and again, Liane Moriarty. A fun read.

Don’t Look Now by Daphne du Maurier
Came to this book after Rebecca. It’s a collection of short stories, so if you like Daphne du Maurier this is worth checking out. But I’d read Rebecca first.

The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger
Random free book from Amazon. Short little thriller.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I feel like I don’t need to say much here, because EVERYBODY loved this book. Myself included. It’s good.

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Another book I loved! I really love Madeline Miller’s writing, I loved that she tells the story from the point of view of a peripheral character, I love her take on the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, I love how she filled in the blanks of traditional Homer, I love how smooth it was to read…I just really loved it all.

Tangerine by Christine Mangan
This is sort of a thriller-esque novel (nothing too bloody or horrific), but set in 1950s Morocco really gives it an escapist feeling.

The Spy and the Traitor by Ben MacIntyre
A real life spy novel. If you like John le Carré, this novel will probably be right up your alley.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

I had no idea Steve Martin wrote books! (Yes, that Steve Martin.) About a young girl in the NYC art scene. It was fine, probably very good if I had been in more of a mood for it.

Rich In Love by Josephine Humphries
This was a little surprise that I found at the public library sale. A sort of coming-of-age novel set in the deep south. Enjoyed it more than I expected to.

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This was another free book from Amazon that was short and a nice surprise. It was different, I liked it.

How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
If Trump is still president and you don’t want to sleep for a month, go ahead and read this now.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
If you like Hemingway, if you’re interested in his early years in Paris, you will probably enjoy this book. It’s autobiographical, nothing crazy exciting happens, but lots of big name drops. Fun facts: it was published posthumously by his widow. There’s some controversy around how accurate parts are because of her editing. So kind of an interesting snapshot of his life and personal history.

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
I read this when Trump got elected and…I mean it’s Philip Roth. It’s good. It’s alternative history, Lindbergh is elected president in 1940 instead of Roosevelt, and I actually learned a lot. But given the environment, very scary. And almost creepily prescient.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Oh, this book is incredible. Very, very good.

Mythos by Stephen Fry
Want to learn about Greek mythology in layman’s terms? Read this. It’s essentially a collection of short stories. I really loved this book.

There There by Tommy Orange
Heavy, but excellent. About the Urban Indians (which make up the majority of the Native American community) in Oakland. Really good.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
Polish writer, recently translated. A friend that I suggested it to said it was like something you’d read in a lit class in college. I really loved it. It’s weird, probably not for everyone, but I recommend it.

A Very Expensive Poison by Luke Harding
This (true) story is so insane. The story of the poisoning of Alexander Litvenenko, written by a journalist.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Picked this book up at the Little Library on a whim, not a book I would have read if I had read the summary, I READ IT IN ONE DAY. I thought it was excellent.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
Talk about a book that is not for everyone and could easily be triggering for some people. I considered putting this book down MULTIPLE times because it made me so uncomfortable. The fact that it is partially autobiographical made me feel a little more okay about it? Maybe? I’m really not sure how I feel about the book as a whole, but the writing itself was good, and I did want to see how it ended.

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
Pretty typical thriller. Enjoyed it.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Love Isabel Allende. Magical realism. If you like Gabriel García Márquez and haven’t read her yet, give it a try.

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
One of the crazier autobiographical true crime novels you’ll ever read.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mendel
This book is excellent. Post-apocalyptic world, yadda yadda. Don’t let the category stop you from reading it.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
This was SUCH an interesting book. It’s long, but I really enjoyed it.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
Ruth Ware. Go-to for thriller comfort books.

Tenth of December by George Saunders

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Say You’re Sorry by Melinda Leigh
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Maisie Dobbs (#1) by Jacqueline Winspear
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Sunburn by Laura Lippman
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

2017 Reading List
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
My Life on the Road
 by Gloria Steinem
Version Control by Dexter Palmer
Into the Woods by Tana French
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Just Mercy by Bryan Stephenson
Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

2016 Reading List
The Big Short by Michael Lewis
Zealot by Reza Aslan
The Widow by Fiona Barton
In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strand
Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz
I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro
Looking for Alaska by John Green
In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Columbine by Dave Cullen
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
True Crime by James Renner
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Edie: American Girl by Jean Stein
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
Faithful Place by Tana French
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
The Sellout by Paul Beatty
The Expatriats by Janice Yee
His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

 2015 Reading List
Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
The Endurance by Caroline Alexander
My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
We Should All Be Feminists by Chamamanda Ngozi Adichie
Missoula by Jon Krakauer
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
The Orphan Masters Son by David Ignatius
The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch

2014 Reading List
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Where I Was From by Joan Didion
My Best Race by Chris Cooper
#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Tattos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Kid by Dan Savage

2013 Reading List
Nexus by Ramez Naam
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Great with Child by Beth Ann Fennelly
Sway by Zachary Lazar
The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Rockabye by Rebecca Woolfe
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell
The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Hatching Twitter by Nick Bolton
Defending Jacob by William Landay

2012 Reading List
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
Drift by Rachel Maddow
Just Kids by Patty Smith
The Wave by Susan Casey
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries (re-read)
Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchel

2011 Reading List
Liars Poker by Michael Lewis
Stiff by Mary Roach
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox
Let My People go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
This Is Where I Leave You by Johnathan Tropper
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
World War Z by Max Brooks