My Year of Rest and Relaxation
November 30, 2018 3:02 PM   Subscribe

ARGH you cannot DO this to me right now

I'll peruse this when I have time, but a few notes from a quick scroll-through:

-I am HERE FOR every single fluffy Asian American romantic novel on this list (and there are LOTS). Finally, something good comes of publishing's herd mentality. THAT'S RIGHT, IMITATE CRAZY RICH ASIANS AND GIVE ME MORE READING MATERIAL, YOU LEMMINGS.
-On the other end of the spectrum, America Is Not the Heart caught my eye because of the callback to a classic As-Am title, and it looks intriguing.
-I spy at least three books I worked on here. I left publishing in 2017 and I'm a bit sad to realize this might be the last year that that's the case.
-The only one I have read (that I didn't work on) is Heart Berries.
posted by sunset in snow country at 3:23 PM on November 30 [9 favorites]

Very cool, sunset in snow country!
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 3:27 PM on November 30

I love the Concierge. I love it so much. It just feels so... freeing. Their tastes (their books) meet your tastes (your filters), instead of how these things usually go down (the NYTs 'top 10' felt didactic, or like it confused 'authority' and 'pushiness').
posted by flibbertigibbet at 4:27 PM on November 30 [4 favorites]

Books I read that I absolutely agree belong on this list:
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik -- On par with Uprooted, so so good
The Merry Spinster by Daniel Mallory Ortberg -- I think I've enjoyed everything I've ever read by Ortberg
Space Opera by Catherynne Valente -- This was so much fun

Books I read that I'm OK with being on this list:
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers -- Not as good as her first two books, but still good; it grew on me
Calypso by David Sedaris -- Makes up for the fact that the individual stories pack less punch than his earlier ones by tying them together thematically to a much greater extent

Books I read that I'm not sure should be on this list:
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi -- I'm like, the *only* person who didn't like this one, though, as far as I can tell
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman -- LOVED both other books I read by her, but this one didn't really do it for me; not bad by any means, but not a best of the year for me
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire -- My opinion on McGuire tends to be the opposite of everyone else's; I love her more obscure stuff and dislike her more famous stuff. I thought the messy, energetic first book in this series was excellent, and this second one was kind of typical urban fantasy -- nothing wrong with that, but not a best of the year for me
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse -- I adored her Hugo and Nebula Award winning short story, but found this book kind of lackluster

Books on this list I'd already been planning to read:
Transcription by Kate Atkinson
Gnomon by Nick Harkaway
How Long 'Til Black Future Month by N. K. Jemisin
Circe by Madeleine Miller
84K by Claire North
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Books that I'm adding to my too-read pile because of this list:
Scribe by Alyson Hagy
Seafire by Natalie Parker

Some of my favorite books from 2018 that did not appear on this list:
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
The Breath of the Sun by Rachel Fellman (MEFITE!)
The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan
Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
The Infernal Battalion by Django Wexler
posted by kyrademon at 4:53 PM on November 30 [11 favorites]

Parker Posey's book is rightfully on there, but do yourself a favour, and get the audiobook. Parker narrating her own work really brings to life the idea of her chatting beside you on a plane, demonstrating her yogic breathing and imitating celebrity friends and talking to her dog and and and and and.

Such a delight.
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:57 PM on November 30 [2 favorites]

How is Gnomon?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:58 PM on November 30 [1 favorite]

Those book slips rule.
posted by clavdivs at 5:16 PM on November 30

Gnomon is excellent. I'm still thinking about it a month after finishing it.
posted by DowBits at 5:22 PM on November 30 [3 favorites]

I read a lot, and yet I've read almost none of those books. Mostly I read mysteries. I will say that the books on the list that I have read are excellent: "The Overstory" by Richard Powers; "Unsheltered" by Barbara Kingsolver; "Ball Lightning" by Cixin Liu; "The Female Persuasion" by Meg Wolitzer. But I suppose 4 out of more than 300 isn't a great record.
posted by Daily Alice at 5:46 PM on November 30 [2 favorites]

I have a hard time keeping up with new releases, pretty much only follow the publishers that put out a lot of translations. My library finally got Anniversaries in and that's probably going to be my most memorable 2018 book.
posted by edeezy at 8:37 PM on November 30

Why u do this to me?!?

Great, now I want to just hole up and read and ignore the giant pile of other work and home responsibilities I have staring me in the face. Thanks a lot!!

I'm currently reading The Witch Elm by Tana French and it is so compelling. Definitely deserves its place on this list.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:48 PM on November 30 [3 favorites]

heh. i do this because i love you!!
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 9:01 PM on November 30 [4 favorites]

Gnomon is not only excellent, it's fiendishly clever, very imaginative and hard to put down. That said, I did find it to drag in a few places but the payoff for finishing it is more than worth it.
posted by ashbury at 9:30 PM on November 30 [1 favorite]

My Life as a Goddess, which is on this list, is really good. I am a bit over the comedian memoir genre, but his has a lot of both nerdiness and pathos (plus humor, of course) and I really enjoyed it.
posted by lunasol at 10:54 PM on November 30

Perfect timing! I was just today lamenting that it's getting dangerously close to the end of the year and I still have yet to read anything that really rocked my socks off. Lots of good-to-great stuff, but no big mind altering sink into them types. This has given me some solid leads though and after spending a bit of time browsing my neighborhood bookshop's site to see what they have in stock, I think I'm gonna stroll over there after Saturday morning coffee to pick up copies of Gnomon, 84K & Ohio.
posted by mannequito at 11:05 PM on November 30

I'm disappointed that they used the edition of The Merry Spinster that lists the author as Mallory rather than Daniel Ortberg -- I know it was reprinted correctly.
posted by tangosnail at 6:49 AM on December 1

Arg. All of my print books are in storage while we try to sell the house and move. Can't get any more.

Ebooks, though...
posted by doctornemo at 10:20 AM on December 1

carrienation was kind enough to point this out to me over on my recent AskMe looking for better ways to read professional reviews, so I can find really well-written books - and I've already lost a few hours to happily clicking around, and I've found a number of terrific suggestions that look like just the sort of thing I'm looking for.

Note in the sidebar that they have links to previous years, going all the way back to 2008 - very handy if you like to get most of your reading from the library, since the older stuff doesn't usually have a year-old wait list.

Also, the About page is worth a read.

(Note: I wish I knew exactly what the "Ladies First" tag denotes.)

Thanks so much for posting this, KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat!
posted by kristi at 7:03 PM on December 2

My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Oh hey, I REALLY want to read this. I ended up reading Moshfegh's earlier work Eileen instead and found it to be strange, profound, and very funny. I'm a little obsessed now.
posted by naju at 3:00 PM on December 3

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