So I've read QUITE a few books this year. Over 80 books, actually, which is more than the book a week I was aiming for. Lots of feminist stuff, lots of short story collections, and a bit of lighter trashy stuff.
This is a list of the best or most memorable novels/short stories that I have read, with a one-sentence review. I also read a few parenting books, lots of books on veggie gardens and beekeeping, plus some other random non-fiction.
Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner
This was a big year for legendary Aussie writers. Garner and Winton both published collections of essays. I am a huge fan of Garner's sharp observational writing, and this book is no exception.
You'll Grow Out Of It by Jessie Klein
I read quite a few collections of funny, feminist essays, and this is hands down the best. Klein is a writer on Amy Schumer's show, and she is hilarious.
The Girls by Emma Cline
I bloody loved this. It's loosely based on the Charles Manson murderesses. A brilliant debut.
The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Man Booker winner. Ascerbic, witty, dense. About a black guy trying to bring back slavery.
Jasper Jones by Craig Silver
An Australian version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Loved it. Evocative, political, timeless.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
God, I love Zadie Smith. Not as good as White Teeth, but still bracing and sharp.
Reckoning by Magda Szubanski
Absolutely did not expect to like this as much as I did. Loved the parts about her wayward uni years.
The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clark
Growing up black in suburban Australia. Brilliant.
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
A view of a marriage from both sides. Similar to Gone Girl but without the violence.
On Love by Alain de Botton
Top five for the year. Everyone in a relationship should read it.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
One of my favourite books of all time. Ostensibly about writing, but also applicable to life.
Island Home by Tim Winton
Winton and Garner are my two favourite writers, hands down. This is his first work of memoir, and it is his usual laconic Aussie wit.
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
Another collection of short stories/essays, and it took me a while to get into it. Pass.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
More well written than your average thriller; a comment on race in America in the 70s.
The One Who Got Away by Caroline Overington
I have heard great things about Overington's writing, but was shocked at how formulaic it was! A pacy read but nothing special.
Shrill by Lindy West
Loved it. A collection of feminist essays and observations.
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
Probs one of my top five for the year. All about the inner workings of relationships of all types.
Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti
Yet another collection of feminist essays. By the founder of Feministing.
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
McEwan is probably one of the best writers in the world, and Amsterdam is no exception.
The Sound of One Hand Clapping by Richard Flanagan
Flanagan's address at the Melbourne Writers Festival this year made me want to write a book. This is better than The Narrow Road to the Deep North, in my opinion.
The Royal We by Jessica Morgan
Easy, trashy, fun. Loosely based on the Kate Middleton-Prince William story.
The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
I really, REALLY liked this book. Not everyone did. But it's a rollicking read, a sharp comment on being a woman in society.
Night Games by Anne Krien
I read this straight after The Natural Way of Things. It's an investigation into sexism in the AFL - could have been better researched, but still interesting.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Better than Gone Girl.
Every book by Liane Moriarty
I went on a bit of a Moriarty binge, and loved them. Easy to read, great characters and believable dialogue.
Catherine the Great by Robert K Massie
A history of Catherine the Great of Russia. Not one for everyone, but I like this kind of stuff.
Committed, A Love Story by Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert's treatise on marriage and commitment. Ironically, she divorced her husband this year and shacked up with her best friend.
The Good Parents by Joan London
An eighteen year old spreads her wings and her parents cope with the fallout.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Stout
Loved it. A woman reminisces about a nine week hospital stay where her estranged mother visited.
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Another Zadie! One of my faves of the year.
Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar
A colonial family struggles. Deeply moving and sad.