What I’ve Been Reading This Year (Maybe)

Atrios has been listing the books he’s read this year, and this got me curious about which books I’ve read this year. The answer is that I don’t know. Some time ago I began using Nook as my regular e-reader because the Kindle app is a piece of crap on Windows tablets. And it turns out that Barnes & Noble makes it all but impossible to figure out when you bought a book. You can check your orders for the past six months, but they provide only order numbers, not book titles. I looked and looked, but unless I missed something obvious there’s no real way to know when you bought a particular book.

That’s kind of annoying—at least, for those of us who are easily annoyed. Anyway, take this list with a grain of salt, but here’s what I’ve read in the first half of the year, in chronological order:

  1. Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky
  2. Ethan Canin, A Doubter’s Almanac
  3. Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop
  4. Connie Willis, Crosstalk
  5. Alice Dreger, Galileo’s Middle Finger
  6. Brian Stavely, The Emperor’s Blades
  7. Brian Stavely, The Providence of Fire
  8. Brian Stavely, The Last Mortal Bond
  9. Rob Sheffield, Dreaming the Beatles
  10. Joan Williams, White Working Class
  11. Al Franken, Giant of the Senate
  12. Cory Doctorow, Walkaway
  13. Charles Stross, Empire Games
  14. David Weigel, The Show That Never Ends
  15. Paul Beatty, Sellout

Did I also read one or two dead-tree books? I think I did! But I don’t remember what they were.

It’s mostly fiction. Political nonfiction (broadly defined) has become so partisan that I find I don’t enjoy it much these days. There are several books I liked on this list, but none that blew me away. I guess my top picks are A Doubter’s Almanac among fiction¹ and Galileo’s Middle Finger among nonfiction.

¹Assuming you get a kick out of novels about disturbed, world-class mathematicians, which I do.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.