Reading Year in Review, 2018

I read 63 books in 2018. That is the highest count since 2011 (65)–this is maybe jacked up a little by 6 “Trese” komix volumes that I read pretty quickly. After having dropped my intentional read-more-women program in 2017, I picked it back up in 2018 and successfully read just over 50% women-authored books (32 of 63). This mostly felt easy, although I felt like I had to intentionally play catch-up after the aforementioned 6 male-authored “Trese” books. I’m also expanding the challenge now to include reading more authors of color and LGBT authors, although 50% women is the only quantitative guide I’m keeping. Honestly the easiest rule of thumb is just read books not by white men.

I read 5 books in 2018 that I rated 5-stars: - Sex and Social Justice, by Martha Nussbaum
- Mass Murders (Trese #3), by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo
- Little Manila Is In the Heart, by Dawn Mabalon
- My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris
- Adults In the Room, by Yanis Varoufakis
- Journey for Justice, by Dawn Mabalon and Gayle Romasanta

As the list above hints, one of my major themes in 2018 was reading more books from and about the Philippines and the Filipino-American experience. My partner’s family is from the Philippines and I enjoy learning about it through books as well as through talking with them. I inaugurated a “Filipino” shelf on Goodreads this year (including some retroactive classification of books read in past years, which now has 18 books. In addition to the three books in my 5-star group, I also read five other “Trese” komix volumes, Insurrecto and Gun Dealers’ Daughter by Gina Apostol, Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn, Sanpaku by Kate Gavino, and America Is Not The Heart by Elaine Castillo.

I also finally got around to reading the philosopher Martha Nussbaum and read three total books by her (including the 5-star list member mentioned above). The other non-5-star book that has probably stayed with me the most is Seeing Like a State by James Scott, which had been on my mental “to-read” list forEVER–I think of it often when I’m having an intellectual discussion about something.

Authors that I saw talk in person (that I can recall right now): - Kieran Setiya (Midlife) at the Brooklyn Public Library Night of Philosophy and Ideas
- Eve Ewing (Electric Arches, Ghosts in the Schoolyard, also the new “Ironheart”” comic series!) at The Strand talking about GITS
- N.K. Jemisin (“Broken Earth” trilogy, How Long Til Black Future Month?) at The Strand talking about HLTBFM (and she signed my copy!)
- Gina Apostol (Gun Dealers’ Daughter, Insurrecto) at the PEN World Voices Festival (on a panel with Sheila Coronel and Eric Gamalinda)
- Gina Apostol reading from Insurrecto at KGB Bar
- Dona Wong (The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics) whom I met through work because I recruited her to give a talk at a conference
- This isn’t exactly the same but I met Romy Dorotan (Memories of Philippine Kitchens) at his restaurant Purple Yam; he sat down and chatted with me and my partner for about 10 minutes!