This Decade I Read 594 Books, These Were the Best Novels

Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky
Wicked and delicious, this is a one-sit read that sticks with you long after you finish it. I still think about drinking coffee from bowls because of this book.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Interlinked stories about kleptomaniacs, aging punks, and various hangers on this is a masterpiece of both craft and storytelling.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
I loved this book so much that every six months or so I google to see if the author has another book that might have slipped under my radar. A story about love and friendship and being a teenager in the 80s, like the 80s really were and not some hypercolor big haired, Aqua Net-scented caricature of the 80s.

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
This is another one-sit wonder. I remember picking this book off my doorstep, where it was delivered, and sitting on the chair next to the door and not moving until I was done. I’m a slow, distracted reader, but this story of a marriage that goes awry captured me and never let go.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A love(ish) story about immigrants and race and America and Nigeria and racism and it nails the ending. Like really sticks that landing.

The Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante
The four novels that make up Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet was one of the best reading experiences I had since I was a kid. It was an all-consuming obsession where the only thing I could do was languidly drape myself over the couch, a chair, my bed, and lose myself in Naples. It’s all I thought about and did for the better part of a month and it was glorious.

Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce
Fierce. Fierce. Fierce. Come for the restaurant stories of a Dallas waitress and stay for the bad decisions she makes knowing full well they are bad.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
This is another one about the 80s that is like how the 80s were, specifically the start of the AIDS epidemic. This one will break your heart.

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo
One of the best novels I read this decade, the point of view is so good so tight and true that when big reveals come they’re bombshells.

Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
A whodunnit about teen girls in the 90s. So my jam.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This one about suburban life, planned communities, and wanting wanting wanting really resonated with me. I loved the ending.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is a rock & roll novel with a Fleetwood Mac vibe that I loved so much I’ve read it three times so far this year.

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  1. Susanna 25.Nov.19 at 10:59 am

    Most of these I’ve read and also loved. I have heard so much good stuff about Daisy Jones, but I tried listening to the audiobook and I couldn’t bear it. But I do not like full-cast readings at all. I’m going to try the regular paper book and see if I can find out what everyone loves. (And I’m going to dig into the books on your list that I haven’t read yet.)

  2. Lori H 25.Nov.19 at 10:08 pm

    Legit want to quit my job and commit myself to reading these immediately. I’ve always trusted your book recommendations, so this is like a kid in a candy store moment.


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