Favorite Reads of 2018

A little late in posting, but here are some of my favorite reads of 2018! I’ve been in such a reading and blogging slump even though I had such high hopes to do more (having a technical error that was 99% my fault just totally wiped my motivation because I worked so hard on some posts only to realize they hadn’t posted because I didn’t actually hit “schedule,” UGH). ANYWAY. A new month starts tomorrow. I am going to make the effort to do better. January is just a weird month for me, and I think I just need to start my “new year’s resolutions” in February instead.

I read a lot of different things than my “usuals” in 2018 (and I have a post for that coming soon), but here are some of the standouts of the 180 books I read last year!

TORDOTCOM NOVELLAS! Especially the following:

  • The Only Harmless Great Thing – Brooke Bolander
  • The Descent of Monsters – JY Yang
  • River of Teeth – Sarah Gailey
  • Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire
  • The Armored Saint – Myke Cole

tor.com have released some of the best reads I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, and I can’t wait for what else they put out! If you’re in the mood for a shorter, but highly engaging and imaginative read in the speculative fiction vein, definitely check out the above titles and the rest of their offerings!


  • Daisy Jones & the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Wolf in the Whale – Jordanna Max Brodsky

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was one of my favorite reads of 2017, and I was so excited to receive an advance reader’s copy of Daisy Jones & the Six. It’s going to be a big spring read. The Wolf in the Whale was one of the most immersive historical fantasies I’ve read in quite some time, and I couldn’t put it down.


  • Hull Metal Girls – Emily Shrutskie
  • Playing With Matches – Hannah Orenstein
  • Space Opera – Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Poppy War – R.F. Kuang
  • The Calculating Stars – Mary Robinette Kowal
  • The Fated Sky – Mary Robinette Kowal
  • A Knife in the Fog – Bradley Harper

I didn’t seem to read as much YA last year as I’ve done in previous years (even though I bought a lot, but that’s neither here nor there >.>), but Emily Shrutskie’s Hull Metal Girls was one of the best sci-fi YA titles I’ve read in years, and I found myself wanting so much more once I had finished reading it. I ventured more into the romance genre in 2018 (also more on that later!) and I really loved Playing With Matches by Hannah Orenstein, and I can’t wait for her next one! Catherynne M. Valente’s Space Opera was the most fun sci-fi read of 2018 because it’s a mash of Eurovision and Douglas Adams and all sorts of goodness. R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy War is the start to what looks to be an amazing fantasy series, and I was blown away that it’s a DEBUT because it’s just that well-written. If you like space and women in space programs and alternate histories and haven’t read Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Lady Astronauts yet, what are you waiting for? Bradley Harper wrote an incredibly engaging historical mystery with Margaret Harkness, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Jack the Ripper, and it’s another one of those incredible debuts! I can’t wait for the next installment!


  • The Refrigerator Monologues – Catherynne M. Valente
  • Villette – Charlotte Bronte
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series – Jenny Han
  • Eve’s Hollywood – Eve Babitz

I really just want to read everything Valente has ever written, and The Refrigerator Monologues is an homage to all of those female characters fridged in superhero comics (and apparently it’s going to be made into a mini series by Amazon!!). I wanted to read more classics last year, and aside from the 80 Little Black Classics that Penguin Classics put out a few years ago, the one that stuck with me the most was Charlotte Bronte’s Villette. Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series had been on my radar since its initial release, but the Netflix movie kicked my want to read them into high gear and I enjoyed them all. I read Eve Babitz’s Eve’s Hollywood after finding the book at Strand in NYC, and I fell in love with her. I’m making it my mission to read more of her work in the upcoming months.

What were your favorite reads of 2018?

BOOK REVIEW: Hollywood’s Eve, by Lili Anolik

BOOK REVIEW: Hollywood’s Eve, by Lili AnolikTitle: Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A. by Lili Anolik
Published by Scribner
Published: January 8th 2019
Genres: Biography
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher

Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s was the pop culture capital of the world—a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz was the ultimate factory girl, a pure product of LA.

The goddaughter of Igor Stravinsky and a graduate of Hollywood High, Babitz posed in 1963, at age twenty, playing chess with the French artist Marcel Duchamp. She was naked; he was not. The photograph, cheesecake with a Dadaist twist, made her an instant icon of art and sex. Babitz spent the rest of the decade rocking and rolling on the Sunset Strip, honing her notoriety. There were the album covers she designed: for Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds, to name but a few. There were the men she seduced: Jim Morrison, Ed Ruscha, Harrison Ford, to name but a very few.

Then, at nearly thirty, her It girl days numbered, Babitz was discovered—as a writer—by Joan Didion. She would go on to produce seven books, usually billed as novels or short story collections, always autobiographies and confessionals. Under-known and under-read during her career, she’s since experienced a breakthrough. Now in her mid-seventies, she’s on the cusp of literary stardom and recognition as an essential—as the essential—LA writer. Her prose achieves that American ideal: art that stays loose, maintains its cool, and is so sheerly enjoyable as to be mistaken for simple entertainment.

For Babitz, life was slow days, fast company until a freak fire in the 90s turned her into a recluse, living in a condo in West Hollywood, where Lili Anolik tracked her down in 2012. Anolik’s elegant and provocative new book is equal parts biography and detective story. It is also on dangerously intimate terms with its subject: artist, writer, muse, and one-woman zeitgeist, Eve Babitz.

It seems like two summers ago, everyone on Bookstagram and on book Twitter was talking about Eve Babitz. The more I read about her from the people I followed, the more I wanted to know who she was through her writing. I purchased Sex & Rage in the fall of 2017 (and, shamefully, still haven’t read it), and I bought Eve’s Hollywood this past fall at Strand Bookstore in New York City while I was there visiting a friend. I read Eve’s Hollywood from the end of November to December last year, and I simultaneously wanted to devour that book in a day and savor it over all time. I finally understood why everyone was talking about Eve Babitz (again).

Babitz is an enigma. She’ll make you fall in love with her Los Angeles, and she’ll make you fall in love with her, all while keeping you at an arm’s length so you can’t help but want to listen to everything she has to say. Lili Anolik’s fascination with Eve Babitz, her life, and writing, turned into a Vanity Fair article that was later expanded into Hollywood’s Eve. I read Anolik’s Hollywood’s Eve in a single sitting. I picked it up, read a few chapters, and did what I had to do for the day quickly so that I could spend the rest of my afternoon completely engrossed in Anolik’s discovery, research, and eventual personal connection with Babitz.

I really enjoyed Anolik’s emulation of Babitz’s style, mixing in personal experience with the subject at hand. I find for certain biographies, this style works well, because a writer is able to add in personal anecdotes about people and places that would seem out of place in a more “formal” biography. I learned a lot about Hollywood in the 60s and 70s through Eve’s Hollywood and Hollywood’s Eve that I’ve not really seen or read discussed anywhere else — like the bits about the Didions and Harrison Ford. Sometimes for me, who has only recently begun to dive into the behind-the-scenes stories of a Hollywood that’s gone, it’s a little jaw-dropping to see so many well-known faces know having those connections back then. That knowledge adds so much depth to the writing and film I’ll consume from that point forward, you know?

Eve Babitz is not often likeable, but she is an incredible observer and writer. I thoroughly enjoyed the small part Anolik included that contrasted Eve with her sister Mirandi because it added so much more understanding to Eve as a person. Over the years I’ve read a lot more about and by “difficult” women, women who sometimes behave in ways that men do and the men are praised for it (or have their actions conveniently brushed aside) while the women are villainized or shamed for it? And why? Because they’re women? I’m still confronting that within myself and realizing the best thing I can do is listen, absorb, and pay attention. And maybe be more like Babitz myself.

Thank you to Scribner for sending me a copy of Hollywood’s Eve to review! All opinions are my own.