What I've Read So Far: Q1 2018

Katie Breen
Saturday, March 17, 2018
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During my interview with Washington Post writer Julia Carpenter last April about the untold stories of female change-makers throughout history, we ended up geeking out about books...a lot. 

So much so that fans of the podcast asked if I would make a recommended reading list, like the ones Bill Gates puts out at the end of every year. Well, I said that I would...but that was almost a year ago and I had sort of forgotten about it. 

So to make it up to all you reading queens (and kings) out there, here's the list of what I've read in the first three months of 2018 (Q1). You'll notice a lot of strong female leads, oppressed groups rising above their obstacles, and historical fiction. Shocking, I know.

A couple of disclaimers:

- If the book made it in front of me in the first place, it came either recommended by friends or highly acclaimed by critics. So they're all good. I haven't rated anything less than 4 out of 5 stars.

- I would write you a brief synopsis of each, but Amazon does a better job.

- These are in no particular order, although the last one on the list, Atul Gawande's "Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters," was by far the most impactful of those I've read in even the last few years. It happens to be the only non-fiction book I've read so far this year. In fact, it's the only non-historical fiction book I've read this year. At least I'm consistent.

- No, I'm not reading about current events right now. That would be stressful. Books are supposed to be an escape. ;)

Without further ado...

1. People of the Book, Geraldine Rogers (incredible amount of Jewish + religious history, spanning centuries and continents)

2. Pachinko, Min Jin Lee (learned a ton about the Japanese occupation of Korea, and how terribly the Japanese treated and discriminated against Koreans)

3. The Color Purple, Alice Walker (early 20th century American South)

4. The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd (1830s Charleston, South Carolina)

5. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (you can guess)

6. Forever, Pete Hamill (NYC, spanning from 1600s to today; a must-read if you live in or love NYC)

7. The Boston Girl, Anita Diamant (early 20th century Boston)

8. Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate (state-sponsored kidnapping of poor white kids in the early 20th century American South for adoption by wealthy white families)

9. Rules of Civility, Amor Towles (1920s New York City)

10. Shanghai Girls, Lisa See (early 20th century China and U.S.)

11. Dreams of Joy, Lisa See (early Communist China!)

12. Last Train to Instabul, Ayse Kulin (I thought I knew a TON about WWII, particularly as it concerns the Holocaust, but this book taught me about the incredible role that Turkey played in getting its Jewish citizens out of Nazi-occupied Europe.)

13. Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly (WWII)

14. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande (non-fiction; must-read)

Happy reading! Don't forget to protect your eye-balls!