Books on GIF #66 — What Should I Read in 2018?


I'm hoping you can help me prioritize some books for 2018. I pulled a bunch off my ever-growing bedside stack to see what you wanted me to review first. Vote in the poll! 

I'll report back to you guys on Twitter, so follow me to find out what you chose. 

'Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay' by Elena Ferrante
Long-time readers of Books on GIF know that I LOVE Ferrante. I've reviewed the first two novels in her Neapolitan series, 'My Brilliant Friend' and 'The Story of a New Name,' as well as her early work, 'The Days of Abandonment.' I've also reviewed the book 'Ties' by Ferrante's alleged husband. I can't wait to get back into the world of Lila and Lenu. Want me to review this? Vote here!

'Pachinko' by Min Jin Lee
I picked this up at The Strand recently, and I don't know anything about it other than that it was a National Book Award finalist, and it is often displayed at the front of book stores. Junot Diaz describes it on the cover as 'A powerful meditation on what immigrants sacrifice to achieve a home in the world.' Interested? Vote here!

'The Vorrh' by Brian Catling
This book was recommended by Caroline, who sent an email to say the book is 'OUT THERE' (emphasis original). I had already picked it up beforehand, attracted by the following back-cover blurb: 'Few books rearrange the molecules of your being, turning your eyes inside out.' This work of science-fiction also comes with nods from Terry Gilliam and Alan Moore. Sign me up! Vote here!

'Gravity's Rainbow' by Thomas Pynchon
This book has sat unread all the way at the bottom of my bedside pile for at least two years. Figured it was time to unearth this classic that I somehow first heard about when it was referenced in that LCD Soundsystem documentary from a few years back. I'm a little concerned about this book, to be honest. I read Pynchon's 'Inherent Vice' and didn't love it. Didn't love the movie, either. But I'm ready to try to love this! Vote here!

'A Gathering of Shadows' by V. E. Schwab
So I didn't know anything about this book when I bought it, I just liked the cover with the flying woman and the knives. Turns out, I'm dumb and have proven once again you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover because I just learned this is BOOK TWO in a series. UGH! Have any of you read a series out of order? Should I? Or dump it until I read book one first? Vote here!

'My Struggle' by Karl Ove Knausgaard
I enjoyed Knausgaard's 'A Time for Everything,' even though it was recommended by someone who no longer subscribes to BoG. BOO! Anyway, I've had this face staring at me for a few years now, and my understanding is that this is a book every man should read. Is that right? Do you want to know if that's true? Vote here!

'SPQR' by Mary Beard
Rome! Donna and I LOVED the city when we went there a few years ago. It's a place full of art, beauty and history. When I backpacked through Europe 15 years ago, I brought along the first volume of Edward Gibbon's 'The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' and found it to be too dense for a travel read. So I never got all the way through it, even though I find Roman history to be fascinating. I've heard nothing but good things about Beard's book, so I'm reading it this year one way or another. Vote here!

'Personal History' by Katharine Graham
I wanted to read this book when it came out 20 years ago, but I didn't and then I forgot about it. I was reminded of 'Personal History' when I was reading 'Avid Reader' by Robert Gottleib, who has a section about working with Graham on her book. When I mentioned to Donna my wanting to read this, she went out and bought it for me because she is awesome. I'm about 250 pages in, and I'm enjoying it. I can't wait to tell you guys about it, when you're ready, of course. Vote here!

That's the list! Here's the link to the poll once again. 

If you have additional suggestions, write me at or just hit reply.

Guys, I really appreciate your support for Books on GIF this year. To you all, I say: 
** If you enjoyed this newsletter, please forward it to a friend. **

What's next? I'm taking a few weeks off to prepare for 2018, but I aim to return on Sunday, Jan. 7 with the book you chose. Until then, enjoy the holidays and Happy New Year!

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Thanks for reading!*


* Thanks especially to Donna for copy editing this review!