Favorite Books of 2024 So Far

Since we’re officially more than halfway done with the year, I wanted to share my favorite books that I’ve read this year so far. A few disclaimers – they’re in the order that I read them (from January – June), and they didn’t all necessarily come out this year, I just read them this year. I have no scoring or rubric; they’re just my favorites of what I’ve read – typically, they’re the ones that have stuck with me or impacted me the most. And of course, I reserve the right to make changes by the time December rolls around!

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

I am not typically a sci-fi reader (and space kind of overwhelms and scares me!), but so many people I trust told me to read this book – and they were absolutely right. Ryland Grace finds himself on a spaceship, tasked with the mission of saving Earth from something mysterious in the atmosphere – except when he wakes up on the ship, he’s not sure why he’s there or what he’s supposed to do. The story jumps back and forth a bit as Ryland recovers more and more memories, and as he works out how he can save Earth… alone. It sounds overwhelming, but it’s actually heartwarming (though stressful at times!). This is one of those books where the less you know going into it, the more I think you’ll enjoy.

Big Swiss by Jen Beagin

I don’t know exactly how to describe this book – it’s funny, it’s weird, it’s cringe, and it’s so good! Greta has recently moved to a new town, and is working as a transcriptionist for a local sex therapist, Om. She starts to become obsessed with one of his patients, who she nicknames “Big Swiss,” based solely on the sessions that she’s transcribed. One day, Greta runs into Big Swiss in real life, and recognizes her voice. Even though Greta knows she should stay away, she can’t help herself, and creates an alternate identity for herself as she starts a friendship – and then an affair – with Big Swiss. There are so many moments I found myself physically cringing, and felt so nervous for Greta as her lies started to pile up on themselves! But I loved how the story deals with trauma, and relationships, and mental health, and the lies and hidden lives people have. If you don’t like awkward and slightly weird, don’t read this! But if you’re like me and that sounds like exactly what you love to read, I highly recommend this.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

I have been waiting for Xochitl Gonzalez’s second book ever since I read and loved Olga Dies Dreaming, and it did not disappoint. There are two main POVs in this book – Anita de Monte’s, a rising star in the art world who, in 1985, is tragically found dead, and Raquel, an art history student who is working on her thesis while feeling like an outsider as a minority student surrounded by people of privilege. The chapters go back and forth, and Raquel gets into a relationship with a slightly older, wealthy and well-connected man, whose family eventually introduces her to Anita’s work. This sets Raquel down a new path of investigation – how is there this artist who she has never heard of? The story is really all about questions of legacy, and of who is remembered by history – and why and how. There’s just a touch of magic, mixed with the power of being remembered and thought of. I loved it so much! Sometimes books with two points of view are tough, because I find myself much more interested in one than the other, but that wasn’t the case here – both storylines were equally compelling.

Annie Bot by Sierra Greer

This is one of those books that starts out kind of strange, but I ended up loving. Annie Bot is a robot made to be the perfect girlfriend for Doug – her personality and looks are customized exactly to his preferences, which he selected after a bad breakup. But her AI also allows her to learn, and she’s constantly trying to please Doug and learn how to make him happy. But as Annie starts to learn, she starts to realize more about the complexities in life – about what she wants, versus what Doug wants, and about what happiness for her would actually look like. It’s honestly such an intriguing look into AI, and made me feel a little bit weird when I talked to my Alexa device after I finished reading!

Real Americans by Rachel Khong

This is an absolutely incredible generational story, and really stuck with me. The story starts out with the love story between Lily, an unpaid intern at a media company, and Matthew, who sweeps her off her feet and introduces her to how the other half lives. Lily and Matthew fall in love despite being opposites in almost every way, and are happy – until Lily learns something that turns her world upside down. Years later, Nick, after feeling like he’s never quite fit in, decides to try to find his biological father, and ends up learning more than he bargained for. The story beautifully weaves together identity, generational trauma, social and class issues, nature vs. nurture, and so much more. I loved how the different generational pieces fit together perfectly in the end.

The Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune

This book is one of those that just feels so personally perfect to me, and I knew I had to include it. It’s set on Price Edward Island, where Lucy goes to meet her friend Bridget one fateful summer. But before Bridget arrives, Lucy meets Bridget’s brother Felix… except she doesn’t know that this mystery man is her best friend’s brother. After sharing a night together, the two realize their connection to Bridget, and promise to never repeat that night. But both of them keep finding it very hard to keep their promise! This book is full of Anne of Green Gables references, and those books meant so much to me when I was younger (and honestly, they still do today!). Reading it brought me back to the magic of Anne and Avonlea in a new way, and I loved it so much. Pour yourself a glass of vinho verde to enjoy while you read.

The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

This is such a weird little book, but I loved it! Lauren comes home one night to find herself greeted by her husband… a man she has never met before. But there are signs of him all over his place, text messages to and from him, and all her friends know who he is, too. Then he goes up into the attic to change a lightbulb, and when he comes back down the stepladder, it’s a different husband. Lauren kind of feels she’s gotten a little loophole to life – when she gets bored, or wants to change something she just did, she just sends the husband back up and poof, a new one (and a new life) appears. But how do you know which husband is the right husband – and which of your lives is the “right” one – when you don’t have any of the backstory? It’s such a strange yet fascinating thought, and I loved how the book handled it, too. It was a delight to read.

Margo’s Got Money Troubles by Rufi Thorpe

The premise of this book isn’t one that I thought I’d be into, but go in with an open mind, because it’s definitely worth it.Margo is a community college student who has an affair with her professor, gets pregnant, and decides to keep the baby somewhat naively, and because she feels like it’s what a good person would do. Her life is, unsurprisingly, completely changed, and when she struggles to find consistent childcare and loses her waitressing job, she needs a way to make money fast. So she decides to make an OnlyFans, and takes some character-creation ideas from her dad, a pro-wrestler who is newly back in her life. And with the help of TikTok, her OnlyFans takes off! The book is so funny and so insightful about what jobs we value (and don’t) and the lack of support for mothers. It’s also really interesting in the way it plays with the narrative voice and point-of-view, often switching between first- and third-person, which was confusing at first but actually worked really well for the story. I loved this one.

Sociopath by Patric Gagne

This book was incredible. I kept seeing this book everywhere – a real-life account of a sociopath – and I don’t know exactly what I expected, but it wasn’t this. The book was so much better than I ever could’ve anticipated. The book isn’t steamy or wild, or at least not in the ways you’d think. It really is an account of the author’s life as a sociopath – a way to normalize a term that we throw about wildly, and almost often negatively. And yes, some of the things she did surprised me, but only because I can’t imagine doing some of the things she did an attempt to “treat” her own sociopathy, because no real treatment protocols existed. This is a book I think that everyone should read – it gives so much insight into mental health disorders. I listened to the audiobook, which was read by the author, and I highly recommend that.

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