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It has been a weird year, full of good things (book!) and bad things (yesterday my doctor told me that there was a chance that my brain could herniate sometime in the next 60 years!) and I am really tuckered out.

At the moment I’m working on page proofs for The Daughters (are you getting excited yet? Galleys are soon!) and drafting new material for my next book, and doing my day job, and so instead of coming up with a bunch of new material here, I wanted to just share an essay I published yesterday on the Tin House Open Bar blog (thanks Tin House!), just in case you didn’t see it in yesterday’s Twitter blitz.

The essay looks at Marilynne Robinson’s Iowa novels (Gilead, Home, and the newest, Lila) as well as some history from my own family, and uses both those lenses to consider the origins and meaning of suffering. It’s called “One of Us is a Mystery: Marilynne Robinson and the Cosmology of Perdition” and you can read it now, you lucky thing.

Oh, and you want to know about some great books I read this year? Ok. In the spirit of the Season of the Signal Boost, here is a non-comprehensive list!

Submergence, by J.M. Ledgard
Ghana Must Go, by Taiye Selasi
Lila, by Marilynne Robinson (Obviously)
Citizen, by Claudia Rankine
The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters (ghost story!)
My Brilliant Friend & The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
(yes, the third book is on my to-read list!)
Galore, by Michael Crummey
Vivian Apple at the End of the World, by Katie Coyle
2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino
An Untamed State, by Roxane Gay
The Empathy Exams, by Leslie Jamison
Boleto, by Alyson Hagy
What I Had Before I Had You, by Sarah Cornwell
The From-Aways, by C.J. Hauser
Bough Down, by Karen Green

PS: In case you’re worried, my brain is tip-top at the moment! Not herniated a bit. So let’s all calm down.