Tell me what you have read and I’ll tell you where your interests lie. Each year I find that my reading lists grow longer and longer, pushing myself to read just one more book. This last year I was on a plane returning from Boston, and using every last minute of the year to reach my goal of reading 65 books.
I admit this was a totally arbitrary number I set for myself and had my doubts of reaching my goal. I started plenty of books I abandoned, picked up novels I could not set aside and, primarily, rediscovered that there is nothing better than spending time, curled up on a couch and reading a book.
I won’t bore you with details on each book I read, but here are my top 9 books from 2018.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
This is a great book for those who love family stories, adventure and the great outdoors. If you read, or watched the movie, Into the Wild and had dreams of running off to Alaska- this is a book for you. I want to say I cried for the last 50 or so pages of the book, but cry seems like such an understatement. This gives nothing away to the reader, just have tissues at hand.
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster
The decisions you make in your life all have an impact on your future, no matter how small or grand the decision may be. 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster was a Man Booker longlist finalist and one of the most memorable from the year. I can’t help but be fascinated by stories of individuals, how they grow up, and what makes them so unique from one another. This was no exception and the stories within the stories were a real treat.
Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
I’m a huge Haruki Murakami fanatic, so it only makes sense that he has his own category award. Killing Commendatore contains all of the quintessential “Murakamisms”, from wells, soothing practice of cooking, analysis of music and that fantastical realism element that makes the books almost too far off to believed. Or can they? Loved that this book surrounded an artist in the mountains of Japan. I’ll pretty much read anything Murakami writes, but I have to say this was a true delight.
Memory Man series by David Baldacci
Mysteries, thrillers and a murder are true guilty pleasures of mine and I read about a dozen or so of these books in 2018. This was a series recommended to me by a coworker, and I became pretty enamored with Amos Decker, almost instantly. Memory Man by David Baldacci is the first book in the series, of which I read all available to the public in 2018. Amos has a perfect memory recall as a result of a life threatening tackle in his days as a football player, which can be his greatest asset and flaw. Each book was timely in the manner of which they describe community life of which the murders have taken place. Maybe a little far fetched at times, but thrilling and captivating all the same!
Leonardo DaVinci by Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson has to be my favorite biographer, and his approach to Leonardo daVinci was one of the best. Not only does Isaacson tell the story of Leonardo’s life, but he obsesses over the very curiosities that daVinci obsessed over in his own life. Pages upon pages dedicated to the books and notes of observation Leonardo recorded throughout his life, and an examination of how long it took for Leonardo to truly “complete” a piece of work. Additional thanks for sharing exactly how a hummingbird unfurls his tongue.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
If there is a consistent theme through my top 9 list, you could say I am a sucker for a great family story. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng was my favorite of her novels to date, and I think it has something to do with the understanding of an outsider on the inside workings of a family. This is your typical “suburban household meets outsider who helps them understand what is most important” yet the story feels unique all the same.
Circe by Madeline Miller
Mythology, especially of the Greeks, has long been a fascination and Circe by Madeline Miller was an excellent tie between the classic heroes and a telling of a less than remarked upon figure from Homer’s The Odyssey. Her ability to convey the feelings of the witch and her story line sparked a curiosity to dive deeper into familiar stories and hear the tales from the less than famous figures still found directly in the action. Several copies were given to family this past year for Christmas!
Page to Screen
A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I have yet to see the television show and even after reading The Handmaid’s Tale I’m not entirely convinced I should. Dystopian fiction has never been a fascination of mine, in fact I tend to shy away from it. As we move into a society more entrenched with technology, an evolving family life and a broader divide between individuals in society this Dystopian category doesn’t seem that far from fiction.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
A year in hardcore sales has finally driven me to the business and non-fiction category of the library. Atomic Habits by James Clear was a great reminder that incremental progress does add up in the long run and a reminder to keep pushing myself day in an day out. Even if only 1% more each day.
That’s the round up of my top nine books that I read in 2018, which absolutely kept me busy amidst my normal life. If you like the recommendations and want to see what else I read, feel free to check out the full 2018 list here.
What did you read in 2018 and what do you have on your list for 2019?