People like to use the end of the year to reflect on all sorts of things. They reflect about their weight loss (or gain); they reflect about the fun they had during the year or the money they made (or lost), etc. I like to reflect on….books! Of course! And Goodreads makes it really easy to do so. Apparently in my reading challenge this year, I committed to reading 60 books and I read…106. In my next post, I’ll list all 106 for you.
Here, what I’d like to do instead, is to list 18 of my favorite books from 2018. Now, these aren’t necessarily the best books I’ve ever read – but according to my Goodreads scores, these were the books that I read during 2018 that I rated the highest. I’m just going to offer a one sentence summary or observation about each, since you can find anything you want to know on Amazon or Goodreads. Here we go.
Harry’s Trees: Harry Crane gives up everything in order to find real happiness, and that happiness definitely doesn’t arrive where he thinks it will.
The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell: Sam is born with a birth defect that colors everything in his life. This is his story.
The Flicker of Old Dreams: Yep, this is about a woman who works in a mortuary. Sounds uplifting, right? But it’s really quite lovely.
Pocketful of Names: Joe Coomer was my favorite author find this year. His books are typically character studies. They are quiet,thoughtful and beautifully framed around one person living a “small” life; they are gorgeous.
The Great Alone: I’ve never wanted to move to Alaska less than I did after reading this book. This was a nail-biting account of a family that moved, without any resources or thought, to the edge of the world.
How to Stop Time: What would it be like to outlive everyone you’ve ever loved or known? Tom has lived for centuries – but is he to be envied or pitied?
The Story of Arthur Truluv: I am a complete sucker for books about damaged people who develop friendships and where those unlikely friendships take them. Think The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye or A Man Called Ove.
The Man in the Window: More damaged people meeting up. I loved this one.
Turtles All The Way Down: Apparently this is a young adult book – who knew? A powerful look at mental illness and one sweet girl fighting her way to the other side.
The Music Shop: If you are the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye then I will read anything you write – no matter what you write. When you write something this moving, this powerful…you have my full attention forever.
The Keeper of Lost Things What if you held on to random things and wrote stories that you made up about their origin? And those stories somehow connected you to others and brought people into your life, and out of it?
The Alice Network: What a cool story about a network of female spies during World War II. Worth the read.
Unstrung: Nothing earth-shattering here, but a sweet story about love, the power to change and growth.
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: A powerful book about family with a great writing style. Be warned, however, that it gets dark towards the end and has some abuse in it.
The Immortalists: If you knew the date of your death, would you live your life differently? Would you try to avoid your death, and potentially put yourself right into place for it? What a great read!
The Coincidence Makers: This is a sweet little book written by an Israeli and set in Israel. I enjoyed the setting, of course, and also the topic. All of those coincidences that happen in our lives are actually orchestrated by groups of coincidence makers – whose entire lives are spent setting these situations up for us. Loved it.
The Weight of This World: This is a gritty book about uneducated druggies in the Appalachians. It is not for everyone. I hated Breaking Bad and I don’t typically like stories about drugs and druggies, but this was one that stays with you after. I have no intention of reading anything else from this author – but I’m glad I read just one of his books.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky: Pino was an Italian teenager during World War II. The account of what he did to help and how he managed to survive is worth the read.
Happy Reading in 2019! I’d love to hear what you’re reading (and if you end up buying and enjoying any of these books)!