I read 64 books in 2018, almost doubling what I read in 2017. I recently did a post on my favorite books, but here I’m looking back at just what I’ve read this year (two overlap.)
Going through the list of books I read made me realize I have weird reading habits, like how I have a tendency to finish a book and pick up another just like it. Example: if I read an against-all-odds survival story, I’ll read another right after. (You’ll see a lot of those on the list below.)
Here are the books I’m happy to have picked up this year and what made me love them:
Cathedral by Raymond Carver
– Simple, honest storytelling.
Night by Elie Wiesel
– Wiesel’s Holocaust survival story is haunting, and he’s painfully truthful about it.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
– One of the most inspiring true stories I’ve read.
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
– Fascinating play. Mob rule against reason.
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
– McCullough has a way with telling a historical narrative that isn’t bland.
Denali’s Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America’s Wildest Peak by Andy Hall
– This book prompted me to write a poem I personally consider my best. A selfish reason to love it, but it was beautifully descriptive as well.
The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
– I never would have thought I’d enjoy a book about an old man…fishing in the sea.
The Spell of The Yukon and Other Verses by Robert Service
– Intriguing and lovely (especially for anyone interested in the Yukon.)
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
– A true-to-life portrayal of the human character. We are who we are because of others.
Persuasion by Jane Austen
– Her most mature work, in my opinion.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
– Not just a story about a monster. Philosophical. Interesting storytelling done through letters. (Like Dracula was.)
Appalachia by Charles Wright
– Just discovered his work and already buying another volume of his poems.
A few I could have done without reading this year:
These aren’t awful books, but I could have better spent my time.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
– I’d considered myself an introvert before reading this, now I’m convinced that introversion and extroversion are just boxes that people put you in. This book coddles.
What It is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes
– Not bad, I’ve just read so much better war recollections.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
– Could have left this as an essay, no need for a full book.
Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Joan Druett
– Again, not bad, I’ve just read so much better survival stories. This one was on the brink of boring.
Any reading goals or a specific book you want to read in the coming year? At the beginning of 2018 I wrote down that I wanted to finish War and Peace sometime during the year…
…and well I read the introduction a few weeks ago. However, I am planning on picking it up at the beginning of January. We’ll see how that goes.
There are books you choose, and books people choose for you. In the category of doing a lot of books on the same theme, I’m 36 of 38 through my “read a Shakespeare play a month” challenge.
Now, three friends have given or lent me books I feel obliged to read, namely Eugene Vale’s “The Thirteenth Apostle,” Leonora Carrington’s “The Hearing Trumpet,” and Michael Ondaatje’s “In the Skin of a Lion.” So those are all on my fast-track reading list for 2019.
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