Wednesday, December 26, 2018

My Favorite Books of 2018

I fell a few books short of my reading goal for this year, completing only 32 of the 40 I pledged to read.  But then I've been busy getting ready for retirement and travel.  If not for the long commute to work and audio books, I probably would not have even come this close.

My last book read this year was Michelle Obama's autobiography Becoming. It is simply marvelous! Starting with her life growing up in the south side of Chicago, it takes you through her childhood, education, meeting and marrying her husband and starting a family, right through her time as First Lady. It is not a book about Barak Obama, but about her and her struggles raising a family in the public eye.

I read a lot of non-fiction, mostly biographies, and this year was no different. This year I read eight non-fiction books, including two about the Trump White House. But my favorite non-fiction book of the year was Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon, first published in 1982. I'm sure my love of this book is due to my soon to be nomadic life, but even if I wasn't travelling, this book was just so genuine in its portrayal of the people found throughout out country. When push came to shove, it squeaked out ahead of Michelle Obama's book for my favorite non-fiction read of the year.

Being a writer, I have a lot of writer friends, and this summer was the summer of my friends, catching up on some of my favorite series written by some of my favorite people such as Matt Coyle, James Ziskin and Glen Erik Hamilton. All worth reading. I'm all caught up now on their wonderful series, except for the very latest.

I also read a lot of short fiction this year, such as short story anthologies and novellas. My favorite short fiction for 2018 was the novella Cleaning Up Flynn, written by my friend Sarah M. Chen.

And now on to full-length fiction. Two novels really stood out from the others. One was She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper. The other Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. So different from each other, yet both powerful in their own right. For the winner in my favorite fiction read of 2018, I must go with Long Way Down. This book, written in verse, is haunting and amazing in its depth and simplicity. From the moment I read it, I knew it would make this list.

Wishing you all a 2019 filled with favorite books. Or maybe discover some new authors.

So many books, so little time!

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