My Favorite Books from 2018

I read thirty-six books this year from lots of different genres. I’m including the books that I found particularly helpful, fun, and/or thought-provoking on here.

  • Poetry:  I read a good portion of Mary Oliver’s Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse. I plan to finish it this year. It helped me better appreciate the other poetry books that I read. 
    • Felicity by Mary Oliver focused on love and was quite short. I especially enjoyed the poem, “The Pond.”  
    • I adored Pablo Neruda’s poetry collection, Extravagaria. The volume had both Spanish and English versions side-by-side. “Autumn Testament” was perfect for how I was feeling about a death in my family. 
  • Fantasy:  
    • I started out  2018 with a re-read of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and loved it’s look at objectification. It’s such a lovely fairy-tale.
    • I’ve been savoring the Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett for well over a decade. This year, I read Carpe Jugulum and The Fifth Elephant. Carpe Jugulum was in the witches series and explored religion and faith.  I particularly found it helpful because it dealt with the tensions that we have within us based on our intuition versus our rational minds.  We are at our best when we integrate them. I struggle with this so I found his view thought-provoking. 
    • Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver was fantastic! I’d highly recommend it.
    • I just finished Lies Sleeping (Peter Grant #7), and Ben Aaronovitch continues to tell a compelling story.  This is the only urban fantasy story I read this year.
  • Self-help/Philosophy/Religious/Christianity: I didn’t expect to read many books in this category this year, but they were really helpful dealing with loss, as well as managing life in a busy society.
    • Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations: With Selected Correspondence was a helpful look at stoic philosophy
    • Anne Lamott’s Almost Everything: Notes on Hope was helpful in a challenging year. 
    • I discovered Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, “The Next Right Step.” It’s a Christian podcast, and her books come from a Christian perspective, although much of the advice could be helpful to anyone. I tore through both of her books. She is about my age and lives in North Carolina, too, so I find her topics relevant and helpful.
      • “Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World”
      • “A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live.”
    • When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Kushner
    • Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor really changed my perspective on the dark. Her book is about darkness from all kinds of perspectives: physical, psychological, and spiritual. 
  • Miscellaneous: 
    • I read two books in the George Smiley Karla Trilogy. I adored them and wrote a blog post on the first one.  I can’t wait to finish the trilogy in 2019.
    • Gmorning, Gnight: Little Pep Talks for Me and You by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jonny Sun.  I’m not finished with this one yet, but it works great as a bedtime and wake up devotional.  I really look forward to them.  The pictures are cute!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Fantasy, poetry, Psychology

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