This year, I did not meet any reading goals that I had set, but I did read 18 books. I’ve always been a pretty voracious reader, but this year did not make the time to read. Finding books that I enjoyed was also a problem for me in 2018. I never seemed to pick up the right genre for my mood. This year there is a pile of books for me from every genre that I’ve curated which will hopefully help me over this slump in 2019.
Before we launch into the comprehensive list, if you love lighthearted memoirs, skip to books 7-11. If you want to read the books that inspired my sister’s and my English Literary trip, then check out books 3-6. Finally, if politics and history are your jam then book 2 and books 12-18 are for you. Without any further adieu, here are the books that I read in 2018.
1.Cosmopolitanism : Ethics in a World of Strangers – This book inspects the idea of values and relativism, but with a delightful amount of anecdotes which make it enjoyable. While it isn’t for everyone, I’d recommend it as a thought provoking book which can be finished in a few days.
2. Tears of Salt: A Doctor’s Story – A doctor who treats refugees on Lampedusa, an Italian island which is the first landing place for refugees from Africa and the Middle East desperately trying to reach the European Union, writes his first hand account of the situation as well as his life story. It is heart wrenching but well written. I would suggest this.
3. One Corpse Too Many – (A great audiobook!) This book is set in Medieval Shrewsbury, but it is not boring or old. A suspenseful mystery filled with love, betrayal, and murder, you won’t know how the book is going to end until the very end. The wonderful monk who is at the center of the book, Brother Cadfael, will make you wish you could time travel back just to meet him.
4&5. All Things Bright and Beautiful & All Creatures Great and Small – These two books are from the delightful James Herriot series about a country vet in the Yorkshire Dales. Set in the 1930s and 1940s, these books which are based on Alf Wight aka James Herriot’s real life with his wife Helen and his eccentric boss Siegfried as well as his brother Tristan. Far from boring, these stories are both cozy and hilarious.
6. Pride and Prejudice – I was raised on the six hour BBC mini-series with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. The book is one million times better, and I did not know that was possible. Snark, love, female friendship, and sisterhood are just some of the themes that make this book timeless.
8. The Antelope in the Living Room – Melanie’s ideal night involves Netflix and her husband’s includes watching hunting shows. Needless to say this book in which she expounds on her marriage had me in stitches. Again, no need to be married to enjoy this book.
9. Nobody is Cuter than You – This book tells the stories of friendship in Melanie’s life. This book was both funny and sad. It explores the pain of walking through illness and loss with your friends as well as the hilarious hijinks which ensue when you decide to room with your two best friends during college.
10. Church of the Small Things – Another book by Melanie filled with new stories about her family and seeing God in the little things. I’d read a million more books by her since I’ve been reading her blog off and on since 6th grade and am not over her writing style.
11. One Beautiful Dream – This book is by Jennifer Fulwiler, but follows along well with these stories of family and humor. Jennifer has six kids and is a convert to Catholicism from Atheism. This book is good for laughs and for anyone who feels like everyone around them has their stuff together. Jennifer is anything but put together which is what makes this book so charming.
Ok, this is the Bush family biography section. For some context on why I listened to so many this year, I share an audible account with someone who had all these already purchased. I weirdly enjoyed reading about this family from every angle. More than politics or history, I walked away with a renewed appreciation for family after reading these books.
12. Barbara Bush: A Memoir – As I read about her struggle with depression while she was first lady, I could not help but appreciate the candor with which she approached things. From her childhood in upstate New York, her courtship with the Navy pilot, George Bush, the early years in Texas, all the way to the White House, she retells the story beautifully.
13. Spoken From the Heart by Laura Bush – This book was a lovely peek into a Texas childhood. The rest of the book was interesting as well, and I genuinely enjoyed reading about her life since she is the first First Lady who I remember.
14. 41: A Portrait of My Father – Just as George W. Bush says at the beginning of this book, it is not a impartial book looking back at the life of the president. It is a son telling the story of his father through his eyes. This was a good listen, but it was the last one I listened too so it ended up being a little redundant.
15. Decision Points – This book by George W. Bush is his autobiography, ghost written by one of his speech writers. It is different than other presidential autobiographies that I’ve read, and I enjoyed the style thoroughly.
16. All The Best, George Bush: My life in letters and other writings – This book contains the famous letters of our 41st president organized in a way that tells of his life. The format was interesting, and I enjoyed it. In the audiobook, he has a few different family members read some of the letters so that he is not the only one talking. I am not sure how I felt about that, but you get used to it.
We’re out of the Bush phase, but this is just the beginning of the history and political books.
17. The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order – Heavy on the economic policy, every time this book was about to lose me, it would pull me back in with Russian spies. This book tells the story of how John Maynard Keynes and Harry White brought about the conference of Bretton Woods which created the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. This book isn’t for everyone, but I was so interested and intrigued.
18. The Marshall Plan: Dawn of The Cold War – I had to read this book on a time crunch, but I would have sped through it even if that hadn’t been the case. It was such an interesting telling of our time after World War II and how we ended up at odds with the Russians. I think everyone should read this book because it offers so much insight into our current foreign policy issues.
If you made it to the end of this post, you are a trooper. I loved looking back on what I had read this year and thinking about what I want to read next year. Do y’all keep track of what you read during the year?
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