This year I have listened to or read some books. Some of them were great, some may have been considered great but felt like a slog to me to get through. Below is the entire list from this past 12 months but before I get to that, here are my favorites of 2018.
Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. This book, though 80 years old didn’t feel dated to me at all, a sign of a true classic. I highly recommend it.
This one is tougher because I read or listened to so many good nonfiction books this year. I think my favorite has to be Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling. If you, like me, look at what the media reports, it may make you think that things are going to hell in a handbasket throughout the world. But in fact, things throughout the world (and even in our own country) have in many ways, never been better. If that sounds crazy, I highly recommend you read or listen to this one that uses charts, figures, and factfulness. Besides sharing the good news, it provides ways to look at the stories and numbers the media presents in a way that will allow you to read through the lines and better understand the context of the information. As the book frequently says, things can be bad and at the same time, getting better – and that is worth celebrating.
A really close runner up is the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. If you have never read this, you are in for a treat (it is a short book but tremendous). While I had read it previously many years ago for school, I had forgotten how powerful his testimony is.
Robinson Crusoe. This 300 year old book was a complete slog to get through and worse, the ending was weak. This is one of the most widely read books in the English language – I’d recommend you pass.
The List of Books:
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream: Stories – Harlan Ellison
Methuselah’s Children – Robert A. Heinlein
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House – Michael Wolff
H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection
Friday – Robert A. Heinlein
I Sing the Body Electric – Ray Bradbury
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass – Frederick Douglass
The Death of Ivan Ilyich – Leo Tolstoy
The Island of Dr. Moreau – HG Wells
The White People – Arthur Machen – Note: this is probably not what you are thinking it is about.
Notes From the Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – Matthew Desmond
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos – Jordan Peterson
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think – Hans Rosling
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol Dweck
The Great Halifax Explosion – John U. Bacon
Babbitt – Sinclair Lewis
Fear: Trump in the White House – Bob Woodward
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. – Ron Chernow
Einstein: His Life and Universe – Walter Isaacson
The Coddling of the American Mind – Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff
Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped – Garry Kasparov
Books I Failed to Continue for a Variety of Reasons
Tale of Two Cities
Harry Potter (First One)
Red Sparrow: A Novel
Enlightenment Now – Steven Pinker
In 2019, I’m looking forward to another good year reading/listening. Let me know if you have books you recommend I read. Happy New Year!