No, not beach reads. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Revived from my Thanksgiving food coma, my family made our almost annual trek to the beach for off-season rates on a boardwalk-front room, rainy trips to the arcade (we can all agree on skee ball), and reading to the tune of some pretty good surf (or so I was told).

With November and its captive, NaNoWriMo, losing their grip, I turn to logging some of my best reads of 2018, including Ohio Poet Laureate Dave Lucas’s book of poems called Weather, which (trust me) is a perfect name for a collection including many place poems set in Northeast Ohio. (More on this poet soon, I hope.)

Seems I’m “on” again with poetry, a reading practice which helps the fiction flow. But I haven’t stopped mooning over my fave novel I read this year, Amor Towles’s A Gentleman in Moscow, which I talked about here. (Expecting some kind of twice-tolling timepiece this year, Santa!)

So when my favorite writing- and book-blogger from New Zealand, Kim at Writer Side of Life, asked for 2018 fave books, I couldn’t resist singing the praises of that very Gentleman. Here is Kim’s entire list of Bloggers’ Picks: Best Reads of 2018, which includes historical and modern novels, the literary and popular, a memoir and even a murder. Of that list, I’ve read three–including Charles Frazier’s Varina, which I talked about here and Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, which I…um…didn’t. What would you add to this Best Reads list? Comment here or on my Facebook page.

And since we’re heading into gifting season, what are your fave books to gift–for children and adults?

*For those of you who pay attention to my nonsense, my new muse in stone (likely actually Zeus or Heracles/Hercules) has been (diplomatically) dubbed: Grateful Edgar deVacca and titled muse of resourceful NaNo writers everywhere. (More on NaNo lessons learned coming soon…)

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13 thoughts on “Rounding Up the Best Reads of 2018

  1. I have The Gentleman of Moscow on my read list. Didn’t get to it this year though. I did exceed my Goodreads reading challenge though. Happy about that since last year I neglected reading in favor of writing which was a mistake!

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    1. Congrats on exceeding your reading challenge goal! There’s just so much good stuff out there. I also find it a challenge to balance reading and writing, and am finding poetry just the right thing to tackle as I work on my new manuscript. I wonder if you’ve come across good poetry written during WWI, and btw, so enjoyed your post on the famous Red Baron!

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      1. Oh yes! The war poets. I have a collection of poetry called Men Who March Away. It includes the likes of Yeats, Owen and Sassoon – some of the most moving pieces I’ve ever read. That is a good idea – reading poetry. Inspirational without being distracting. And thank you regarding the Red Baron!

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    1. Way to read, Ritu! Congrats! I didn’t set one. I’m a read-around-er–whatever helps the writing, feeds the blog, provides background for the WIP. (Thought _A Gentleman…_ was a total pleasure read.) I should at least keep a # tally. Maybe in 2019! What’s your book # goal for next year?

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      1. Well Goodreads sets a 50 book goal and you can adjust it. I thought last year I couldn’t do it so said 25… Read over 30.
        This year old put 30 and have read 61 so far! 🤪
        I think I’ll put 50… And see where that pushes me!!!

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  2. Gentleman my favorite of the year. Then I read Towles’ book Rules for Civility which is very good. Just read a Chicago writer, Kathleen Rooney—Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk. (She has a small press, also writes flash fiction). It is divine. Manhattan is the other main character of the novel. Told in the first person, Lillian at 85 in 1984 NYC.

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    1. There were just so many moments in _A Gentleman…_ when I had to re-read the sentence or paragraph because it was so pretty–all of it, the language, the characters. Need to read his _Rules…_. Just followed Rooney on Twitter–and she does “Poems While You Wait” too, so very cool! Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. I liked it, but didn’t enjoy it as much as her _The Nightingale_. I listened to it, which makes a difference, I think. I really enjoyed her descriptions of the Alaskan landscape in the 70s and I thought the female characters were fairly well-developed; I enjoyed the strange and complicated relationship between the mother and daughter. I did think the father/husband character was a little flat. It was certainly a compelling plot and the author deserves major kudos for the lightening-fast pacing in such a long book. But, that said, I thought it could have ended in about 5 spots, earlier than when it did end. There again, listening to it, I didn’t have a good sense of how far into the story I was, and I kept thinking it was wrapping up–until another disaster befell those poor female characters. Definitely entertaining, but not one I need to revisit. Now, I’m going to have to look and see what you thought about it! I’ll tell you, I will never visit Alaska in the winter!

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