Every year, I set a goal of how many books I intend to read, and every year, I fall a bit short. The goal for 2018 was 12 books. One per month – and yet, I fell shy of my goal. It wasn’t an overly ambitious goal. In fact, it was barely modest.
Oh well. There’s always next year! I’m increasing my goal, too. There’s no good reason why I don’t read more – plenty of lame excuses, sure, but no valid reasons. There are books in the queue and my ‘want to read’ list on Goodreads (my account is here), and the only thing stopping me from reading them is me. I also have this bad habit of reading multiple books at once – at last count, it’s at 27 – I’ll eventually finish them, it just takes awhile.
Below are the books I read/completed in 2018, in no particular order:
Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami
Japanese poet/author Haruki Murakami published his Q&A’s and conversations with famed former Boston Symphony conductor Seiji Ozawa over a two-year period, discussing music, opera, conducting, performing, the whole ball of wax. You’re the fly-on-the-wall in this book, listening in on conversations between two cultural geniuses. As a classical music aficionado, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Nethereal (Soul Cycle #1) by Brian Niemeier
A space opera science fiction novel, with some weird ideas and imaginative world building. When it’s good, it’s great. It lags in several spots, where it gets a bit meh. Exposition was inconsistent, but I’m hoping the subsequent novels improve (a four-part series) on the themes, character development, and ideas.
The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis
I may reread this in 2019 – short, but deep. Lewis explores courage, honor, and the virtue of recognizing the objective reality of the good, true, and beautiful beyond how they make us feel. Lewis’ profound wisdom shows why he remains one of the 20th century’s greatest writers.
The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times by Jean-Charles Nault
Whew, this book was fantastic, yet tough to read – because I see how acedia has crept into areas of my life, insidiously, without even noticing. Acedia, or sloth, is not laziness, but the sin of being weary of the good, of what’s virtuous. It’s the pointless busyness to avoid doing what’s necessary for salvation. The exposition into the Desert Fathers and St Thomas Aquinas is in depth, and the final section of the book deals with defeating acedia in your particular calling/vocation. May reread it in 2019.
Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown
[My Goodreads review] I fell in love with Brene Brown after watching her ‘Vulnerability’ TED talk, and thoroughly enjoyed her book “Daring Greatly”. Brene’s style is easy on the ears, and I appreciate her authenticity and command of her research and conclusions. I can see us flinging back beers and having a laugh filled evening – she is that approachable.
As was this book. She presents the readers with challenges: to be courageous in your own skin; to be “fierce but kind”; to lean in to your pain and joy, and not be ashamed of either. This book has given me more to think about, and to identify where in my life and in my relationships changes have to be made. I’ll go back to this as I do with “Daring Greatly”.
No Shred of Evidence by Charles Todd
You had me at “an Ian Rutledge mystery”. This series of Scotland Yard mysteries, set in post WW I England, is Agatha Christie with better characters and fewer adverbs. Ian Rutledge is a broken man, stricken with “shell shock” that he must keep secret, which manifests itself as the “voice” of the Scot lieutenant he was forced to execute at the Sommes during wartime, living in his head, taunting him. A complex character suffering with his condition, all the while solving baffling crimes. I listened to this on Audible, with Simon Prebble as narrator – he did a fantastic job, and brought every character to life.
The Gatekeeper by Charles Todd
What can I say – I like this series. Again, listened on Audible with Simon Prebble. I have yet to be disappointed with any Ian Rutledge Mystery novel.
Through Darkest Zymurgia!: A Ripping Yarn by William H Duquette
[My Goodreads review] A modern Victorian tale of exploration with equal parts humor, whimsy, subtlety, and magic, combining to produce a fun tale of wit and adventure.
N.B. – Will Duquette is a fellow member of The Catholic Conspiracy, writing at Zymurgia House. Check out his other blog and other books!
Monster Hunter: Vendetta by Larry Correia
The ultimate in brain candy fun, at least for me – a privately held company unwillingly working in conjunction with a secret US government agency to hunt down monsters, boogeymen, and evil creatures of every stripe. Not for everyone – violent, liberal use of profanity. But creative and funny. This is the second in a series. Adding Book 3 to my 2019 list.
Can We Be Friends? by Rebecca Frech
[My Amazon review] Rebecca’s book on finding your people and making/being friends is timely in an age where loneliness, despite the immediacy of social media, has become epidemic. Reading the book is effortless, as if you’re sitting at her kitchen table or neighborhood bar, chatting over a cup of coffee or a couple beers. An enjoyable, worthwhile read – and I hope she gets around to writing more books!
n.b. – Rebecca is also a fellow member (and co-founder) of TCC, writing at Backwards in High Heels. Check out her blog, too!
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