Time for my annual summary of reading from the year just past. [I've been tracking my books for 26 years -- 1,658 in all.] I read 94 books in 2018, the most in one year since 1996 and fourth most ever.
Of those 94, beginning with the children’s classic Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury (bottom row) and ending with a travel guide to Kauai (top left), 44 were fiction. That’s probably a personal record, since I usually read mostly non-fiction. My reading was partly influenced by idle time following surgery during the summer. I intentionally prepared for my leave with stacks of fiction -- mostly Agatha Christie (10) and David Baldacci (7). Christie was my father’s favorite writer and although I had seen her works made into plays and movies, I had never read any of her books myself. So this was catch-up. Baldacci I’ve read before and usually enjoy the pacing and action.
Even with 44 fiction titles, I still managed to get a variety of non-fiction into the mix. The most unexpected was one describing how to perform weddings -- something I did for my daughter in August.
Among my 2018 favorites…
Most enjoyable science book: Still Waters (the ecology of lakes). Four favorite histories: Lincoln’s Last Trial, Rise and Fall of Alexandria, Three Days in Moscow, and the civil rights graphic trilogy March. Three most interesting non-fiction reads: Grocery (about the history, economics, and operations of a modern supermarket), Smart Fat (about nutrition), and Never Lost Again (about the creation and development of Google Maps and Google Earth). Most laughs: Springfield Confidential. (Yes, I’m still laughing about the Texas Cheesecake Depository.) Most enjoyable kids book (and most emotional read of the year due to nostalgia): Winnie the Pooh. I read all three original Pooh books in 2018. I also enjoyed Secret of the Sealed Room, a young Ben Franklin-based kid’s mystery fiction. I read a second Franklin-inspired kid’s book (Ben Franklin’s in My Bathroom) which was just plain goofy. Most enjoyable sci-fi: Arthur C Clarke’s Rama. Most enjoyable mystery: Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
I read (or re-read) several adult classics this year by such lofty authors as Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson, Mark Twain, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Jules Verne, and Thomas Hardy, but none of them clicked for me. I read only two Northwest books. That’s VERY unusual for me. Of those, the most interesting was Oregon’s Manila Galleon about the fabled Beeswax Wreck on the Oregon Coast.