2018 Reads - Patti

In 2018, 73 potential new friends set up residence on my nightstand; would they find a place in my heart, soul, and mind?

THE DNF (did not finish) rating slammed the door on any potential relationship for four selections, a low number which I believe shows a careful selection process. (I usually follow up on recommendations by folks proven to be like-minded in the quest for reads with solid premises, great prose, and teachable moments; by a scan of the NYT Bestseller list; by Amazon ratings; by Facebook posts; by the random comment at church or the grocery store or Barnes & Noble or a coffee: “Hey! You gotta read this!”

You may not need books to live, as I do, but I share the long list in hopes that you’ll step outside the boundary of your usual genre(s). Who knew, five years ago, that this novelist would gravitate to nonfiction???

My attempt with Angie Reedy to write a true crime book had me picking mysteries, true crime, and social justice volumes. A stint of food/cooking classes brought a half-dozen more. A friend’s illness introduced other titles. Otherwise, the choices are eclectic and unpredictable and were to me mind- and eye-opening. 

Now for the list! The bold titles received, in my rating system (five stars=home run, one star=benched) at least three stars. The must-read selections proudly display their three and a half, four or five stars!

Here’s some potential new friends. If the Lord uses books to renew your mind in 2019, AMEN!

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Why Didn’t They Ask Evans, Christie
Thirteen Problems, Christie. (On hard days, I retreat with Agatha’s simple formula, with Poirot always or Miss Marple always catching the villains!)
A Murder Is Announced, Christie
Devotion, Makos
Murder Is Easy, Christie (Not just a great mystery, but a great romance!)
Song of the Nightingale, Berhane
Understanding And Loving a Person with Borderline Personality Disorder, Arterburn
Iris: Trophy of Grace, Owens
How’s Your Soul? Smith
You Are Not Alone: Hope for Hurting Parents of Troubled Kids, Yohe (Relevant for all of us who have troubled folks in our lives…and if we ARE troubled folks)
****The President’s Club, Gibbs & Duffy (Amazing historical text as seen through the lives of recent U.S. Presidents and their sometimes crazy and unexpected relationships)
Never Unfriended, Baker
In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, Park
Steel Will, Harris
Island of Shame, Vine
***1/2 The Angola Prison Seminary: Effects of Faith-Based Ministry on Identity Transformation, Desistance, and Rehabilitation (Routledge Innovations in Corrections), Hallett and Hays (A book of hope and freedom despite chains and bars through exposure to the Bible)
I Will Love You Forever: A True Story About Finding Life, Hope, and Healing While Caring for Hospice Babies, Salchert and Hering
The Great Divorce, Lewis
Small Sacrifice, Rule (terrific true crime book)
*****Beartown: A Novel, Backman (The brilliant author of A Man Called Ove hits it big again. I never imagined a book set in a hockey-crazed town would grab hold and refuse to let go.)
*****Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, Grann (Brilliant expose of prejudice through a history lesson not in many school textbooks. The surprises keep coming till that last page.)
****The Last Days of Night: A Novel, Moore (Quirky take on a possible scenario behind all those inventions)
The Locus Effect, Haugen
The Great Alone, Hannah
The Just Church, Martin
*****Angle of Repose, Stegner (How many times do I turn to you, o Pulitzer Prize winner? You age like good wine.)
Harry Potter And the Sorcerer’s Stone, Rowling
America’s First Daughter, Dray and Kamoie
Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain (I enjoyed seeing Bourdain through his stories and not the sad headline. Makes you rethink going out to eat.)
Fast Food Genocide, Fuhrman, M.D. (Solid info and great examples in our quest to answer this question: What in the world can I eat to stay healthy?)
Eat Dirt, Axe, M.D. (Yay! Making my own kombucha is worth it…there’s so much more in the book!)
The Hate You Give, Thomas
Beneath a Scarlet Sky, Sullivan
Hungry Ghosts, Previte
Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, Shanahan, M.D.
****How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease, Greger, M.D., Stone (Well-researched, brilliantly organized. Should be read by all who care about taking control of their health.)
Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It, O’Connell
Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge, Dunbar
The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom, Rawicz
The Magician’s Nephew, Lewis (The first in the Narnia series. Fascinating! Page-turner!)
And the Mountains Echoed, Hosseini
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lewis (The Characters pulled me in and won’t let go.)
The Horse and His Boy, Lewis
Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, Bloom
Homegoing, Gyasi (A brilliant new writer tells the story of Ghana through interrelated characters. Raw and full of angst.)
*****Boomtown: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-Class Metropolis, Anderson (Bet you can’t put this one down. Truth is totally stranger than fiction, especially if you’re talking about Okies.)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lewis (A fantastical voyage reminiscent of Pilgrim’s Progress.)
Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry, Zeide (Intellectual without being esoteric. A must-read for those who wanted to understand the history of food in the U.S.)
Allie & Bea, a Novel, Hyde
The Silver Chair, Lewis
The Last Battle, Lewis
The Midwife of Hope River, Harman
The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, Hinton and Hardin. (Great read in preparation for writing our first draft of a true-crime book. Heart-breaking without being sappy.)
Shame Off You, Pass
Just Courage, Haugen
***1/2 Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte. (There’s a reason English teachers assign this read.)
Shirley, Charlotte Bronte
Villette, Charlotte Bronte
The End of Memory, Volf
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are, Stephens-Davidowitz (Fascinating look at what social scientists, computer geeks, and the anonymous creepers out there are doing with computer data.)
****O, Pioneers, Cather (Oh, oh, oh! I cannot WAIT to watch the film!)
This Was Tomorrow, Thane (Delightful old-school romance set in World War II. Sadly, it’s hard to find in print.)
Homing, Thane
Eating NAFTA: trade, Food Policies, and the Destruction of Mexico, Galvez (Another intellectual read that is a must if you want to understand how big business continues to destroy not only our food, but our neighbors…and thus ourselves.)
Christians in the Age of Outrage, Stetzer
The Girl with All the Gifts, Carey (Sci-fi dystopia page-turner that explores deep sociocultural and ethical issues.)
*****The Gospel Comes with a House Key, Butterfield (So…I wish Butterfield was my neighbor, but that won’t happen, so I pray that the Lord will make me a neighbor LIKE Butterfield. Sigh. I wish all my friends would read this. Beautiful prose from the terrific author of Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.)
Two From Galilee, Holmes
Brain Storms: The Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease, Palfreman
The Case of the Frozen Addicts, Langston, Palfreman (Fascinating and most unlikely foray into the world of Parkinson’s disease)
The Alice Network, Quinn
So Big, Ferber (Great portrayal of Chicago in the bad old days. Another Pulitzer Prize biggie.)
Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ, Butterfield