My Top 10 Books of 2018

I read all good books this year. Well, I did start one that I didn’t finish, and you can read about that experience in an earlier post. That wasn’t a good book. But of all the books I finished, all were good. As a result, it was difficult to pick out my ten favorites, but here they are.

Disclaimer: only one of these books was published in 2018. Only 3 of the books that I read this year were published in 2018.

The Complete Poems: 1927-1979 by Elizabeth Bishop

One of the books I read while on a study-abroad trip in Lithuania. Even though her poetic output was “small,” Bishop demonstrated such craft and such wit.

Collected Stories by William Faulkner

Each story is a world onto its own. Each story feels novelesque in its scope.

The Selected Letters of Willa Cather edited by Andrew Jewell and Janis Stout

I underlined so many sentences in these letters. An amazing trip into the world of one of my favorite writers.

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

This was my fourth McCarthy book, and I enjoyed this one as much as the others. I continuously find his prose amazing–he’s one of the best living writers.

Native Realm: A Search for Self-Definition by Czeslaw Milosz

This was the first work I’d ever read by Milosz, and I’ll forever associate him with the city of Klaipeda, where I was staying. A fascinating memoir that helped me understand better that region of the world and some of its history.

How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price

In late summer, I wrote about the importance of this book. It truly guided me to a much healthier disposition toward my pocket computer.

Tenth of December by George Saunders

This was the first work of Saunders I read. I was drawn into the lives of his characters and into his approach to the short story. The collection was so good that I finished it in a few days.

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith

I read this book in a short timespan, and yet I underlined many passages. A lot of helpful insight into desire and habit.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

One of my summer-vacation reads. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve ever read by Steinbeck, and this was no exception.

A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor’s Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace by Brian Zahnd

This book helped me wrestle with my views on violence and nonviolence, leading me to greater clarity of my own position.


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