Book Log

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Books I Read in 2018

January, 2018
The Invisible Circus Jennifer Egan
    Spellbinding heartbreaker! An attention-grabbing debut (1994).
Man Walks Into A Room Nicole Krauss
    Fine debut (2002) novel.
Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng
    A real page-turner.
Dinner at the Center of the Earth Nathan Englander
    Superb. Authentic individuals caught up in the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Lincoln in the Bardo George Saunders
    Imaginative tale of the spirits active in the after-death of President Lincoln's son Willie. A successful, if at times creepy, experiment in historical fiction. Winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize.
Citizen of the Galaxy Robert A. Heinlein
    Classic science fiction. Freed orphan slave becomes wealthy galactic abolitionist.
February, 2018
10% Happier Dan Harris
    Meditate. It will help you become at least 10% happier. An informative, entertaining, convincing memoir.
The Universe in Your Hand, A Journey Through Space, Time and Beyond Christophe Galfard
    Wonderful exploration of what we know about our universe plus exciting glimpses into the so far unknown.
Blasphemy Sherman Alexie
    Fine collection of very well told stories about the struggles and misadventures of our Spokane Indian brothers and sisters.
The Ice House Laura Lee Smith
    Satisfying story.
The Underground Railroad Colson Whitehead
    Gripping page-turner reimagines the historical Underground Railroad. Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner.
March, 2018
The Relive Box and Other Stories T.C. Boyle
    Boyle is one of our master storytellers! Off the wall. Out of the box. Top drawer!
Education Tara Westover
    A gripping memoir! Westover struggled relentlessly to distance herself from a violent, insane family that allowed her no formal education before the age of 16. She painfully reinvented herself, graduated from BYU and went on to earn a Ph.D from Cambridge University.
A Horse Walks into a Bar David Grossman
    Well done, original characterization of a unique standup comic as he talks of his tragic past in a nightclub performance.
An American Marriage Tayari Jones
    Well constructed tale of a challenging marriage relationship told from three different authentic points of view.
How Luck Happens Janice Kaplan and Barnaby Marsh
    Uplifting. Filled with entertaining anecdotes involving interesting people. Luck is a "lifetime of moments we make."
Winter Ali Smith
    Pleasant read. Politics can be gracefully and fairly encompassed by wonderful art.
Calculating the Cosmos, How Mathematics Unveils the Universe Ian Stewart
    Outlines the importance of the partnership between mathematics and science, especially cosmology and astronomy.
April, 2018
To The End Of The Land David Grossman, translated (Hebrew) by Jessica Cohen
    Superior. Up close and personal look at the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a family of close friends.
Strength in Stillness, The Power of Transcendental Meditation Bob Roth
    Strong, emotional TM sales pitch. No mention of costs or how to do it.
May, 2018
The Empathy Exams Leslie Jamison
    Excellent collection of essays. 2011 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize winner. "Empathy is always perched precariously between gift and invasion."
First Person Richard Flanagan
    Where does truth end and fiction begin? Did he do it? Still thinking about it.
Her Body Knows David Grossman, translated (Hebrew) by Jessica Cohen
    Two fine, intimate, poignant novellas.
Asymmetry Lisa Halliday
    Amazing debut novel! We are challenged to think. How are these characters, times, places related?
June, 2018
Less Andrew Sean Greer
    Risible, rewarding read. 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner.
The Gin Closet Leslie Jamison
    Excellent. Strong work.
Chemistry Weike Wang
    Good stuff. Serious and funny. Light and dark. Indecisiveness. Winner of 2018 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction.
July, 2018
Watership Down Richard Adams
    Very well-told, classic tale!
Future Home of the Living God Louise Erdrich
    Chilling, science fiction adventure. Wonderful, likable, authentic characters.
August, 2018
The Seven Storey Mountain, An Autobiography of Faith Thomas Merton
    Merton's faith and his book are gifts from God.
Half Gods Akil Kumarasamy
    Strong debut story collection!
The Nix Nathan Hill
    Brilliantly structured and elegantly written! Impossible to put down. Timely and timeless. Winner of the 2016 Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. "Sometimes we're so wrapped up in our own story that we don't see how we're supporting characters in someone else's."
September, 2018
Chickadee Louise Erdrich
    Historical fiction award winner. "I am only the Chickadee. Yet small things have great power. I speak the truth."
October, 2018
The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia Masha Gessen
    Superb piece of work. Modern Russian history we can taste and feel. Gessen makes it real. 2017 National Book Award winner.
Dear Committee Members Julie Schumacher
    Brilliant, sad, funny portrait of life told through letters of recommendation written by down-to-earth, outspoken, ingenuous Creative Writing Professor, Jay Fitger. Winner of the James Thurber Prize for American Humor.
The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
    Explores the origins of the unfortunate cult of "safetysm" infecting many of our colleges today. Describes how we might properly respond to reverse this dangerous trend. "Young people are antifragile. Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child. We are all prone to emotional reasoning and the confirmation bias. We are all prone to dichotomous thinking and tribalism. The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being." See TheCoddling.com
Last Stories William Trevor
    Trevor is a true master of the short story.
The Shakespeare Requirement Julie Schumacher
    Continuation of the thoroughly entertaining misadventures of that inimitable English Department Chair, Jay Fitger. Sensitive, unstoppable, hilarious page-turner by a very talented storyteller.
The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education Diane Ravitch
    Well referenced, cogent explanation from one of our education gurus.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler E.L. Konigsburg
    Wonderful story. Read aloud to my two oldest sons. 1968 Newbery Medal winner.
November, 2018
The Patriots Sana Krasikov
    An historically important, currently relevant story of the family of a young woman who emigrated to Russia from America in the 1930s.
iGen Jean M. Twenge, PhD
    "Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy - and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood." With lots of supporting data clearly presented. Valuable read for today's parents, teachers and employers.
Joyful, The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness Ingrid Fetell Lee December, 2018
Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy Anne Boyd Rioux
    The story of Little Women and why it still matters. All about the ongoing relevance of perhaps the most influential book ever written by an American woman.
Your Duck Is My Duck Deborah Eisenberg
    Six gorgeous gems. Eisenberg is a star story teller.
A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story Linda Sue Park
    Moving story of Salva, a Sudanese 'lost boy' who persevered until he was able to return to help many others.
Manifesto, A Revolutionary Approach to General Aviation Maintenance Mike Busch
    Reliability Centered Maintenance, RCM, is the way to go.

Greg Gordon MD, CFII