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Books I Read in 2019

January, 2019
The Baron in the Trees Italo Calvino, translated (Italian) by Ann Goldstein
    Fun, fabulous tale.
Virgil Wander Leif Enger
    Fine, rewarding read. Celebrate Minnesota's Lake Superior shoreline.
The Hazards of Time Travel Joyce Carol Oates
    Imaginative. Engrossing. Memorable.
Flight or Fright eds. Stephen King and Bev Vincent
    Nice collection.
February, 2019
Gone So Long Andre Dubus III
    Quite a page turner. Did want to edit the ending a bit.
Peace Like a River Leif Enger
    Gripping tale, well-told!
All the Lives We Ever Lived Katharine Smyth
    Wonderful, original little masterwork. Memoir of Smyth's grief over her father's death gracefully combined with reflections on her emotional and intellectual connection to Virginia Woolf and To the Lighthouse. Good read for Woolf fans.
Squint Chad Morris and Shelly Brown
    Excellent, moving story for young readers (middle school) about friendship and learning what really matters in life.
China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, 3rd Edition Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom and Maura Elizabeth Cunningham
    Clear, concise, relevant information. Good use of question and answer format.
Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution Helen Zia
    Poignant, true stories of four young people and their families caught up in the mass exodus of Shanghai Chinese in the face of oncoming Communist forces. Hopefully, "one day such stories may become lessons for historical reflection, not broken paths to be retread."
Where Reason Ends Yiyun Li
    Well-imagined conversation between the author and her 16-year-old son who recently committed suicide.
April, 2019
The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches and Meditations Tony Morrison
    "Literature, sensitive as a tuning fork, is an unblinking witness to the light and shade of the world we live in." - Tony Morrison
May, 2019
Harriet Tubman, Conductor on the Underground Railroad
    The Moses of her people, she never lost a passenger.
A Place of Greater Safety Hilary Mantel
    Focusing on three key figures in the French Revolution, this is historical fiction at its finest!
Stoner John Williams
    Williams tells the story of teacher Stoner with profound insight and sensitivity. "The prose was graceful, and its passion was masked by a coolness and clarity of intelligence."
kaddish.com Nathan Englander
    Good read. Funny serious.
June, 2019
The Salt Eaters Toni Cade Bambara
    Well worth the challenge. Powerful, poetic imagery.
Lincoln, A Photobiography Russell Freedman
    Excellent. Winner, 1988 Newbery Medal
Unfreedom of the Press Mark R. Levin
    Well-referenced, cogent plea for open, honest discussion of how we Americans ought best deal with our media's "collapsing role as a bulwark of liberty, civil society and republicanism."
July, 2019
Maniac Magee Jerry Spinelli
    Wonderful story. Important read for our children; for all of us.
August, 2019
The Volunteer Jack Fairweather
    The incredible story of Witold Pilecki, who voluntarily became a prisoner at Auschwitz, and reported on its horrors. Very well documented with primary sources.
Once, in Lourdes Sharon Solwitz
    Quite a page turner!
Normal People Sally Rooney
    Excellent, irresistible love story. Multiple awards winner.
The Island of the Day Before Umberto Eco, translated (Italian) by William Weaver
    Interesting layers of stories within stories.
September, 2019
Conversations With Friends Sally Rooney
    Romance novel in irresistible, fresh new clothes!
How to Live - or - A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer
Sarah Bakewell
    Masterpiece. Bakewell has given us a most wonderful way to get to know Montaigne and his Essays. We ought share Montaigne's conviction that "no vision of heaven, no imagined Apocalypse, and no perfectionist fantasy can ever outweigh the tiniest of selves in the real world."
October, 2019
The Silent Spring Rachel Carson
    "The Classic that Launched the Environmental Movement"
Do Dice Play God? The Mathematics of Uncertainty Ian Stewart
    Wide-ranging exploration.
November, 2019
Trust Exercise Susan Choi
    Wow! Masterfully constructed lesson about trust on multiple levels. How far should the reader trust the story-teller?
Insurrections Rion Amilcar Scott
    Scott may be the William Faulkner of Cross River, Maryland!
A Sorrow Beyond Dreams Peter Handke
    On his mother's life and suicide.
Range, Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World David Epstein
    Great read.
December, 2019
Flights Olga Tokarczuk, translated (Polish) by Jennifer Croft
    Magnificent! 2018 winner of the Man Booker International Prize.
A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century Jason DeParle
    Very well done.
Triggered Donald Trump Jr.
    Makes some sense.

Greg Gordon MD, CFII