Reading in varied genres is a lovely way to greet the world. With a good book in hand, it is impossible to be lonely. Reading inspires profound empathy and personal growth rooted in new-found knowledge of people, ideas or other concepts previously uncharted. I love when a book surprises me, as happened several times this year.
George Sanders’ Lincoln in the Bardo was extraordinary. This book was a theatrical gift of literary genius. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend reading along, while also listening to the Audible version which is read by no less than one hundred and sixty-six individual narrators (led by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, the author George Saunders and including Ben Stiller, Julianne Moore, Susan Sarandon…); an extraordinary production. While the setting is a Georgetown Cemetery, Saunders’ vivid imagination transports you to the sacred bardo – which is not the place between life and death, but the place between death and, well… what-comes-after. Magnificent, somewhat disconcerting, yet sublimely poignant.
West With the Night (published in 1942) by Beryl Markham caught me happily off-guard. I have had this book on my shelf for years, and wanted to read it. I had previously read Out of Africa (Isak Dinesen) and Circling the Sun (Paula McLain), both of which include life details of Beryl Markham. But West With the Night is her story. Set in Africa and graceful in voice, her writing style and ability knocked me off my feet. Like Steinbeck, Markham writes as a master painter paints: Exquisite, fluid, deft. When Ernest Hemingway read this book, he remarked that the author had written a true classic. Adding, “She has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished. She can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers.”
2018 was a banner year for me, as I hit my personal best in reading 32 books this year(!) and enjoyed every title. Included, were a few books which have been on my nightstand for awhile, so it felt good to finally get to them. A quality book is always worth the wait.
~ Wishing you all the best books in 2019! ~
Lynne’s 5 Favs in 2018 :
Full 2018 reading list:
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway; Ernest Hemingway on Writing edited by Larry W. Phillips; Red Notice by Bill Browder; Cortadito by Enrique Fernández; The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide; Poems from the Book of Hours by Rainer Maria Rilke; FINDING by Kim Fuller; Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown; Painting as a Pastime by Winston S. Churchill; Old Yeller by Fred Gipson; The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin; Honey, I Love (poetry) by Eloise Greenfield; The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls; A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles; A Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn; Helium (poetry) by Rudy Francisco; The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown; Blue Chip Kids: Money, Investing, and Stock Market by David Bianchi; The Black Count by Tom Reiss; Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders; Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott; Letters to my Daughter by Maya Angelou; Felicity (poetry) by Mary Oliver; Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman; The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya; A Thousand Mornings (poetry) by Mary Oliver; The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho; The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith; The Odyssey by Homer (abridged/Geraldine McCaughrean); Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach; The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott; West With the Night by Beryl Markham