Following are the books I read (in order) in 2018; if I recommend it, it has an asterisk in front of it.
- *The Power– Naomi Alderman
- *The Dry– Jane Harper
- A Stranger In The House– Shari Lapena
- *Still Me– Jojo Moyes
- *Before We Were Yours– Lisa Wingate
- *Born A Crime– Trevor Noah
- *Hello Stranger– Lisa Kleypas
- The Gilded Years– Karin Tanabe
- Every Note Played– Lisa Genova
- *The Immortalists– Chloe Benjamin
- How To Stop Time– Matt Haig
- You Think It, I’ll Say It– Curtis Sittenfeld
- The Flight Attendant– Chris Bohjalian
- *The Woman Left Behind– Linda Howard
- Accidentally On Purpose– Jill Shalvis
- *my grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry– Fredrik Backman
- *What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw– Leah Stewart
- *I Am I Am I Am– Maggie O’Farrell
- Beach Rental– Grace Greene
- *Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine– Gail Honeyman
- *Before Jamaica Lane– Samantha Young
- *Hero– Samantha Young
- *One Good Earl Deserves A Lover– Sarah MacLean
- Wired– Julie Garwood
- Force of Nature– Jane Harper
- Hope Flames– Jaci Burton
- Fall From India Place– Samantha Young
- When Katie Met Cassidy– Camille Perri
- Life And Death– Stephenie Meyer
- Severance– Ling Ma
- *Echoes Of Scotland Street– Samantha Young
- *Chemistry– Weike Wang
- Hate To Want You– Alisha Rai
- *Fight or Flight– Samantha Young
- This Will Only Hurt A Little– Busy Phillips
- Roses– Leila Meacham
- *Because of Miss Bridgerton– Julia Quinn
- The Girl With The Make-Believe Husband– Julia Quinn
- *The Kiss Quotient– Helen Hoang
- The Little Shop Of Found Things– Paula Brackston
- The Wedding Date– Jasmine Guillory
- The Great Alone– Kristin Hannah
My top 5 recommendations on this list (not including romance, those will follow) are:
- Still Me
- Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
- The Dry
- Chemistry (I recommend actually reading this one, not listening to it on Audible. The way/how it is written is part of the experience.)
- The Immortalists– I wrote about the four above in previous posts so please go back for my take or click on the links to see book details. As for this one, I didn’t love everything about the book but it did stay with me. If you could find out the day you were going to die, would you want to know? After reading this, I’m not sure I would. Destiny, free will, family dynamics, living life to the fullest or protecting oneself from everything – a lot to noodle over.
As for romances:
- Hero/ Fight or Flight – Same author though very different stories. Fun, escapist reading.
- The Kiss Quotient – The lead character (and author!) has Asperger’s so a different slant to a romance story. I enjoyed it.
- Because of Miss Bridgerton – The first of a new series from one of my favorite authors. I think I read it in a day because I didn’t want to put it down. Book four comes out this year. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I didn’t enjoy the second book of the series and I haven’t yet read the third.)
Rather than list all the movies I saw, I’m going to list the ones I gave A’s or A-‘s to (listed in order seen):
- Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle
- Molly’s Game
- Call Me By Your Name
- Ready Player One
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
- Hearts Beat Loud
- Mission Impossible: Fallout
- Beautiful Boy
- Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
In the spirit of “I should go on a diet January,” I’d like to recommend a documentary on Netflix. What The Health critiques the health impact of meat and dairy products consumption and how the production of these foods affects communities and our planet. It is very compelling in its advocacy of a whole food plant based diet which, shown here, can reverse chronic disease (including diabetes). Obviously the creators of the doc want you to feel how they feel; it’ll be up to you to do your own research after you watch it. All I can tell you is my girls have changed how they eat now after watching it. It’s pretty powerful.
I listed my favorite dramas last time. My favorite comedies haven’t really changed and I think I’ve discussed them all previously: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (thank you NBC!), “Mom,” “The Good Place,” “Superstore,” “Blackish,” and “Fresh Off The Boat.” No I haven’t watched “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime) yet, though I have seen half of the “Barry” (HBO) episodes – jury is still out.
Song of the Blog –
In Busy Phillips’s memoir she talks about sparkly humans. I like the term though it conjures up a different type of person for me than it does for her. Sparkly people, to me, are those to whom we gravitate or want to be with – they draw you in.
My aunt Micki was a sparkly human. She was always the life of the party; you could hear her laughter from across the room. The world needs more sparkly people like her, not less. She left too soon, but while she was here she did a lot of good and she had a ball.
My grandfather celebrated his 100th birthday this past July. I think we were all more excited about the milestone than he. I also think he was biding his time until he could be reunited with my grandmother who passed away 3 years ago. He was properly exalted at his party; we praised, celebrated, memorialized and loved on him – it was a gift for all of us that we were able to do it and that he was able to receive it. He was a small, quiet man with a big presence. He wasn’t sparkly but you wanted to make him proud. And if you made him laugh, you felt like a million bucks.
He passed away in October. I’ve been thinking about what it must’ve been like to have lived for 100 years and all the change he must have witnessed: the loss, the love, the disappointment, the joy, the pain, the gratitude, etc.
I guess the number of years doesn’t ultimately matter, 100 vs 74, but how you live them. Hopefully, to borrow from Marie Kondo, you can do something every day that will spark joy for yourself and for others.
As for this song, the title is kind of apt, but that’s it. I just like the song; the feel, the rhythm, the groove. Here’s 1950 by King Princess, I hope you like it, too.
Thanks for reading!