My favorite books of 2018

This is…a bit delayed, but here are my favorite books that I read in 2018 (from the distant remove of December 2019, anyway).

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How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

This book has been inspiring for my approach to parenting. I don’t always live up to the authors’ suggestions, but I try. One simple thing from the book I practice is greeting my daughter with “I’m happy to see you” rather than “what did you do today” or something like that.

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The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers

I read Tim Powers’s book On Stranger Tides last year because I heard it was good and I was curious how a pirate fantasy novel from the 80s turned into a movie franchise based on an amusement park ride. It was good! So I decided to read another book by him. The Anubis Gates is pretty wild: Egyptian mythology, poets, time travel, magic, vicious Georgian beggar gangs…yet somehow it works and is extremely entertaining.

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Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood, Michael Lewis

This is a funny, honest, and touching collection of essays about fatherhood, exploring “the persistent and disturbing gap between what I was meant to feel what I actually felt.”

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Neuromancer, William Gibson

This was a re-read for me. It’s striking how a book from 1986 still sets the tone for cyberpunk. Gibson’s dark vision of the future feels real.

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The Elementals, Michael McDowell

I love book clubs because of selections like this. I would not have picked this book myself because I don’t read much horror, but I really enjoyed it. The book takes place on the Gulf of Mexico; the author wanted to write a horror novel where everything is bright. You can practically feel the stultifying heat along with the characters. Strange happenings turn the languid atmosphere claustrophobic and then terrifying.

My full list of books from 2018 is below. You can also review lists from previous years: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 (retroactive favorites), 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

I Heart Logs: Event Data, Stream Processing, and Data Integration, Jay Kreps

The Hike, Drew Magary

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

The Sellout, Paul Beatty

Go Tell It On The Mountain, James Baldwin

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J. K. Rowling

The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, James Gleick

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, William B. Irvine

Mooncop, Tom Gauld

Underground Airlines, Ben H. Winters

Europe in Autumn, Dave Hutchinson

The Hydrogen Sonata, Ian M. Banks

The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, Bee Wilson

The Algebraist, Ian M. Banks

Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood, Michael Lewis

Provenance, Ann Leckie

Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie

The Collapsing Empire, John Scalzi

Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, Bart D. Ehrman

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson

The Prefect, Alastair Reynolds

Neuromancer, William Gibson

Algeria is Beautiful Like America, Olivia Burton and Malui Grand (illustrator)

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, Sunil Yapa

The Literary Conference, César Aira (translated by Katherine Silver)

A Night in the Lonesome October, Roger Zelazny

Further: Beyond the Threshold, Chris Robinson

The Last Days of New Paris, China Miéville

The Elementals, Micahel McDowell

Your Three-Year Old: Friend or Enemy, Louise Bates Ames and Frances L. Ilg

Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shatterly

The Cosmic Puppets, Philip K. Dick

Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America, Robert Wuthnow