10 Books to Read in 2018

Maybe it was all the extra time I spent sober this past year (pregnancy will do that to you), but I managed to get in a lot of reading!  Instead of going to happy hour, riding roller-coasters, or eating unpasteurized cheese, I stayed home and read 35 books in a variety of genres.  I’ll admit, I was half afraid I’d never have time to read another book again after the baby was born, so I tried to read as much as possible before then.  There were times I was so tired that even holding a book or keeping my eyes open was too much effort, so I turned to audiobooks.  Luckily, I found some phenomenal reads!  Here are 10 books worth your time in 2018.

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck

By Mark Manson

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

The Blood of Flowers

The Blood of Flowers

By Anita Amirrezvani

A sensuous and richly-imagined historical novel that centers on a skilled young carpet weaver, her arranged marriage, and her quest for self-determination in 17th-century Persia.

In 17th-century Iran, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan, where they will work as servants for her uncle, a rich rug designer in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great.

Despite her lowly station, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant designer of carpets, a rarity in a craft dominated by men. But while her talent flourishes, her prospects for a happy marriage grow dim. Forced into a secret marriage to a wealthy man, the young woman finds herself faced with a daunting decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything she has in an effort to create a new life.

How to Publish Your Book

By Jane Friedman

With the advent of submission conveniences offered by the internet, today’s authors face unprecedented competition in the writing market. Adding to that, the publishing market is in a constant state of flux, making publishers wary about taking on new authors. Further, a plethora of options for publication make navigating the increasingly complex publishing industry harder than ever. So, how does an aspiring author get published? Learning the ropes, understanding how publishing works, and having someone who can help you navigate this convoluted system will make all the difference between a manuscript sitting on your closet shelf-or sitting on the top of the best-sellers shelf.

In 24 eye-opening lectures, Jane Friedman, publishing industry expert and educator, provides you with sought-after secrets of the publishing process that will help you navigate this difficult progression, bypass pitfalls that many novice authors get hung up on, and improve your chances of being considered for publication. She acts as your personal guide though the entire process: from finalizing your manuscript, to writing the perfect pitch, to reviewing contracts and marketing your book. She provides the candid scoop on what you need to do in order to increase your chances of being considered.

The knowledge you’ll gain by having an inside expert teaching you how to position your book for publication gives you a unique advantage and drastically increases your chances of getting noticed in this increasingly competitive industry. The reality is that there is no magic formula that will guarantee publication. There are, however, numerous things that you can do to improve your chances and streamline your path to success. Get extensive insights into the publishing process that will help you avoid the most common mistakes and pitfalls that many authors encounter. This course lays out your best options for publication and leads you step by step toward achieving your goals.

Eleanor Oliphant

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

By Gail Honeyman

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession

By Craig Childs

Renowned naturalist Craig Childs explores the paradoxical nature of anthropological excavation amongst the Native American ruins his work is based upon.

To whom does the past belong? Is the archeologist who discovers a lost tomb a sort of hero–or a villain? If someone steals a relic from a museum and returns it to the ruin it came from, is she a thief? Written in his trademark lyrical style, Craig Childs’s riveting new book is a ghost story–an intense, impassioned investigation into the nature of the past and the things we leave behind. We visit lonesome desert canyons and fancy Fifth Avenue art galleries, journey throughout the Americas, Asia, the past and the present. The result is a brilliant book about man and nature, remnants and memory, a dashing tale of crime and detection.

The disruptors' feast

The Disruptors' Feast: How to avoid being devoured in today's rapidly changing global economy

By Frits van Paasschen

Virtually everything about the way people live and do business is changing faster than ever before. Digital technology, global development, urbanization, and business disruption represent both a major opportunity and a threat in the global economy. Although individuals and organizations are aware that the world is changing exponentially, most are ill-equipped to face this level of disruption and volatility. The Disruptors’ Feast is a unique look into the trends that are shaping the world of the future, and a guide on how to avoid being eaten alive.

Frits van Paasschen is a seasoned global executive whose work has brought him to more than 100 countries. In The Disruptors’ Feast, van Paasschen takes readers on a literary journey to far-flung places around the globe to uncover the forces that are disrupting the status quo and driving change. His travel experiences illustrate how the stage is being set for even greater disruption, and what individuals and organizations can do to prepare for change and stay relevant in a tumultuous environment.

This book isn’t about the end of an era, but the end of eras. People have everything to gain or lose in how they deal with what is coming, regardless of their location, industry, profession, or aspirations. van Paasschen’s unique insight offers a fresh perspective that is dearly needed in business today.

The Book of Polly

The Book of Polly

By Kathy Hepinstall

Willow Havens is ten years old and obsessed with the fear that her mother will die. Her mother, Polly, is a cantankerous, take-no-prisoners Southern woman who lives to chase varmints, drink margaritas, and antagonize the neighbors—and she sticks out like a sore thumb among the young modern mothers of their small conventional Texas town. She was in her late fifties when Willow was born, so Willow knows she’s here by accident, a late-life afterthought. Willow’s father died before she was born, her much older brother and sister are long grown and gone and failing elsewhere. It’s just her and bigger-than-life Polly.

Willow is desperately hungry for clues to the family life that preceded her, and especially Polly’s life pre-Willow. Why did she leave her hometown of Bethel, Louisiana, fifty years ago and vow never to return? Who is Garland Jones, her long-ago suitor who possibly killed a man? And will Polly be able to outrun the Bear, the illness that finally puts her on a collision course with her past?

The Book of Polly has a great blend of humor and sadness, pathos and hilarity. This is a bittersweet novel about the grip of love in a truly quirky family and you’ll come to know one of the most unforgettable mother-daughter duos you’ve ever met.

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

By K. M. Weiland

Let outlines help you write a better book!

Writers often look upon outlines with fear and trembling. But when properly understood and correctly wielded, the outline is one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success will:

  • Help you choose the right type of outline for you
  • Guide you in brainstorming plot ideas
  • Aid you in discovering your characters
  • Show you how to structure your scenes
  • Explain how to format your finished outline
  • Instruct you in how to use your outline
  • Reveal the benefits:
    • Ensures cohesion and balance
    • Prevents dead-end ideas
    • Provides foreshadowing
    • Offers assurance and motivation
  • Dispel misconceptions:
    • Requires formal formatting
    • Limits creativity
    • Robs the joy of discovery
    • Takes too much time

Before We Were Yours

By Lisa Wingate

For readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale comes a “thought-provoking [and] complex tale about two families, two generations apart . . . based on a notorious true-life scandal.”

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge–until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents–but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals–in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country–Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop

By Adam Bradley

Rap may be the most revolutionary development in poetry over the past forty years, yet its originality is hidden in plain sight. Often overshadowed by the beat, bluster, and hype surrounding the music, lyrics are the heart of hip hop. Book of Rhymes explores America’s least-understood poets by unpacking their complex craft and according them the respect they deserve as lyricists. Examining the language and techniques of hip hop’s most memorable artists, literary scholar Adam Bradley argues that a new world of rhythm and rhyme awaits us if we put aside preconceptions and encounter rap with new ears and new eyes.
Updated to reflect nearly a decade of the genre’s evolution, Book of Rhymes remains the definitive work on the poetry of hip hop.