Tuesday, July 3, 2018

My 5 Favorite Books of 2018...So Far

Dear authors: More of the same for the rest in 2018, please. The first half sure has been phenomenal. Here's a list of my five favorites so far this year.

5. Florida, by Lauren Groff — A collection of short stories, sometimes linked, sometimes stand-alone, that easily cements Groff as one of my favorite, must-read writers. If you'd have told me I'd enjoy a collection of stories about motherhood and living in Florida as much as I did this one, I'd say you must live in Florida. But Groff is the rare writer whose care for her characters infuses her reader with that same care, no matter the subject.

4. An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones — What a profound, innovative take on marriage. Jones's novel never takes the easy way out — she makes some incredibly brave choices. That includes an ending that just left me floored. It's morally complex, it's beautifully rendered, it's just fantastic.

3. Let Your Mind Run, by Deena Kastor — This isn't just one of the best running books I've read this year, it's one of the best books period. Kastor — an Olympic medalist in 2004 in the marathon, and the American record-holder in the marathon — chronicles how she's mastered both the mental and physical aspects of running in this deeply personal, passionate memoir. And it IS memoir — telling the stories of her earliest running life to college to turning pro and success as an Olympian and Chicago and London Marathon champion. It's a hugely inspiring read, and a must if you're a runner.

2. The House of Broken Angels, by Luis Alberto Urrea — This story of a family in San Diego that gathers for one last birthday party for their dying patriarch is just riveting. It's a novel that's brimming with life, colorful characters, and deep insight into we quirky humans.

1. The Overstory, by Richard Powers — Yes, it's a 500-page novel about trees. And yes, it's that friggin' phenomenal. I know, again, it's hard to believe a novel about trees could be so entertaining and memorable. But this one is. I intensely loved this book about humans and their place in nature. It really has forced me to examine the world around me with new perspective.

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