Books are a uniquely portable magic.
~ Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.*
~ Stephen King
*I do. I carry a book with me almost everywhere (except on walks and hikes).
Today’s December Reflections prompt is Best Book of 2018. Well. That’s a tough one. I have read a lot of very good books this year. I couldn’t possibly name only one favorite or The Best. Also, I am unable to show you photos of all the books I enjoyed this year because when I finish a book, especially if it is a Very Very Good book, I give it away to someone I know will like it (even if they don’t know they will like it).
This morning I took a few photos of books I am either currently reading or have already read (and didn’t give away just yet). The Now Read This book club exposed me to books I normally wouldn’t think to read. I have not yet read their picks for November and December, but did put them on my reading list.
Since I am unable to pick one book, I am going to pick two from each genre I’ve read this year. Or maybe just one. We’ll see how it goes since I’m doing this off the cuff. I will insert a few photos just to break things up.
In the self-help/learning category, I loved the two books in the image that kicked off this post: Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography and The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul. I haven’t finished Zen Camera because I’m taking it slow. The exercises are wonderful and I don’t want to rush through them. I did finish The Desire Map but still work with it because there’s nothing like setting goals with how you want to feel in mind. It changed my perspective on how to set goals and challenges.
Educated: A Memoir and American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West were two of my favorites in the non-fiction category. Both were Now Read This picks, and I don’t think I would have read either one if it hadn’t been for that. I usually don’t read much non-fiction. They were entertaining as well as educational reads.
My choices for the best in fiction that I read in 2018 are Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel and Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha). Sing, Unburied, Sing was an amazing novel and a Now Read This pick. I think it has a little of what is known as magical realism. Children of Blood and Bone is a YA fantasy novel that is based on African mythology. It has magic, lots of magic, and it is another telling of the hero’s journey. I am looking forward to the sequel. Exit West: A Novel and Kindred, in the sci-fi genre, were also quite good. Exit West is one of those books that has stayed with me. I often think of it when I hear about or read stories about immigration, climate change, and the ever expanding human population.
The book I’m currently reading, Ohio, is likely going to make my “best” list, too. It is, so far, a gritty book, one that takes place in Northeast Ohio, an area I used to live in (and often refer to as The Bogs). The descriptions of the town and the area are, to me, spot on. The Washington Post review describes it as a “bruising novel” that is a “prehistory of now” and how we got to this divided place in politics and life.
In other news… Today is my last day in the 50’s. I’m not talking weather or temperatures. I turn 60 tomorrow. It’s kind of weird. I don’t feel as old as 60 sounds. I’m glad of that. Still, it’s strange to think of myself as entering yet another decade and being closer to death than to birth. It’s beyond middle-age, beyond where my teen-aged self ever thought I’d be (30 sounded old enough back in those days!). Because she is an amazing writer, I will refer you to Katrina Kenison’s latest blog post: this is 60. We share a birth year and similar thoughts on the turning of the wheel of time. Here is a little taste of Ms. Kenison’s essay:
Sixty is a deepening concern for our shared future. It’s a desire to give something back, to make the world a little better while I still can. Sixty is flexible. It’s understanding that information isn’t wisdom, and that wisdom arrives quietly and in its own time, nourished by listening and silence and reflection. Sixty is a greater willingness to compromise, to collaborate, to consider another point of view. Sixty is less about being right and more about being present.
Thank you for visiting today. Let’s go to the Point for sunset this evening and see what Mother Nature will paint across the sky and reflect in the water. Sunset is scheduled for 4:44 PM, the same as yesterday. It’s warmer today than it was yesterday but still chilly (in the 40’s). I’ll be there early so I can take a walk on the beach or out towards the marsh.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 961) Wonderful essays by wonderful writers who help put your own thoughts and feelings into words that you struggle to find. 962) The pink and red and orange hues stretched out across the sky this morning at sunrise. 963) The hawk that flew through the reddish-gold light of the sunrise, the colors warming her feathers and making her glow. 964) The crow that chased the hawk. The hawk looked to be about three times the size of the crow and yet the crow bravely harassed the hawk until she left the tree where she had landed. 965) A funny birthday card from my sister-in-law arriving in the mail. I don’t know how she does it but every year she manages to find the funniest card, one that makes me laugh out loud.