My Year in Books 2018 (Part II)

Last week I reviewed four entertaining novels: The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Secrets of a Charmed Life, Honolulu and A Dog’s Purpose. Below I include some more worthy books with brief descriptions.

I’m not a big reader of nonfiction and have been disappointed in some of those with high reviews (but that’s just me). One worth mentioning however is Thailand in Perspective by James King. King is an entertaining writer who lives in Thailand and has written a trilogy of these books including: 15 weeks (Vol. 1 – free on Kindle) and Driving Thailand (Vol.2). I’ve never been there, but his writing makes me want to go. Even if you are not planning a visit this is good travel-armchair reading.

Other Novels I enjoyed last year are:

Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks –a compelling story about a missionary’s daughter and a Native American student at Harvard – one constrained by his skin the other by her sex. Moving and at times triumphant; set in mid 1600’s.

 

 

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

A charming and wise little fable. A shepherd boy travels through Spain and northern Africa in search of treasure and finds simple truths.

 

Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah – written in present tense, about a dysfunctional family, and in past tense is the haunting saga of WWII Leningrad. Two sisters come to understand their dynamics in a satisfying conclusion.

 

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The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman – Enjoy the plot and the writing, full of symbolism – look for the flowers, birds and all the “opposites.” The story, set in St. Thomas, is about artist Pissarro’s extraordinary family life.

 

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A Gentleman in Moscow – To be honest I had trouble getting through this highly acclaimed book. Amor Towles’ fans will be appalled I know, but here’s why: it is long with no page-turning plot. That said, Towles is a literary writer and I appreciated the fine writing about post-revolutionary Russia.

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Company of Liars by Karen Maitland. Unusual story about strangers who band together, to escape the Black Plague wreaking havoc in a bleak, muddy landscape. The pilgrims have been compared to the Canterbury Tales, also set in the14thcentury, each has a secret. Slow but worthwhile with a surprise ending.

 

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett is also good. A novel about two families and how each member’s life is changed by an affair between two of the parents. Bel Canto is still my favorite Patchett book.51Ix-oAS0zL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

 

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A Piece of the World
by Christina Baker Kline, based on the real story of Christina Olson and Andrew Wyeth . I think those interested in art will like it. Orphan Train is my favorite book by her, but many would disagree with me.

Have you read any of these books?  Do you have others to recommend?

9 thoughts on “My Year in Books 2018 (Part II)

  1. Thanks for the plug Cinda. It’s quite a coincidence, as I am in the process of turning my Thailand Diaries into a series of 3 novels, much better written than the diaries. The only one I will keep is Thailand in Perspective (The one you have listed). I call the series Alfie goes to Thailand and the first book is nearly ready for Beta reading. With 3 books in The Kenright Chronicles series finished apart from final editing, I am working my socks off so I can concentrate on publishing and marketing by the end of the year. Then I’ll probably snuff it. Keep well, James

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  2. I haven’t read any of these books – I have read Patchett and Hoffman but not for a long time. I think I’d be most interested in the book about Thailand – I’ve never been there either. Happy New Year!

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  3. The Alchemist is one of my all time favorite books. I discover new things about myself whenever I read that book. One of the books I read this past year was Bel Canto. I enjoyed it, especially the way every character changed throughout the story. I may pick up Commonwealth this year, as I enjoy Ann Patchett’s writing.

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