What I’m Reading: Best Books 2018 edition

These are actually the best books I read for the latter half of the year because that’s when I started keeping track (shortly after I got 20 pages into a book before I realized I had read it and forgotten.) So, as if you need a longer wish list, my favorites from 2018.

The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the MenuWhile I found his near constant references to San Francisco annoying, he did have a ton of great information. I’m a complete geek for linguistics and food, well, who doesn’t like food? This was a fun trip through the linguistic history of food and will probably leave you hungry. It has recipes in it and will leave you hungry.

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The Ghost of Christmas Past: A Molly Murphy Mystery (Molly Murphy Mysteries Book 17)I have long been a fan of Rhys Bowen, but I somehow lost track of the Molly Murphy series. I missed about 7 books from where I left off and this one so yay for me because it means I have a backlog to catch up on. The whole series is fantastic (as are Bowen’s other series, Evan Evans and Royal Spyness.) This one is grittier than the other two, but full of fun cameos and witty language. And, surprisingly. I did NOT have the whole mystery figured out before the end. I only had half of it.

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This World We Live In (Life As We Knew It Series)I glommed this series. As in serial grabs of the audio versions finished in 2 weeks glommed. I love dystopian YA and this one with the moon knocked out of orbit was different from the usual pandemic-zombie apocalypse-nuclear war back drop. There were a lot of complaints about the science in reviews, but that didn’t really bother me. A) because I don’t read YA Sci Fi to learn physics and B) because I think many of the reviewers are wrong about the science themselves. My one caveat? Stop after book 3. Book 4 was a waste of time.

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Dread NationI was kind of scarred by this book. Mostly because I ended up reading it much earlier than I normally get to things on my wishlist and it’s the first in series and there are not more and I’m dying here waiting for the next one. That in mind, maybe you should back burner this one until there are 2 or 3 more out so you don’t suffer like me. It’s just after the Civil War and the war ended because the dead rose. Blacks are now free, but limited job prospects leave them with the fantastic option of being bodyguards against the zombies. Meet Jane, zombie killer extraordinaire and yet second class citizen. See Jane kill zombies and deal segregation at the same time. Where oh where is that next book?

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An Ocean of Minutes: A NovelThis was recommended in O and normally I don’t like lit fic, but this one didn’t have the required downer ending. It also has a really interesting set up and meaty story. I think it resonated most for me because the main character traveled forward in time by 15 or so years while everyone she knew just kept living there lives and it reminded me a lot of living overseas. I would come back after a year away and be like “what happened to that restaurant? I loved that restaurant!” (No, I am not getting over the loss of Metro Burger. It’s been 7 years and every time I round that corner I hope to see it instead of the Wally Waffle that’s there now.)

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I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy LegendI can’t say I’m a Martin Short fan. Previous to reading (or listening to the audio read by Short himself) I would have been hard pressed to recall any of his characters despite the fact that the Santa Clause movies are a Christmas ritual. However, he is a great story teller and he knows everybody. Short doesn’t name drop, he carpet bombs. But he is really friends with these people and he gives a ton of interesting background. Even without all that, it’s worth the whole book to read about his lifelong romance with his wife through all the crazy Hollywood stuff. It’s like he wrote the book as a memorial to her just so he could relive all those memories. Funny, heartbreaking, and loaded with cameos. Three of my favorite things.

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The Royal WeThis was a seriously cute romance. Not my normal fare, because it’s utterly fluffy, but it’s really good fluff and I enjoyed every moment. Obvious overtones of the current crop of royals (though their Diana isn’t dead or divorced, she’s crazy and exiled and that is about as gritty as the story gets.) I loved it enough to recommend it to a student who (gasp) doesn’t like to read. Now I’m wondering if there’s a sex scene in it. Then again, maybe it will make her want to read more.

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What was the best book(s) you read this past year? My wish list is down to 130 titles so I need to add a few.

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