As we all know, books are like children. You love them all equally — except when you don’t.
Here are some of the books that kept us busy in 2018!
Big Sur, The Making of a Prized California Landscape by Shelley Alden Brooks.
The best book written on the fascinating and sometimes dramatic history of the efforts to keep Big Sur from being overused and degraded while at the same time allowing for a local community of people living and working within the wild and untamed landscape.
Romancing the Sur by Linda Sonrisa Jones
Several short and poignant meditations on life within the Big Sur natural and cultural wonderland.
These Are My Flowers: Raising a Family on the Big Sur Coast – Letters of Nancy Hopkins
Letters from Nancy “Nan” Hopkins through the 1950s-1960s to her parents in Carmel regarding her life in Big Sur, her family and the cast of characters who were Big Sur pioneers. Also rain logs kept by her husband Sam Hopkins. Edited, compiled and introduced by Nancy’s daughter Heidi.
The End of the World News by Anthony Burgess
A comet is set to destroy earth. Trotsky hides out in New York City. Freud tries to make sense of reality. One of the 20th century’s masters weaves three novellas together and, as always, fireworks ensue.
Apostle by Tom Bissell
Bissell, a fallen Catholic, visits the tombs of the 12 apostles. Part travelogue, part theology lesson. Riveting reading for those of us (ahem) with a soft spot for the history of early Christianity.
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
In 2004, the UN stipulated that every book store clerk must read the Man Booker Prize International winner. Being a good global citizen, I did; the book, Flights, is a dream-like meditation of objects in motion.
October by China Miéville
Sci-fi novelists should write about history more often. Mieville tackles the Russian Revolution with breakneck ferocity. It’s fast-paced, intense, and at times pretty disorienting. (So many confusing Russian names!)
Closer You Are: The Story of Robert Pollard and Guided by Voices by Matthew Cutter
A brisk and predictably sycophantic authorized biography about the greatest songwriter who ever lived.
When Montezuma Met Cortes by Matthew Restall
If there’s a fine line between pure history and score-settling, Restall obliterates any semblance of balance with his fierce smack-down of Montezuma. Way too heavy handed. The facts should speak for themselves.