[2018] May The Best Book Win!

Over the past week, posts on my Facebook groups has been filled with hashtags #2018fav6, #2018fav9, you get the idea. I didn’t participate because it would be too hard to pick 6! But then along came a true genius who cooked up a fed-up post, asking us to share our least favorite books of the year. Needless to say I jumped in because that was super easy for me. I even thanked her for that!

Back to May The Best Book Win!

Here are my favorite books of the year. Some genres are intertwined (supposed to, for example, some memoirs are of war and history but I didn’t categorize them under that genre). So to get around that, I compartmentalized them under the genre intended by the author or publisher (“it’s a memoir about war and history, therefore it’s a memoir”).

Here’s the list! For a brief version click here.

Best in Memoirs, Autobiographies

Tie!

I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High, by Tony Danza

&

She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Best in Biographies

In Extremis: The Life and Death of the War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum

Best in Current Affairs, War, History

Fire And Fury, by Michael Wolff 

Best in Business

Bad Blood: Secrets & Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Best in LGBTQIA

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, by Amy Ellis Nutt

Best in True Crime

Mossad: The Greatest Missions of The Israeli Secret Service, by Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal

Best in Fiction

房思琪的初戀樂園, 林奕含 著 
Fang Si-Chi’s First Love Paradise by  Lin Yi-Han

You’ve reached the end of this post and the year – Thank you for reading my posts (or this blog). I hope you’ve found what you were looking for. Keep reading, stay foolish!

Read: Stray – Memoir of a Runaway

Stray: Memoir of a Runaway by Tanya Marquardt

First world country (Canada), near first world setting. Dysfunctional family, depressed and angry teenager. Pretty much a backdrop of a B-grade Hollywood movie set in the 80s. I enjoyed this read, but I don’t have anything much to say about it.

Read: Never Stop Walking

Never Stop Walking by Christina Rickardsson

I loved this book. There were many pages where I cried. Her mother’s perseverance, their life in the woods, on the streets. How she was put into an orphanage by her mother and how her mother was deceived. The whole nine yards – I’m not going to write them all. That’s the problem with trying to write a post months after reading the book… You just don’t have anything smart, useful, or insightful to say.

Read it. Appreciate your family, appreciate what you have. Appreciate who you are. Do whatever you want. Just don’t do evil.

Happy New Year.

Read: I’m Still Working On It

I’m Still Working On It by Kevin Zalinsky

I dove into this book expecting some combat action, but there were none. Thankfully there were none, because this book prevailed in many other aspects – anecdotes on growing up gay, a brother who committed suicide, and the many stories that entwined humor with pain and loss. It was a book that would make you laugh at one page and cry the next, that’s how good it was. Kevin Zalinsky isn’t a famous person, many won’t know about him nor his book. But in spite of all these ‘book world clichés’, I am so glad I stumbled upon this book. Two thumbs up. I’d read it again someday.

Read: Children of Nazis | Our Crime Was Being Jewish

Two books in one post.

Our Crime Was Being Jewish: Hundreds of Holocaust Survivors Tell Their Stories by Anthony S. Pitch

No words.

Children of Nazis: The Sons and Daughters of Himmler, Göring, Höss, Mengele, and Others— Living with a Father’s Monstrous Legacy, by Tania Crasnianski

Important book, though it would be necessary to have each as a standalone book. There are quite a few, but if you can’t get through all of them, this would do.

Some are still in denial (still Nazis), some have disowned their forefathers, some have vanished (not killed, but chose to live in obscurity), some have changed their names. It’s less than a hundred years, although it feels like it happened 100 centuries ago. Perhaps everyone is busy with life, trying to forget, trying to pretend it never happened. Well, too bad, you deniers. It happened. And it’s less than 80 or so years ago.

Read: Waco – A Survivor’s Story

Waco: A Survivor’s Story, by David Thibodeau

I can’t recall whether I’ve read another book on Waco – but definitely a lot of other so called ‘in-depth investigative reports’ on the matter. This book is unlike all those reports and writings. This book is by someone who was inside the ground zero when the FBI decided that killing people was the best and right thing to do. The author was also close to the sect’s leader, David Koresh, before David Koresh became David Koresh.

This book also gave another a strong, alternative perspective on David Koresh, his personality, his ‘vision’, his ‘mission’, etc. Again, nothing like what the media has portrayed him since the mid-90s. NOTHING. Nothing close. Although, I’m sure no one in their right mind will agree on his taking young girls as brides. That’s too much. But everything else – you’ve got to try and read this book.

If I could fit something else into my 2019 reading challenge, I’d pick a book on Timothy McVeigh. Perhaps.

Read: Zlata’s Diary

Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Wartime Sarajevo: Revised Edition, by Zlata Filipović

What is the meaning of life? Why do we read nonfiction, feel the pain, and yet we continue to read nonfiction?

A dear friend of mine (actually, we refer to each other as ‘soul sisters’) is from Serbia, but unfortunately we never got to talk much about the war while we were hanging out together (we have weekend bookish excursions at a place called Bookworm, at Sanlitun), living and working as expats in a foreign country once upon a decade ago. But what I do know is that she feels deeply ashamed of the war, doesn’t quite want to discuss it unless invoked, and that she wish this war never had to happen.

There aren’t many books out there on this war that’s written from a child’s perspective. Thus, if you’re looking for something similar, you should grab this book.