My Top 12 of 2018 aka How to Set Some Reading Goals

The major publications have already released their “best of” book lists for the year. But nope, at A Lifely Read, I like to push it to the very, very end. Major newspapers/magazines/websites have a reason for pushing their lists a bit early: No new books are being released at the end of the year and publishers want people to buy books for the holidays. (Did you see the article about printing issues that “derailed” holiday book sales?)

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Set your goals on a post-it next to your two phones and old-school adding machine. (STOCK IMAGE, duh!)

People often create reading challenges for a New Year, so I’m going to frame my Best Books of 2018 List according to the 12 months of the year. These aren’t necessarily the months that I read the books, but you’ll see why I’m slotting them in. Second caveat: Unlike official “best of” books lists, these are not just books published in 2018…I just happened to read them this year. My blog, my rules, okay?

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Where the Streets Usually Have Names: On Maps, The Hate U Give, and An American Childhood

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The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas and An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard

“The setting of our urgent lives is an intricate maze whose blind corridors we learn one by one—village street, ocean vessel, forested slope—without remembering how or where they connect in space.” – Annie Dillard, An American Childhood

“To me, it’s so weird to have a gate around a neighborhood. Seriously, are they trying to keep people out or keep people in? If somebody puts a gate around Garden Heights, it’ll be a little bit of both.” – Starr, in The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

What is childhood but a map of what’s considered normal? Children are born knowing and internalizing their surroundings, starting with (hopefully) a parent’s arms, moving on to rooms in their homes and then expanding to the streets outdoors. It’s how it goes: Healthy children start exploring, wondering – and then crawling, toddling, zipping away, using the maps (both literal and emotional) that are at their feet.

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Thank you, Google Maps, for transporting me back to my childhood.

The house I lived in until I was 12 was in a neighborhood with twisty roads and lots of hills. Or at least I think so; I haven’t truly seen it in over 25 years except for maybe two quick drive-throughs. I imagine if I were to go back now, it would feel easy to navigate, but even at age 12, it felt very labyrinth-like. One day when I was about 5, I went “jogging” with my mom. I decided I had had enough – because 5-year-olds and jogging with adults don’t usually go hand-in-hand – so she agreed that at SE 18th Street, we could part ways because that would be just one turn and about 10 houses away. And it was 1981, so of course. (Side note: SE 18th Street is also a steep-ish hill that my brother and I later decided to ride down while sitting on his skateboard. All was well until a surprised driver at the bottom of the hill nearly hit us and then trailed us home to yell at us in our driveway. AH, MEMORIES!)

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