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This & That: Books That Have Stayed With Me 5 Years Later
Quick note: Today’s edition of This & That is 100% free for all readers.
Hello and happy Tuesday!
In today’s newsletter I thought I’d revisit the most impactful, memorable books that I read in 2018, I’m sharing the Anderberg family’s favorite read of May, and as always, there’s some great links to peruse.
Let’s get right to it!
Something I’m Thinking About: 5 Years Later
Every now and then I enjoy going back in time and revisiting previous years in my “Books Read” spreadsheet. How I feel about a book can definitely wax and wane over time — some titles fade from memory while others cement their place as more memorable than I originally thought.
Today, let’s take a look at what has stood out from five years ago.
The first thing I noticed were a few big historical biographies that still have a home on my shelf: Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow, Victoria: The Queen by Julia Baird, Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson, and Churchill by Andrew Roberts. All four could be counted among the top 15 or so best biographies I’ve ever read.
There were also a few memoirs/autobiographies that have remained with me: Educated by Tara Westover remains one of my three favorite memoirs of all-time, Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father has stuck with me more than I expected, and my second reading of Paul Kalanathi’s When Breath Becomes Air was just as moving as when I had first read it a few years earlier.
Finally, although I was reading more non-fiction than fiction at the time, a few novels stood out as well. Robin Soan’s Sourdough was pure fun, frontier-focused Butcher’s Crossing by John Williams and O Pioneers! by Willa Cather should be on everyone’s lifetime list, and Elliot Ackerman’s slim Waiting for Eden has been impossible to forget.
What are some of your favorites from year’s past? (Especially those that have stuck with you more than you expected!)
The Anderberg Family’s Favorite Reads of May
Jeremy — Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka is one of the more unique and well-written crime/serial killer novels I’ve read. Steven Rowley’s The Guncle was the perfect Palm Springs vacation read; you couldn’t pair a book to a place any better.
Graham (7 years old) — The oldest kiddo has really liked the occasional title in the Scaredy Squirrel series. Scaredy Squirrel Gets a Surprise was his favorite this month.
Willa (5 years old) — The entire family has gotten a kick out of DK Publishing’s Anthology of Aquatic Life. Great visuals + mind-boggling animals = a great time for all ages. We can’t wait to read other books in the series.
Bo (2 years old) — The baby of the house has finally started enjoying sitting down and being read to, even if his patience only lasts a few minutes. His favorite of late is the classic First 100 Words board book.
📚 Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow was one of my favorite reads of 2022. Its unique subject matter — video game designers — makes it an unlikely bestseller. Here’s the story of how a long-time author finally made it big-time.
🍔 J. Ryan Stradal’s newest book isn’t my favorite of his, but this profile about his food-centric stories is fantastic. His homages to the people and culture of the Midwest feel like going home.
🕵️♂️ I love reading sleuthy stories in the summer. There are all kinds of seasonal reading lists hitting the bookish web in the last couple weeks, but for my preferred genre of the season, I like to look through the past winners and nominees of the Edgar Award for Best Novel (the Edgars are awarded to the best American crime novels).
Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it.