My Favorite Books of 2018

Greetings couch explorers and book readers. What were your favorite books of 2018? The ones you hated, liked, or loved? Share them in the comments and let’s talk about it. I’m excited to hear what everyone has been reading!

For me, 2018 became the year of unfinished books. In The Book Whisperer, a teacher shares how she created a culture of literary obsession in a classroom. Want kids to love reading? Teach them it’s okay to drop books and start new ones. I took the lesson to heart. But the few books I did end up finishing this year were amazing. Here are my favorite books of 2018.

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The Last Jedi Deconstructs Star Wars. And That’s a Good Thing.

The Force Awakens closes with a spine-tingling moment: Rey handing the mythic lightsaber back to its original owner, Luke Skywalker. The Last Jedi picks up where Force Awakens ends, then tosses it all behind.

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Lewis vs Tolkien: What Can Creators Learn?

Lewis and Tolkien were both geniuses, but these two friends could not have approached their craft more differently  •  3:00 min read

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] love the podcast “Revisionist History” by Malcolm Gladwell. In Episode 7, Gladwell describes the creative processes of two artists: Pablo Picasso and Paul Cézanne. If you’re anything like me, those artists’ names don’t mean much, but Gladwell’s observations had me spellbound.

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The Portal to Creativity

I have lied about my creativity, inspiration, and originality. It’s all false, a pack of lies to hide a sinister truth. The truth — hiding behind a closet door — is something I’m not sure you’re ready to hear. But confess, I must. The moment you walk into my room, you might realize something is off. There is a standing desk, an all-purpose desk for storage, and a minimalist writing desk by the window. ”Why three desks,” you ask? Because it requires a lot of space to accomplish what I’ve been doing in the cover of night.

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America, Let’s Make Tea Time Great Again

Steam rises from a green mug of lemon ginger tea on a New Zealand morning. To my right, bumpy green feijoas, also known as pineapple guavas, fill my plate. To my left, ginger cookies wait to bathe in warm, gingery liquid. And it leaves me wondering: why do Americans not participate in this glorious routine known as tea time? Ask the average American if they know what an electric water kettle is and receive a blank stare in return. How did America fall to such a pitiful state of ignorance?

Maybe electric water kettles are more ubiquitous in America than I realize. But until I traveled to the Australia and Zealandia continents, I had never seen one. First popularized in Britain, electric water kettles boil water faster than their boring stove-top counterparts. With this magical kettle, I can boil water to exactly 175° F for my white silver needle tea and 205° F for my English breakfast tea? The Brits are on to something.

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Lord of the Rings and the Power of Storytelling

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hat guy there is Faramir, Boromir’s brother and son of the Steward of Gondor. Remember, Boromir is the guy who got shot with all the arrows in the first movie?” A frozen frame from the final Lord of the Rings movie illuminated the room as I explained the history of Gondor to my dad.

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Outrage, Beauty, and the Beast

Kill the Beast!” cried the villagers. The mob brandished their torches into the hollow darkness, Gaston at the lead. In this scene, the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake captures a deeper darkness than its animated predecessor. Because this time, the provincial people are real people — an unsettling reminder that outrage is an everyday reality.

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We’re All Nifflers

In Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, the runaway niffler creates some of the best scenes in the movie. Set in the expanded universe of Harry Potter, Newt Scamander is traveling with a suitcase of magical creatures to New York City. Seventy years later, Harry studies a textbook, Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, by none other than Newt Scamander.

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Into Kenya

Mystery murders stalk candidates.” I stared at the bold headlines of the Nairobi magazine, Saturday Standard. The murder story engrossed a woman waiting for the same flight to Kisumu as I was. After trying to disentangle meaning from the awkward phrase, my fogged brain gave up and appealed to my friend sitting next to me. Anthony shrugged his shoulders.

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