Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from our Executive Director, Kirsten Levinsohn.
This was a hard task to choose among so many great books that I read last year. I could have easily added a couple more, and I didn’t include any mysteries (my not-so-secret addiction), though there are many that I have thoroughly enjoyed. The first four books are in no particular order. I liked them very much for different reasons, but the fifth one was my very favorite.
1. Educated, by Tara Westover
I was initially reluctant to read this book as I thought I already had a good idea of what it was about given the reviews. I am so glad that I read it. The author tells her story about her difficult upbringing with such insight, courage, love, and (mostly) understanding for her family who gave her anything but a normal childhood. A great read.
2. Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, by Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon interviews parents about their exceptional children and their lives with them. In hundreds of interviews, Sullivan finds the children have more similarities than differences from their parents, who describe caring for children with all kinds of mental or physical disabilities and differences. Inspiring.
3. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
I love to listen to audio books when I walk my dogs in the morning. This was a real treat as the author reads the book himself. Having had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of time in South Africa, I was drawn to his story of being a biracial child at a time when it was illegal for two people of different races to have children. At times quite funny, this book was also very illuminating about such a difficult time in their history.
4. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee
I enjoy historical fiction because I love how a well written story can evoke a place and time. The book tells the story of four generations of a Korean family, living first in Japanese-occupied Korea and then in Japan itself in the early 20th century.
5. Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
This was my favorite book of 2018. It’s a beautifully told story of a young girl who grows up alone in the marshland of a rural town in North Carolina. Through determination, resilience, and keen intelligence, Kya not only survives but creates an impressive life of her own. There are two additional gems in this book: the natural science aspect, with marsh birds and plant life so beautifully described, and a mystery to solve!