I am a bilbliophile and proud of it. I have an eclectic taste in books due to my background as a high school English teacher, MFA graduate student, multi-genre writer, and passionate lover of reading. I don’t have a favorite type of story and enjoy both fiction and non-fiction; poetry and drama; lyrical prose and factual essays. I love words and when an author can string them together into a page turner.
Reading is a vital part of my daily life, like eating, sleeping, exercising, and breathing. My personal library is extensive, and I’ve been collecting books since a kid. I have run out of room at home for all my titles, so I brought many to my classroom and donated hundreds. Because of my need to own books, I have evolved into an eBook and Audible junkie and buy books at least once a week.
I purchased all of these off of Amazon (mostly as eBooks) or Audible. I shared each book link to Amazon where you can learn more about the books and author, get current pricing, listen to audio samples, and read reviews.
When opening up the book descriptions, please be sure to click on “Open in New Tab” to avoid getting knocked off of the blog.
Bookbub is my favorite website for finding bestselling books at a bargain. You can sign up for daily emails of specials, many priced at 2.99 and under (some even free). Recently, one of my favorite bestsellers, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, was only 1.99.
FYI – I’m not an affiliate for Bookbub, Audible, or Amazon (although I probably should hook up with them since I’m a daily customer). I just want to share what I enjoyed and help spread my love of reading.
My list is ordered starting with my most recent reads or listens for the past year. In parenthesis, I included a mini blurb of my thoughts. Lastly I provided a list of books that I have read numerous times and gave as gifts.
Billy Crystal, Quinton Peeples, Justin Bartha, Annette Bening, Dick Cavett, Auli’l Cravalho, Rachel Dratch, Darrell Hammond, Christopher Jackson, Kevin Kline, Robin Thede, full cast, Audible Studios – Audiobook
(This audiobook was amazing! It’s an all-star cast performing a funny, heartwarming play written by Billy Crystal. It’s almost two hours of balanced laughter and poignancy.)
(A charming book about the journey of a cat and his person, a sweet Japanese man who shows the true meaning of loyalty, love and friendship. As a newbie cat owner, I find the narration of Nana the cat hilarious and realistic.)
Ray Bradbury, Jim Frangione, Recorded Books – Audiobook
(I love the writing of Ray Bradbury and his techniques. He was the master of making lists of nouns and using word association to prolifically write so many amazing short stories, often anthologized for language arts classrooms. I also use a noun listing technique when brainstorming a piece of writing.)
(Anne Lamott is one of my all-time favorite authors. She mixes talent, faith, irreverence, and realism in her stories. You don’t have to love writing to love this book on life; I have a classroom set of Bird by Bird for my high school students.)
(This stranger-than-fiction murder happened in Erie, Pennsylvania, just thirty miles north of where I live. It became the Netflix documentary, Evil Genius: The True Story of the most Diabolical Bank Heist)
(I read this amazing collection of essays for an MFA course. This book and my work with it inspired me to declare a concentration in non-fiction writing. I’m much better at telling a true story than making one up. I wish fiction came easier to me. I keep trying.)
(I loved the advice Mel Robbins gives to her clients, some of who I can relate to, others who remind me of people I know. The multiple stories helped me better understand a variety of issues people battle: obesity, narcissism, rejection, self-loathing…)
Joyce Carol Oates, Amanda Plummer, Phoenix Books – Audiobook
(Oh my my! This novella is a fictional rendition of the Chappaquiddick incident: In 1969, Senator Ted Kennedy accidentally drove his car into a pond, killing his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. The story is narrated by the woman while she is underwater. The true story is scandalous and the fictional tale is haunting.)
Abigail Drake – Kindle Edition and my own signed copy 🙂
(This is another great read by my award winning author friend, Wende Dikec –who also writes young adult books under her real name. Abigail Drake is her pseudonym for her romantic female fiction. This title is a magical, happy read with an array of captivating characters.)
Leo Tolstoy, Soren Filipski, Hythloday Press – Audiobook and Kindle Edition
(Anyone who is going to die someday can appreciate this moving story. It’s about a man on his deathbed and how he comes to account for what he did and didn’t do during his lifetime. I read the ending on Easter Sunday and sobbed with thanks for the dead, living,
and resurrected Christ and Tolstoy’s character Ivan Ilych.)
(One of the best books I ever listened to! It’s YA but accessible to all ages. It’s no wonder it won so many awards and great reviews and became a movie. I personally learned so much about racism, tolerance, and why it’s so hard to break free from the cycles of poverty, crime, and drugs. This belongs in high school curricula.)
(I own the Audible version too! This is my favorite rocker and memoir of all time. It was amazing to see Springsteen on Broadway, a one-man show where The Boss tells stories that he wrote in Born to Run and then plays his songs that amplify those words. I plan to write an entire blog on this amazing entertainer, this imperfect man, and his book and Broadway show.)
(One of the most powerful and popular daily devotionals. I was given my first copy by my doctor in the fall of 2017. I am now rereading it and have given many copies away to friends and family who I thought could benefit from the daily messages connected to scripture.)
Benjamin Hoff, Simon Vance, Tantor Audio – Audiobook
(Who knew how much I could learn from the wisdom of Winnie the Pooh! This is a delightful listen that I’ve gone back to many times. This makes a great gift book for anyone who wants to grow through invaluable lessons from this sweet honey loving bear.)
Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Tara Sands, Random House Audio – Audiobook, Kindle Edition, Paperback.
(This is one of the best books ever! The eighteen-year-old protagonist is damaged, resilient, and grows like a flower. I learned so much about the symbolism of flowers and the beauty of humanity. I read this years ago, bought it as gifts, and then listened to it this year. It got even better!)
(I am honored to teach this book to my freshmen English students. It is one of the best stories in literary existence. The Audible version narrated by Sissy Spacek is impeccable with over 25,000 five star ratings. I like bouncing back and forth between the book and audio. I’m very lucky to get to work with this book each year.)
(A novelette by yours truly. It’s an inexpensive, short read/listen if you’re interested in a fictional tale about Mitzi Miller, a spunky elderly widow seeking closure after moving out of her home. I’m currently working on a Mitzi Miller series. You can read more about the book and me as D.S. Lucas at dslucas.com
I hope you found something word worthy here. Let me know what you think if or after you have read any of my 40 favorites that I enjoyed in 2018. What’s on your book list of top hits?