2018 Books: Top Ten

Thanks to being part of a book club and the discovery of audiobooks, I did a lot of reading (and listening) in 2018.

Here are ten of my favorites:

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia, by Michael Booth

This is an interesting look at the cultures and societies of the Scandinavian countries, which tend to score high on happiness indexes. The author set out to find out if people in Scandinavia really are happier, and if so, why.

The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present, by John Pomfret

We often think of US-China relations beginning with Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. Pomfret shows that the US and China have been engaging one another since the 1700s, and that things really haven’t changed that much.

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, by Robert K. Massie

After visiting St. Petersburg and seeing her burial place and the palace where she lived,  I needed to learn more about this amazing Czarina.

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall, by Mary Elise Sarotte

This is the rivetting story of how the Berlin Wall came down, not as the result of a well thought-out plan, but as a series of bureaucratic blunders.

The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall

Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe’s America, by Andrew Ferguson

Apparently there is a vibrant sub-culture of Abe Impersonators in the United States. Ferguson travelled the country to meet them, and produced this laugh-out-loud story.

Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America

The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible, Indivisible, by Simon Winchester

Our nation is what it is today because of a collection of oddballs doing oddball things. This is their story, told by the master story-teller Simon Winchester.

The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck

In 2015, Buck and his brother decided to build a wagon, buy some donkeys and retrace the journey of the pioneers along the Oregon Trail, or at least as close to it as they could find. They made it from Kansas to Oregon in one summer.

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe

When Tom Wolfe died this year, I realized that I had never read any of his books and decided to remedy that. All I can say is Wow!!

The Right Stuff

Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy, by Jonah Goldberg

In interesting, and sobering look at political ideas in the United States.

Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics is Destroying American Democracy

Surviving the State, Remaking the Church: A Sociological Portrait of Christians in Mainland China (Studies in Chinese Christianity), by Li Ma

This is an excellent book for anyone wanting to understand the house church movement in China.

Surviving the State, Remaking the Church: A Sociological Portrait of Christians in Mainland China (Studies in Chinese Christianity)