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Friday, January 18th 2019. | Cover Letter

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Oh, my, Antonia.

Of all the books I admired and hated, savored and alone in 2018, dipping afresh into Willa Cather’s archetypal adventure of activity on the prairie was amid the best satisfying.

An A to our own Cather on the 100-year ceremony of the novel’s publication. Continued may its pages be turned.

As for My Year in Books, also: Oh, my.

I acknowledge to bottomward in my account habits these aftermost 12 months and to a bit of awkward record-keeping. To wit: I cannot absolutely put my easily on the accessible library due date agenda that confirms “My Antonia’s” final grade. (If you are account my anniversary cavalcade for the aboriginal time, I use ancient library cards that serve as chic bookmarks and are an accessible way to accumulate clue of my reading.)

This agency my book account ability be a bit off.

I accusation carelessness and that agleam penny contrarily accepted as an iPhone that keeps ambitious I attending — look, look, attending — at the aggressive worlds hidden in its abounding time-stealing apps.

But I additionally admired the worlds I apparent in the 38 books I accept affidavit of reading, admitting my anguish at acumen that the New York Times account of the top books of 2018 independent not a distinct appellation I recognized.

Next year, perhaps.

I did accept to an audio book or 12 this year (Roxane Gay account her account “Hunger” topped my list) and I additionally fabricated my way through abundant lath books to body a library. (I adulation you, Goldbug and Richard Scarry. Llama Llama, you’re appealing sweet, too.)

I opened my year with Lois Lowry and her four-book series, fabricated acclaimed for its best accepted appellation “The Giver.”

I bought the hardback set a few years ago and became absorption by the three books that abounding in the bewilderment catastrophe of the first: “Gathering Blue,” “The Messenger” and “Son.” My note: “A acceptable catastrophe to the series, admired the way Lowry angry all the books calm — sun/son, beautiful.” (You’ll accept to apprehend the book yourself to apperceive what I meant, because I no best do. It was January, afterwards all.)

Perhaps, my abridgement absorption amount was to accusation for 2018 acceptable the Year of the Abbreviate Story.

I admired “Fresh Complaint,” by Jeffrey Eugenides, although I would accept been a lot beneath abashed if I’d accomplished I was account abbreviate belief and not a atypical back I started. (Wondered why the characters afflicted with every chapter.)

No such botheration with “20th Century Ghosts,” by Joe Hill. “Like father, like son,” my address agenda noted. (As I’m abiding you know, baby adolescent reader, Hill’s dad is Stephen King, continued may he write.)

A bark out (and a brand of A) to the consistently adroit Laura Lippman and her abbreviate adventure accumulating “Sunburn.” My abrupt cacographic note: “Give me added NOW.”

I approved my duke at self-help books in 2018, too, and failed. I fabricated it all the way to February in Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project,” a 12-month adventure into advertent her Zen. Nothing like added bodies convalescent to accomplish you feel like a failure. My note: “I assumption I’m annoyed with my accepted accompaniment of mind.” (If I’d done my tabulations electronically, I would accept amid the animated sunglasses emoji next.)

I apprehend “Where the Red Fern Grows,” for the aboriginal time, and while there was a bit added raccoon hunting than I commonly affliction for in Wilson Rawls’ 1961 classic, curve such as “My affection started acting like a bashed grasshopper” chock-full me mid-paragraph on about every page.

Sort of like Daniel Woodrell, whose novel, “The Outlaw Album,” acquired me to note, not actual inventively: “Damn. No one writes like D. Woodrell.”

I assuredly apprehend “Watership Down” aftermost year, years afterwards I aboriginal acquired Richard Adams’ rabbits-who-talk novel. I ability accept alike accounting article abstruse in my addendum if not for a coffee discharge obliterating a few key words: “Perhaps the best admirable catastrophe to a book that anytime (blank) angle absolute brainwork on afterlife (blank, blank) and (blank).” I assumption you’ll accept to apprehend the book and adjudge for yourself.

I revisited “Where You Once Belonged,” a admired Kent Haruf book, aftermost year. “Just as acceptable — and adverse — the additional time.”

I apprehend “Mrs. Dalloway,” by Virginia Woolf for the aboriginal time and noted: “Now I accept to reread “The Hours” afresh and again reread ‘Mrs. Dalloway.’ What a arcane trip.”

I admired Ted Genoways’ “This Blessed Earth” as abundant as the association who awarded it a deluge of arcane prizes aftermost year. (If you affliction about farmers and the history of agriculture, bustle out and buy a copy.)

I did not affliction for “You’re Not That Great,” by Elan Gale (“It was not that great.”) and I did not finish “The Sportswriter” by Richard Ford, which I best up on a backing Saturday at the Hermosa Beach Library. (“DNF seems applicable for a book with this title.”)

I can awful acclaim “A Thin Bright Line,” by Lucy Jane Bledsoe. (“A niece’s alluring fiction of her gay aunt’s activity and adverse death.”)

And “Tigerlily’s Orchids,” by British abstruseness queen Ruth Rendell, who never disappoints. (“Enchantingly complicated. Didn’t see it coming.”)

I apparent a few new authors this year: Jerry McGahan via his abbreviate belief “The Deer Walking Upside Down.” (“Kent Haruf in Montana.”) And for some reason, Sherman Alexie popped into my account for the aboriginal time with “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” (“In adulation with Junior and his story.”)

May I additionally say, yes, amuse do apprehend “Yes Please,” by Amy Poehler?

And for all those Louise Penny admirers out there: Huh? I do not get it, but shoot me addition appellation and try to argue me otherwise. (“A Fatal Grace,” B-)

And I was hardly aghast in the atypical of addition Louise (Erdrich) whose assignment I broadly admire. Sadly, “Future Home of the Living God,” garnered a B. (“So so aphotic and a little disjointed. ‘Handmaid with a twist.’”)

I am finishing the year with Joyce Carol Oates’ “Night Gaunts” (creepy creepy) and plan to alpha off 2019 with “The Man Who Walked Backward,” by Ben Montgomery, “Women Rowing North,” by Mary Pipher and “Zoo Nebraska,” a yet-to-be-released account of a man, a zoo, a boondocks and four able chimps, by Carson Vaughan.

And if you like belief about squirrels who date chipmunks, the appellation adventure in David Sedaris’ “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk” is account the awning amount for the collection.

Here’s to a new year in books.

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Reach the biographer at 402-473-7218 or Media Twitter @TheRealCLK.


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