Likely Stories: Reading List for 2018

Dec 21, 2017

A selection of interesting and eclectic titles for 2018


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and biographies.

One of things I love about the fall season is the avalanche of new books.  Here is my wish list for 2018.

I begin with History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund.  This interesting tale of a young girl who befriends Lily and a new history teacher at her school, Mr. Grierson.  As the lives of these characters spiral into a dark time, Linda tries to deal with what is going on in her life.  Short-listed for the Booker Prize, this promises to be a suspenseful ride in the northern woods.  John Banville, winner of a Booker prize, starts off the year with his latest novel, Mrs. OsmondBanville’s novels are always serious explorations of people and their struggles through life.  He always delivers a great story. 

I recently reviewed my first encounter with Elena Ferrante, and next I am going to tackle what some call her masterpiece, My Brilliant FriendThis bildungsroman is sure to capture your attention with some interesting characters.  When I watched The Gilmore Girls on Netflix, I really admired Lauren Graham, so I decided to read her novel, Some Day, Someday, Maybe.  I am now watching her on Parenthood, so this should be a fun read.

I recently acquired a new novel from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, which always seem to rise to the top of my TBR.  Samantha Mabry’s novel, All the Wind in the World, will, I believe, continue the amazing parade of authors from this fine press.  I have never been disappointed by Algonquin.  Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize winning Turkish writer, has come out with The Red-Haired WomanThis is the story of some workers, who meet the woman of the title, which has a dramatic effect on their lives.

Two titles of philosophy have been hanging around my desk for long enough.  This year I will get to Why Buddhism Is True by Robert Wright.  I have skimmed some of the pages, and this appears to be a thought-provoking excursion into the workings of an ancient and interesting philosophy.  Another work I have been trying to get to is Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell.  I have actually started reading this several times, but I realized I need a good chunk of quiet time for this work.

Our book club unanimously approved and thoroughly enjoyed A Man Called Ove, so I am going to try Fredrik Backman’s Beartown.  Members of the club have already given it rave reviews.  I have moved several of Margaret Drabble’s novels to the fore, and her latest, The Dark Flood Rises looks to be another literary masterpiece.

The New York Review of Books does wonderful work reviving obscure or forgotten novelists from the past.  Blood Dark by Louis Guilloux is a story of a philosopher struggling to maintain his sanity in a small provincial town.  This novel was considered a masterpiece by Gide, Malraux, Camus, and Pasternak.  What a set of recommendations!  Essays by Gary Snyder, the renowned poet, with Back on the Fire will, I believe be well-worth the time.

Finally, I will resume my survey of the Brontës with Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë, and finish with a memoire by Rick Bragg, All over but the Shoutin’. 

Likely Stories is a production of KWBU.  I’m Jim McKeown.  Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading