So we’re more than halfway through 2019 and I realized I never published what I read in 2018. I know the world has been waiting with bated breath (ha!), so here goes.
On the positive side, I read novels (something I failed to do in 2017), of which Shipping News was the standout. I highly recommend it, although part of my love for it probably has something to do with the fact that I have a burning desire to go to Newfoundland.
Other books follow last year’s themes – books about cities, books about transportation, books about shipping, etc.
I think the standout nonfiction books for the year were Peter Norton’s Fighting Traffic and Tom Sugrue’s The Origins of the Urban Crisis. If someone asked me for 2 books that describe why US cities look the way they do, I might recommend that one-two punch. If you’re reading this and you haven’t already read one or both, do so.
On the negative side, I read less books overall. I think that’s because I started getting The Economist and the New Yorker at home. I also started commuting (mostly) by bike rather than by bus, which ate through my most reliable morning reading time.
Books about shipping, boats, rivers, and harbors.
- In the heart of the Sea – story of the whaleship Essex that inspired Moby Dick
- A history of Transportation in the Ohio River Valley [1932 – full text here]
- The Sea and Civilization – VERY long book on world history and how it was shaped the sea.
- Fighting Traffic – best book I read in 2018
- The Cincinnati Subway
- The Transportation Revolution
- Uncommon Carriers
- The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Read more about interurbans in a previous post.
- From Trail to Railway [1907, full text here]. I’m always interested in how US development broke through the Appalachian mountains – this book documents the canals, railroads, and turnpikes that made it happen.
- The Origins of the Urban Crisis – 2nd best book I read in 2018
- Wheel Estate – I’m interested in mobile homes. This is the most comprehensive look at their history available. Also how can you resist that title?
- The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City
Books about the Catskills
- The Catskills [1918 version available here]
- Making Mountains : New York City and the Catskills – great book, reminiscent of Nature’s Metropolis, possibly my favorite book of all time.
Books about Writing
- On Writing by Stephen King
Books about Personal Finance