Guest Article: Heather’s Favorite Reads in 2018

One of the best gifts any friend can give is the recommendation of a truly wonderful book. We artist-types also tend to be avid readers, so book recommendations are rarely in short supply.  As a mother of a young child, a business owner and a person with limited time, in general, what I read better be darn good.  (Darn is common substitution when you have a two year old.)  So here are my top reads of 2018:


Cutting for Stone

This sweeping saga of two brothers pursuing the medical profession takes us from a missionary hospital in pre-revolutionary Ethiopa to an overcrowded, underfunded hospital in New York City.  Abraham Verghese (who is also a physician and a Stanford University professor) draws from his own experiences to bring us this epic story of “love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles- and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.”   This is a compelling and masterfully written novel that you won’t want to put down.


When Breath Becomes Air

When I first heard of this book, friends were asking “Where were you when you read the final chapter?” Very curious…  Another book by a talented writer-physician, this is a “profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with terminal cancer.”  Paul Kalanithi takes us on his journey from being the doctor to becoming the patient, in a quest to discover what truly makes life worth living.   This is one that will stay with you.  (And I was on an airplane reading the final chapter- one flight I’ll never forget.)


The Age of Innocence

What could be better than a “masterful portrait of desire and betrayal during the sumptuous Golden Age of Old New York?”  This classic from American novelist, Edith Wharton, is one of my all-time favorites and the winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize.  Wharton’s gorgeous prose, compelling storytelling powers and personal insight into upper class, 19thcentury New York society are a huge recipe for success.  Read the book, then enjoy it on the screen with Michelle Pfieffer and Daniel Day-Lewis.


This Boy’s Life

Tobias Wolff’s 1989 memoir recounts the poignant coming-of-age story of a young boy as he and his divorcée mother drive through the West in post-war America in search of a better life.  What a fascinating and illuminating experience to climb inside the mind of a young boy experiencing the “frustrations and cruelties of adolescence” and at the same time focusing on the deep friendship with his mother.  Wolff’s writing is both lyrical and funny- a superb read (especially if you have a young boy!)


Rules of Civility

I was not expecting to like this book so much!  I am three quarters of the way through and am really, really enjoying it.  Amor Towles is a fine American writer who most recently published A Gentleman in Moscow (also an excellent read).  In this book, he takes us on a whirlwind ride with a young woman, a working girl, striving to make it on her own in 1938 Manhattan.  A very well-written, smart and stylish novel full of glitz and glam, drama and adventure- with truly likeable characters- and set in NYC to boot!

Happy reading, and all the best in 2019!  ~Heather Rodriguez


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