2018: A Year in Reading

A reflection on the books I have read in 2018 along with links to published reviews and how I fared with my reading diversity goals. Also, some thoughts and goals for 2019 reading including a #2019AuthorReadingGoal project which you can join if you like. (let me know in the comments.) Here’s to a happy, productive reading year for all of us in 2019.

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5 short stories

Published: Short Stories: The 12 Best Collections of the Year (PopMatters)

2018 has been a banner year for short story collections. There were many to pick from -- whether debut collections by first-time writers or new ones from seasoned practitioners. There were also a few posthumously-published ones. While it was difficult to select only 12, each one here is strikingly different and pushes the boundaries of both genres and storytelling. There are several other notable collections listed at the end as well.

Published: What Commands Your Behaviors? ‘On Rule Makers, Rule Breakers’ (PopMatters)

Gelfand's thesis is that a culture is shaped, primarily, by its perceptions of internal or external threat. The greater the sense of threat, the tighter it gets with rules and norms and vice versa. Threat-driven tight cultures seek order and unity and do not allow for the ambiguities or risk-taking that loose cultures revel in. Throughout, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers, Gelfand gives many examples — both historical and contemporary — to prove how the customs that have shaped worldviews, behaviors, identities, and personal lives in any particular culture, have originated from underlying perceptions of threat. Whether a culture embraces diversity or division, its tolerance for norms deviation or permissiveness depends largely on whether it's a rule-making tight culture or a rule-breaking loose culture. (And within any given culture type there will also always be pockets of the opposite type.)