2018 Books

I’ve always read a lot. Since I was a little girl. I used to become so engrossed in books my parents had to take them out of my hands so I could join them at the dinner table. For the past several years I have set a reading challenge for myself on Goodreads and every year I surpass it. This year was no exception – my goal was 60 and I read 71! I had several reading goals coming in to Peace Corps: 1) read about my country of service, 2) read general Peace Corps stories, 3) read a book from each of the countries that PC is currently serving and has served and, 4) read all the books on my Kindle that I downloaded before, during and after grad school. I’m making great progress in each of these areas! I also have a massive list of books I want to read (kept in an excel file, of course) and the PC Library has been very helpful.

Here are all the books I read this year and my rating for each one:

January Rating

Inside a U.S. Embassy: How the Foreign Service Works for America by Shawn Dorman

3 stars

The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely

Heroine who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone 5 stars

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman 5 stars

Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malik’s Oufkir 5 stars

Sipping from the Nike: My Exodus from Egypt by Jean Naggar 4 stars

Fascinate: Unlocking the Secret Triggers of Influence, Persuasion, and Captivation by

Sally Hogshead 3 stars

The Judgement of Richard Richter by Igor Stiks 2 stars


Lost in Shangri-la: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue

Mission of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff 5 stars

Emma’s War by Deborah Scroggins 5 stars

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton 3 stars

Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol 3 stars

Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by

Alice Steinbach 5 stars

Servants’ Hall: A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance by

Margaret Powell 5 stars


Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore 5 stars

Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea 5 stars

Balthasar’s Odyssey by Amin Maalouf 5 stars

Spymistress: The Life of Vera Adkins, the Greatest Female Secret Agent

of World War I by William Stevenson 2 stars


Pachinko by Min Jin Lee 5 stars

The Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman 3 stars

Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery and Murder in Medieval

England by Alison Weir 4 stars

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 5 stars

State of Fear by Michael Crichton 2 stars


Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama 5 stars

There’s No Toilet Paper…on the Road Less Traveled: The Best of

Travel Humor and Misadventure by Doug Lanksy 3 stars

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 3 stars

Tangerine by Christine Morgan 4 stars

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri 4 stars

Lost Lexington, Kentucky by Peter Brackney 4 stars

The Designer by Marius Gabriel 4 stars

American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner’s

Legendary Rise by Joe Drape 5 stars


Origin by Dan Brown 5 stars

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman 5 stars

Voices of Resistence: Oral Histories of Moroccan Women by Alison Baker 5 stars

The Birdwoman’s Palate by Lakshmi Pamuntjak 3 stars

Descent into Chaos: The United States & the Failure of Nation Building

in Pakistan, Afghanistan & Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid 5 stars


America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and

Heroines by Gail Collins 5 stars

River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler 5 stars

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man

Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder 5 stars

Grandma 64 Joins the Peace Corps and Lands in Namibia by Anne Baker 4 stars

The Taliba Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker 5 stars

The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman by Nancy Marie Brown. 5 stars

African Visas: A Novella and Stories by Maria Thomas 1 star

Without You, There is No Us: My Time with The Sons of North Korea’s

Elite by Suki Kim 5 stars

The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester 3 stars


Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali 5 stars

The Lost Order by Steve Berry 5 stars

Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Joan Druett 5 stars

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston 5 stars

An Argumentation of Historians by Jodi Taylor 5 stars

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton 4 stars


Loving Frank by Nancy Horan 4 stars

Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World

by Christina Rickardsson 4 stars

The Honest Spy by Andreas Kollender 3 stars

The Concealed Sarah Kleck. 3 stars

Splendid Isolation: The Jekyll Island Millionaires’ Club 1888-1942

By Pamela Bauer Mueller 4 stars


Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover 5 stars

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith 5 stars

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali 5 stars

Circe by Madeline Miller 5 stars

Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari 3 stars

The Bishop’s Pawn by Steve Berry 5 stars

The Museum of Mysteries by Steve Berry 5 stars

The Unkillable Kitty O’Kane by Colin Falconer 1 star

A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medeival Mind and The Renaissance:

Portrait of an Age by William Manchester 4 stars


Ten Women by Marcela Serrano 4 stars

The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine by Somaly Mam 5 stars

The Question of Red by Laksmi Pamuntjak 3 stars

Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World by Suzy Hansen 5 stars


Becoming by Michelle Obama 5+ stars

The Great Passage by Shion Miura 5 stars

**4 & 5 star ratings are highly recommended

About alicrain

Wanderlust. Adventurer. Mom. Mentor. Change Agent. Crazy. Servant Leader. Citizen of the World These are all words that describe me - or have been used to describe me. There are many more but we won't get in to those. What is important to know is that at the age of 45, after having a successful career and raising a son, I decided I needed a new challenge and adventure in my life. So I joined the Peace Corps. Portions of this blog were written before this time and chronicle my life during graduate school (again, something I did in my 40s). During my service in Morocco (September 2016 - December 2018) I chronicled my daily life and all it entailed to live as an American female in another country. this is a place for me to capture random thoughts and share my life's journey
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2 Responses to 2018 Books

  1. Thank you for reviewing my book, Splendid Isolation. If you have a longer review, I could add it to my website: http://www.pinatapub.com, with your approval of course. Happy New Year! Pamela Bauer Mueller


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