Readings from 2018

For me, 2018 has been the year of voices. I’ve finally found a steady stream of ways to find interesting and engaging perspectives, especially in text and audio form.

A large “just started” pile of books has collected beside the bed, reminding me of all the conversations that 2018 has brought. In some ways, the texts are a victim of their own success. Many of my most engaging conversations, the ones that prove I can still talk until 4am, have been inspired by texts I’ve read, through books exchanged, articles shared on Facebook, and covers I’ve taken photos of for IG stories.

Those new friendships anchored by common topics can quickly dive deep. The content I consume informs what I say, and what I say attracts the people I want to learn from. Below is a list of just textual content that I’ve gone through this year:


*Titles by order of recommendation in each section. Bolded ones are ones I would reread. Top two consideration factors are 1) interesting topic / new perspective / super informative, 2) great writing skills (irrespective of whether I like the style or not).

Japan (Non-Fiction)

Lost Japan by Alex Kerr
Fertility and Pleasure: Ritual and Sexual Values in Tokugawa Japan by William Lindsey
Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion by Donald Keene

Japan (Fiction)

深夜食堂 1, 2, 3 作者: 安倍夜郎 譯者: 丁世佳 (Midnight Diner / Shinya Shokudo by Yaro Abe)
少爺的時代 作者: 關川夏央, 谷口治郎 譯者: 劉蕙菁(Botchan no Jidai by Natsuo Sekikawa, Illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi)
廚房 作者: 吉本芭娜娜 譯者: 劉子倩
Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima

Nature & Wandering

The Living Mountain by Nan Shepard
The Old Ways : A Journey on Foot by Robert MacFarlane
The Tao of Travel by Paul Theroux << Not worth it. Fun as a reference for other writers to read.


Educated by Tara Westover
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin (Translated by Bonnie Huie) << Quite a work to get through, but incredible voice. Think English lit assigned readings and Virginia Woolf.


Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat
Serve it Forth by M F K Fisher
Taste of Haida Gwaii: Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World by Susan Musgrave
Food and Drink Infographics by Simone Klabin (Edited by Julius Wiedemann)
The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon << He’s got a wonderful voice and perspective, but can be a bit long-winded.

General Non-Fiction

Let My People go Surfing by Yvonne Chouinard
The Elements of Typograhic Style by Robert Bringhurst
The First Nations of British Columbia: An Anthropological Survey, Second Edition by Robert Muckle
The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson

So many books get forgotten because I’m just as often distracted by great articles. With a shared subscription to the New Yorker, I ended up I had the chance to slowly work through many great articles when I was ready for them. When I think of articles “The Day the Great Plains Burned” by Ian Frazier and “How the BBC Women Are Working Toward Equal Pay” by Lauren Collins. I’ll add in more articles as I fish them out of my Pocket, messages, and e-mails.

Old Friends:

An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler

Eat, Sleep, Sit by Kaoru Nonomura (Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter)

The Roads to Sata by Alan Booth

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiesen

High City, Low City by Edward Seidensticker

Maximum City by Suketu Mehta

The God of Small Things by Arundathi Roy

Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundathi Roy

Coming through Slaughter by Michael Ondatjee

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (Translated by Megan Backus)

Botchan by Natsume Soseki

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalathini

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Athena Lam

A content marketing strategist and consultant. Passionate about storytelling for great teams and products. Co-founder of Business 3.0 (, Personal blog at

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