December is the month of the “Best of…” lists. I’ve already seen the year’s best editorial cartoons; the year’s best rappers (yes, that exists); and the ten best new restaurants in DC in 2019; along with a dozen reasons why the Republicans’ impeachment defense makes no sense. (That last one really isn’t a “Best of 2019” story, but I just wanted to include it.) As I noted the other day, there is already a “Best Books of the 21st Century” list. One slightly longer list I strongly recommend is Lit Hub’s “20 Best Works of Nonfiction of the Decade.”
I’ll jump on this bandwagon by highlighting the Top Ten Posts on More to Come as selected by you—the readers—in 2019. Here they are, in chronological order:
My 2018 Year-End Reading List actually dates from December 29th of 2018, but the majority of the views came in this year. I have provided a short synopsis, with links to the longer posts, from the 21 books I read last year. Given that this one topped my list of views this past year, I’ve already posted the 2019 edition.
Two of the top ten posts resulted from my writings around my semi-retirement into a gap year. The first, Kindness, came about when I announced I was stepping down after 22 years from my position at the National Trust and was blown away by the kindness of the responses. As I said in the post, I felt like I woke up in the casket at my funeral and decided to stay there for a while and listen to the nice things people were saying. On Becoming Who You Are was the post on my first day of unemployment (although planned) since 1977.
Don’t Create Followers, Create More Leaders focuses on my thoughts about the responsibilities of leaders after viewing several unexpected leadership lessons from long-time colleagues and friends in the U.K. It was management guru Tom Peters who said, “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”
History Was All Around Me: PreserveCast podcast of my career in preservation (so far) ties to a podcast looking at my work at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and more. When PreserveCast host Nick Redding began our conversation on the award-winning Preservation Maryland podcast with a question about my path to preservation, my thoughts went to my childhood home, grandmother, and a favorite downtown theatre.
Create at the Intersection of Experience and Innovation was a fun post, as I had a chance to highlight the creativity and thoughtfulness of singer Linda Ronstadt. Her comment in a recent documentary—“People would think I was trying to remake myself, but I never invented myself in the first place”—was the jumping-off point for this piece of writing. The documentary on Ronstadt’s life that was the source of this quote can be seen on CNN on New Year’s Day at 9 p.m. ET.
As you can imagine, I was very excited about the Washington Nationals run in the 2019 playoffs to become baseball’s World Series Champions. Apparently, my readers were as well. They Finished the Fight, the post that went up moments after the Nats won their improbable championship, was a big favorite, with comments from as far away as Red Sox Nation in Boston.
R.I.P. Virginia Governor Gerald L. Baliles, Advocate for Preservation is my homage to the preservation work that Jerry encouraged and supported as governor of the Commonwealth in the 1980s.
The always popular Year in Photos made the list as Our Year in Photos—2019. As I wrote in my monthly More to Come update email, this is pure “brag on the family” territory. If you like that kind of thing and want to see what the four of us have been up to for the past 12 months, revisit some of our travels, or check out the newest addition to the family (a cat, not a person), then this is the place to visit.
The Importance of Being Interesting was a last minute addition to this list. But I’m not surprised that my friend Janet Hulstrand’s “breezy and digestible” book on how to live with the French shot up near the top of my charts. I found Janet’s take on how to understand these sometimes curious, somewhat frustrating, occasionally mystifying, but always interesting people to be delightful, informative, and useful all at once.
I hope you’ll find something among these ten posts that you missed the first time and want to read, or a favorite you’d like to revisit.
Thanks, as always, for reading, and have a good week.
More to come…
Image of sunflower field by Claire Holsey Brown