Here’s the best of what I read in 2018.
As in previous round-ups, some of these titles came out this year, while others were published in years past.
Last year I noted that I’d read just two memorable novels that year. My consumption of fiction this year, sadly, has again been low.
I am always tempted to read nonfiction books related to work – India, tech, business – and I sometimes forget that in tackling both the universal and the particular, novels have a unique power. They build empathy and communicate truths in ways that sometimes nonfiction cannot. For example, take my favorite novel of the year, by Mohsin Hamid…
It succeeds as a page turner, as a thrilling rags to riches tale, as a romance, and also as a realistic look at society, money, power and corruption in South Asia.
(It is set in an unnamed country that appears to be Hamid’s home country, Pakistan, but there are many echoes of India.)
This is the first book my Hamid that I’ve read, and apparently some feel it’s not even his best. You can bet I will be reading his other works. Highly recommended. (Thanks, Michael, for the gift!)
I’d forgotten how vivid the prose is. I highlighted this sentence, about Captain Peleg, which I really loved:
“Though refusing, from conscientious scruples, to bear arms against land invaders, yet himself had illimitably invaded the Atlantic and Pacific; and though a sworn foe to human bloodshed, yet he in his straight-bodied coat, spilled tons upon tons of leviathan gore.”
Tons of leviathan gore!