2018 Summed Up: My Top Books This Year

I love booklists.

Especially if it’s from a writer or website I love and trust, booklists help me narrow down my search for good books a lot faster, therefore wasting less time with not-worth-it reads.

This year has been a lot of books for me. A lot less, as I started a full time job at the end of April. Nevertheless, I’ve found time to read and some really good gems through the struggle of a new busier than ever schedule.

If you’ve been looking for a good read, here are my top books, fiction and non-fiction, for 2018.

Fiction:

The book in two sentences: This novel follows the protagonist, Theo, as he matures and experiences the different stages of life and relationships after his mother dies in a terrorist attack on a museum. Every stage of his life is tied to a painting of a Goldfinch he stole during the confusion after the attack.

My thoughts in three sentences: I wrote my very first book review on this blog on this book. Till today, I have to say that it’s definitely my top read of 2018. It’s narrative still haunts me, I still remember vivid scenes from its story. A thicker-than-usual book, but more than worth the patience and time.

The book in two sentences: The Secret History is a thought experiment on dramatising Ancient Greek philosophy in a modern-day classroom setting. It features a professor and a group of his choice students, each one representing a historical figure.

My thoughts in three sentences: The Secret History is incredibly well-written, its plot covering many bases such as satire, ancient Greek tradition and the social effects of isolation. Dramatising the (when taken literally) philosophical and moral viewpoints/representations of these historical figures and putting them together is a fantastic thought experiment. Great for people who love history, philosophy, Ancient Greece and simply having a great read.

The book in two sentences: Morris Bellamy breaks into his favourite author’s house to steal unpublished manuscripts of subsequent books of his favourite series, killing the author in the process. He lands himself in jail for an unrelated crime before reading the manuscripts and upon release nearly 40 years later, finds out in a murderous rage that a teenage boy has found and stolen the manuscripts.

My thoughts in three sentences: This book is a fantastic one for all literary enthusiasts, part and full-time alike. This book questions the famous, mythical American Dream, both taken literally and literarily. A must read for anyone (especially English majors or graduates) who enjoys the discussion in an American literature seminar or classroom.

The book in two sentences: This book follows two protagonists, Tengo and Aomame as they travel through a time-space warp into an alternate, sinister dimension in order to get together.. Murakami attempts successfully to encapsulate whole worlds into this novel, with accompanying criticism, political, sociological, psychological and more.

My thoughts in three sentences: This book is strange, fantastical and wonderful. The plot is convoluted yet remains enthralling. This book is great for anyone who loves science fiction and societal commentary at the same time.

  • Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, Haruki Murakami (Short Stories)

The book in two sentences: This is a collection of short stories by Japanese author, Haruki Murakami. It includes original short texts and abbreviated versions of some of his popular novels such as Norwegian Wood.

My thoughts in three sentences: For short stories, each one weaves a captivating world of its own that fully engrosses the reader—truly a feat only a master author can pull off. This book is great for people who don’t have time to read full length novels. It gives the satisfaction of one without requiring the same level of commitment.

Non-Fiction:

  • Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss

The book in two sentences: Transcripts with notes of Tim Ferriss’ interviews with top performers around the globe (whose podcasts I am also highly into). The book also includes many sections which feature articles, resources for different topics and more.

My thoughts in three sentences: I find this book invaluable, definitely making it my top non-fiction book of 2018. Although I do listen to the podcasts, the book gives the tips and tools of these “titans” in a catchy, very readable way that you can keep with you and read whenever. My favourite additional sections are the ones on meditation and “1000 true fans revisited”—my favourites change from time to time along with my needs.

  • The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson

The book in two sentences: This book contains alternating, parallel narrations of the Chicago World Fair and H.H Holmes’ murders of multiple women in Chicago. The former follows the main architects’ work and accomplishments while the latter brings us into Holmes’ dark, twisted world and mind.

My thoughts in three sentences: The Devil in the White City is one of the most compelling, fascinating narratives that reads almost like a fictional story. It’s a great read for fellow American history enthusiasts. Also, I especially liked it as Chicago happens to be one of my favourite cities in the world.

The book in two sentences: “The Dip” refers to the slump after beginner’s luck or enthusiasm. Seth Godin teaches the reader the right questions to ask in order to get to the answer: is this dip worth pushing through or should I give up?

My thoughts in three sentences: The Dip is an incredibly insightful book for being such a short one. Godin doesn’t give definite answers but he helps you find yours. It was just what I needed at the three month mark of having this blog, where I faced a dip of my own.

  • Show Your Work, Austin Kleon

The book in two sentences: Austin Kleon encourages readers not to keep the process of their work a secret anymore. Instead, he encourages showing your work”. The book is short, eye-catching and easy to read, being divided into clear sections which give pretty concrete ideas for showing your work.

My thoughts in three sentences: This book has quite fundamentally challenged the way I view and function with my work. It is a trend and a suggestion I think will revolutionise the way artists interact with their audiences, in a good way. I recommend this for everyone.

This has been a good year of reading and reviewing for me, and I hope the next one will be even better. Hope you’re having a good new year’s eve!

As much as I love recommending books, I love knowing others’ recommendations too. What are your best books of 2018? Let me know in the comments below!

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