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Posts Tagged ‘2018 Year Of Reading’

2018 was a wonderful reading year for me. Though, in a general way, I felt that I read less, and I had multiple reading slumps through the year, when I look at my reading list now, I feel that it was a spectacular year. I wanted to read around 70 books and I read 71. It was way more than what I had read the previous year or in recent years. I also read some thick chunksters which I had wanted to read for a long time. Most important of these was ‘Collected Fictions‘ by Jorge Luis Borges, which I had wanted to read for a very long time. I am glad that I am finally able to cross it off my list. I also read a significant number of Kindle books, which was a new experience for me. At one point, I think I read 10 straight Kindle books. Every year, I make a list of my favourite books. I love most of the books I read and so it is always a struggle to leave out books which I loved. So, this year, instead of making a favourites list, I decided to just share my reading list from 2018, with a brief description of each book. If a particular book didn’t work for me, I have mentioned that.

So, here is my reading list from last year.

Reading List

Fiction

Literary Fiction

(1) The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig – Stefan Zweig is one of favourite authors and I was so happy to read all his novellas together.

(2) Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi – One of the great works of the twentieth century which deserves to be more famous. Firdaus is one of the most haunting characters in literature.

(3) The Restaurant of Love Regained by Ito Ogawa – A beautiful, charming ode to food.

(4) Elective Affinities by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – A beautiful love story, Goethe style.

(5) And the Ocean was Our Sky by Patrick Ness and Rovina Cai – A retelling of the Moby Dick legend from the whale’s perspective. The whale is called Bathsheba. And she is awesome.

(6) Talking to Ourselves by Andrés Neumann – A beautiful road novel about family and love.

(7) In the Beginning was the Sea by Tomás González – A beautiful novel by a Columbian writer who is not called Marquez.

(8) The History of Love by Nicole Krauss – Krauss’ finest novel probably. This sentence from it – “Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering” – is probably one of the most famous sentences in contemporary fiction.

(9) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – Atwood’s masterpiece. Tells you what ‘Nolite te bastardes carborundorum‘ means.

(10) Julius Winsome by Gerard Donovan – A beautiful haunting novel about love and revenge. A beautiful discovery for me, thanks to fellow raccoon, Renuka.

(11) Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park – A road novel about love and family set across a snowy landscape.

(12) Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward – An insightful, powerful novel about the African-American condition. Who can resist this title?

(13) The Last Days by Laurent Seksik – A novel which describes the last days of Stefan Zweig. So moving and haunting.

(14) A Long Blue Monday by Erhard von Büren – A beautiful novel about growing up in Switzerland.

(15) Manju by M.T.Vasudevan Nair – A beautiful novel about life and love and being a single woman.

(16) The Spectre of Alexander Wolf by Gaito Gazdanov – An interesting literary thriller. I can’t remember how it ended! Need to read it again.

(17) The Brother by Rein Raud – A revenge thriller. My first Estonian book.

(18) Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner – My first Faulkner. Didn’t go well because it was written in stream-of-consciousness style. One of my friends says that Faulkner is the greatest American writer of the 20th century. Another friend says that Faulkner is one of her favourite writers. I admire them both. So I am hoping to read more Faulkner this year. Hoping that my next Faulkner goes better.

Historical Fiction

(19) Exit Lady Masham by Louis Auchincloss – A beautiful historical novel about how the queen’s maid becomes the most powerful person in the kingdom. An interesting account of a fascinating period in English history.

(20) Beaten by a Beard and other stories by Nandini Sen Gupta – A unique book because it is a collection of historical short stories. All of them are based on real events which are not so well known. A brilliant work.

Short Stories

(21) The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig – Brilliant collection, which is also chunksterish. Loved every page.

(22) The Stories of Ray Bradbury – I finally read this after getting it years back. Such a brilliant collection which showcases Bradbury’s storytelling skills.

(23) Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges – Finally got to read the Master’s complete fiction. So brilliant.

(24) The First Person and other stories by Ali Smith – My first Ali Smith book and I loved it. Can’t wait to read more of her works.

(25) My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead : Great Love Stories from Chekhov to Munro edited by Jeffrey Eugenides – A wonderful collection of love stories. Some of the stories didn’t work for me but the others were amazing.

(26) The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat and other stories from the North edited by Sjon and Ted Hodgkinson – A collection of Scandinavian short stories. Beautiful collection and a gorgeous edition.

(27) When Women Speak Up : A Women’s Web Collection of Inspiring Stories edited by Sandhya Renukamba and Aparna Vedapuri Singh – An beautiful collection of stories by women writers. So wonderful and inspiring.

(28) A Bride for One Night : Talmud Tales by Ruth Calderon – A collection of stories from the Talmud narrated both in their original form and in a contemporary form. Very fascinating.

(29) Flame Tip by Karenlee Thompson – A collection of stories about Australia’s bushfire. Very haunting.

Contemporary Fiction

(30) The Day Money Died by Percy Wadiwala – A novel about demonetization. Very stylish and charming.

Romance

(31) Undying Affinity by Sara Naveed – Sara Naveed is sometimes described as the Romance Queen of Pakistan and this novel shows why. Very charming and romantic novel with stylish and cool characters.

Young Adult

(32) In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner – A novel about art and love and depression, it is beautiful, dark and intense. Gae Polisner moves outside of her earlier sunny young adult landscape and enters a dark, intense, almost Tabitha Suzuma-ish territory with this book. Can’t wait to find out whether her next book will continue to explore this new landscape. This book also has these beautiful lines – “We can only make ourselves happy. We can’t save others. We can love others. But we can only save ourselves.

Science Fiction

(33) The Stone Gods by Jeannette Winterson – My first Winterson. It was good, but not necessarily amazing, though there was a mind blowing surprise in the end. Need to read more Winterson.

Fantasy / Fairy Tales

(34) Unfairy Tales by T.F.Carthick (Karthik Lakshminarayanan) – One of my favourite retelling of fairytales. Very unique, unconventional and charming.

Inspirational Fiction

(35) Out of My Mind : The Discovery of Saunders-Vixen by Richard Bach – Read a Bach book after a long time. It was inspiring. Made me want to take flying lessons. I even started doing research online on flying schools 😁

Plays

(36) The Collected Plays of Sujatha – Beautiful collection of plays by this master. This is the first time I am reading his plays and they were brilliant.

Poetry

(37) Ask Me : 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford – One of my favourite discoveries last year. Stafford’s poems are so beautiful.

Crime Fiction

(38) Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter – My first Inspector Morse novel. Very interesting.

(39) Agatha Christie : Shocking Real Murders Behind Her Classic Mysteries – An illustrated book which is a must read for every Agatha Christie fan.

(40) Mr Bowling Buys a Newspaper by Donald Henderson – An old classic. It had an interesting premise, but it didn’t work for me.

Graphic Novels

(41) Brodeck’s Report by Philippe Claudel and Manu Larcenet – A dark, bleak book with brilliant, haunting artwork. One of my alltime favourite graphic novels.

(42) Abandon the Old in Tokyo by Yoshihiro Tatsumi – A new discovery for me. A collection of Manga short stories that offer commentary on the human condition. Very fascinating and insightful. I want to read more of Tatsumi’s works.

(43) Chi’s Sweet Home, Volume 1 by Kanata Konami – A charming story about a stray kitten which is adopted by a family.

(44) Illegal by Eoin Colfer – Colfer’s experiment into new territory. Very beautiful.

(45) Amla Mater by Devi Menon – A charming novel about being Indian.

Comics

(46) Asterix (the first six volumes) by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo – My structured exploration of the Asterix canon. Charming experience for me.

(47) XIII (the first six volumes) by Jean Van Hamme and William Vance – The first part ‘The Day of the Black Sun‘ is one of the most gripping and haunting graphic novels of all time. But the story dips after a while and by the end of volume 5, the writers are really scraping the barrel. There are atleast 12 more volumes left. Need to find out how they are. But that first volume – that is one of the greatest stories ever written.

Children’s Literature

(48) One Fun Day with Lewis Carroll : A Celebration of Wordplay and a Girl Named Alice by Kathleen Krull and Júlia Sardà – A charming book and a must read for Lewis Carroll fans.

Nonfiction

Memoir / Journal

(49) Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton – A beautiful, meditative, contemplative journal. One of my favourite discoveries of the year.

(50) Stammered Songbook : A Mother’s Book of Hours by Erwin Mortier – A haunting, heartbreaking memoir about the author’s mother’s descent into dementia.

(51) The Wine Lover’s Daughter : A Memoir by Anne Fadiman – Anne Fadiman’s charming memoir of her dad.

(52) Adrift : A True Story of Love, Loss and Survival at Sea by Tami Oldman Ashcraft – An inspiring story about how a woman is lost at sea and how she survives that.

(53) Summer Before the Dark by Volker Weidermann – A description of a particular summer when a few Austrian and German writers get together.

(54) Stranger on the Square by Arthur and Cynthia Koestler – Koestler’s last book. Interesting.

Sport

(55) Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby – A great love letter to football. Must read for every football fan.

(56) What We Think About When We Think About Football by Simon Critchley – An intellectual look at football. Not as good as ‘Fever Pitch’ but still very interesting.

Essays

(57) The Cockleshell by Robert Lynd – I finally read a complete collection of Robert Lynd’s essays. Infinitely charming.

(58) Upstream : Selected Essays by Mary Oliver – My favourite poet’s essay collection. She shows that she can write prose as well as she writes poetry.

Wildlife

(59) Lions : A Portrait of the Animal World by Lee Server – My favourite big cat described in all its glory with breathtaking photos.

(60) The Sting of the Wild by Justin O’Schmidt – A beautiful description of stinging insects and one of my favourite books about the animal kingdom.

Current Affairs

(61) Fire and Fury : Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff – Interesting book, but with new things happening everyday, this book has aged fast.

Have you read any of these books? How was your reading year in 2018?

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