Wednesday, October 3, 2018

2018 books

As I did last year, I'm posting the list of books I read this year, partly as a memory aid, partly to share with my friends one view into who I am and what I like. I'm pretty sure I'm missing a few that I read, as I wasn't very disciplined about tracking them, but...
This was (unintentionally) a very refugee/war conditions reading year, including items such as The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Midnight's Children, The Muralist, Rob Roy, Remains of the Day. 
Hard to say what my favorites were...several I really enjoyed.  I think I'd have to go with a couple of the chick-lits:  The Woman Who Stole My Life and Where'd You Go, Bernadette.  Though I also really enjoyed Rob Roy and Remains of the Day.  And Midnight's Children.

* = Recommended
X = Stay away

  • * The Woman Who Stole My Life (audiobook): Marian Keyes - completed from last year...loved it
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring: Tracy Chevalier - I did not love this as much as Remarkable Creatures
  • Oliver Twist: Charles Dickens
  • The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (audiobook): Arundhati Roy
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel: Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • Flowers in the Attic: VC Andrews
  • Midnight's Children (audiobook): Salman Rushdie - liked it a lot, but may not be for everyone
  • * Remains of the Day: Kazuo Ishiguro - greatly enjoyed this
  • * Where'd You Go, Bernadette? (audiobook): Maria Semple - kind of the story I used to fantasize about writing - lots of snark, especially about annoying school parents, but also a meditation on depression.  I was also flabbergasted to find out that Maria Semple was apparently my college classmate.  I'm certain I didn't know her.
  • * Rob Roy (audiobook): Walter Scott - just loved it. I love Di Vernon.
  • From Doon With Death (audiobook): Ruth Rendell - interesting and daring choice of murderer and motive, considering the times in which it was published
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Anne Bronte - I somehow ran across the movie with the very talented Rupert Greaves (who played an almost diametrically opposite role in The Forsyte Saga), and decided I needed to re-read the book.  It's interesting to see a Victorian portrayal of an abusive relationship.  Those Brontes sure weren't afraid to probe the ugly.
  • The Muralist (audiobook): B.A. Shapiro - I loved Shapiro's The Art Forger, so decided to try this one, as well. I enjoyed it - it had some very interesting perspective on history and art analysis. What was particularly fascinating about it was its portrayal of the plight of Jewish people in Europe in the lead-up to WWII, in which people became increasingly desperate to leave, in the face of more and more closing doors. Though it was written in 2015, it could not be more relevant to today's refugee crisis, and the Trump administration's refusal to admit individuals fleeing from horrific conditions. From a writing point of view I might quibble with it in that I found it a little saccharine towards the end and I did not find the portrayal of mental illness very compelling.
  • *The Cuckoo's Egg: Clifford Stoll - I lent this to a friend, and upon return I decided to re-read it.  I still love it.

  • Gods Without Men: Hari Kunzru
  • Telegraph Avenue (audiobook): Michael Chabon (completed in the new year)