Author Topic: Best Books of the Year  (Read 701 times)

buttgammon

  • You can't trust a man what's made of gas
Best Books of the Year
« on: December 22, 2018, 12:36:03 PM »
We're nearly at the end of 2018, so it's time for a generic list thread. What are your favourite books of the year?

For me, the very best new novel is toss-up between Census by Jesse Ball and Milkman by Anna Burns. Census is a beautiful book that hasn't got anywhere near the attention it deserves. It's a mysterious book about a dying man who takes his son (who has Down's syndrome) on a final voyage across a strange and unnamed country. It's one of those great books that balances experimentation and adventure with a real emotional core, and I have no shame in saying it moved me to tears.

Milkman has a similar balance between experimentation and emotion, so it's sad its reputation seems to be overshadowed by conservative broadsheet critics banging on about how 'difficult' it is. For what it's worth, it is actually a deeply funny and compulsively readable book. The absurdity of violence, politics, nationalism, sexism and human behaviour in general comes through so much that I often didn't know whether to laugh or despair. Although the book is set in Northern Ireland's past, there is a real sense of urgency here, and perhaps even a warning about what the near-future may have in store.

I've also really enjoyed:

To be a Machine by Mark O'Connell
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
Normal People by Sally Rooney
New Dark Age by James Bridle
The Unmapped Country by Ann Quin (she's been dead for decades but it's a new collection and it's fantastic)
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
Ladivine by Marie Ndiaye

Re: Best Books of the Year
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2018, 08:46:20 PM »
These were my favourites that were either published this year or close to. My number one was probably The Ace of Lightning by Stephen-Paul Martin, which is separate stories that overlap in odd ways and hinge around the assassin of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip. Made me want to read it again as soon as I finished it. Worth seeking out.

The others:

French Exit by Patrick deWitt
Life is a Narrow Bridge by Aaron Their
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
The Price You Pay by Aidan Truhen
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill
Ultraluminous by Katherine Faw
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Lacking Character by Curtis White
Radical Technologies by Adam Greenfield
Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim
The Town by Shaun Prescott