2018 Books Post

By Premee Mohamed
Dec 17, 2018 · 625 words · 3 minutes


From the author: My 2018 book awards and a bit about what I want to read more of next year!


The year is almost over! I mean, thirteen days left, but I don't think I'm going to finish that many more books? Maybe a handful? It probably won't affect my awards ranking, anyway.

I started tracking books read in 2016, which was a simple two-column document of author and title. Partway through the year I added 'date read' too, and then at the end of the year I went back and added genre. In 2017, curious about what others were posting on Twitter (thank you, social media, great pressure-cooker of public introspection) I added gender and whether the author(s) were a person of colour. And in 2018, I added a general sort of rating (one to five stars) and a comment box. I think this will probably be its final form (as I can't be arsed to add any more columns, and anyway it takes up a sizeable proportion of the monitor already).

In the interests of not writing a ten thousand word review for each book, I'm presenting here three sets of awards: Best Fiction I Read in 2018; Fiction I Liked Best in 2018; and Best Nonfiction of 2018.

(The difference between the first two categories is merely to acknowledge that there are plenty of books out there that are objectively good, or masterful in terms of craft or plot or suchlike; and sometimes these contain many individual components that I admire but didn't resonate with. The second category covers books that may or may not be objectively less 'good' but which I enjoyed more. Which is to say, the first is about judgement, and the second is about taste.)

So!

BEST FICTION BOOKS I READ IN 2018:

  1. Bo Bolander - 'The Only Harmless Great Thing' - January
  2. Tie: NK Jemisin - 'The Obelisk Gate'/'The Stone Sky' - February, March
  3. Donna Tartt - 'The Secret History' - June

FICTION I LIKED BEST IN 2018:

  1. Scott Hawkins - 'The Library at Mount Char' - February
  2. Karin Tidbeck - 'Amatka' - November
  3. Ismail Kadare - 'The Traitor's Niche' - November

BEST NONFICTION OF 2018:

  1. Justin O. Schmidt - 'The Sting of the Wild'
  2. Matt Simon - 'The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar'
  3. Ed Yong - 'I Contain Multitudes'

One thing that really annoyed me this year was (more than once) starting a book, deciding I didn't like it, and only later realizing that I had done that before — so I think for next year I'm going to have to add something to indicate books that I started but didn't finish, so I can stop taking out library holds on the same book again and again. At the very least, as I get older, I notice that deciding that a book isn't my bag only takes 5-8 pages, but even so, I'd like to eliminate doing that twice if I can.

Another thing I'd like to do is be a bit more intentional about my reading — that is, choose books a little more deliberately, rather than whatever random whim strikes me at the end of the previous book. For instance, I've read 39 books this year by men, 27 by women. That could be closer next year. I'd also like to read more poetry (if you have recommendations, hit me up on Twitter!), more fantasy, and more horror (I do spend a lot of time whispering 'Nooooooo' when I read horror, but I like the genre, I feel I've barely scratched the surface, and it's a lot more tolerable than watching horror movies in terms of me occasionally sleeping afterwards). 

Can't wait for 2019 and setting up the new spreadsheet! SPREADSHEET DORKS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!