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Old 12-11-2018, 03:06 AM   #1
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Question Your Favorite Books, 2018 edition

It's time to reflect on 2018 and make our MR New Year's resolutions.

So check out your MR Challenge List or GoodReads Year in Books and help us make our 2019 reading lists, figure out what threads to lurk in at the Deals forum, and fill up our eReaderIQ book watches.

First, what books did you enjoy the most in 2018?
  • Is there a book that you have been thinking about since March?
  • A book you couldn't put down or have re-read three times just this year?
  • What books have you added to your "I'm going to re-read this" list?
  • Did your favorite author finally release that long awaited book? My apologies (condolences?) to Martin, Butcher, and Rothfuss fans.
  • What books did you tell your friends "you have to read this"? (Shameless plug: If they didn't read with you, feel free to suggest it in the New Leaf Book Club when an appropriate theme comes around. We'd love to read it with you.)
  • Speaking of which, did you have a favorite book club selection? From the New Leaf Book Club, the MR Literary Club or elsewhere?
Second, what wonderful books published in 2018 did you read?
  • Are there any contenders for your favorite literary/genre/other award?
  • What would you have in a hypothetical MR slate for the Hugos?
  • What debut author is now on your must buy list?
If it is hard to remember what books you really enjoyed this year, issybird suggested making a "best of <year>" category at Goodreads (or wherever you track your reading) so you have it for next year.

If you want to see what some of the past favorites are check these out:
2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012

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Old 12-11-2018, 02:25 PM   #2
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I will separate my favorites for 2018 into a couple posts, fiction and non-fiction.

For non-fiction the stand-out selection I read this year was The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson. I split this between my Kindle and an audio version. This was a book club selection in March 2010, before my time so I didn't read it then, and was a really fascinating story about something that I hadn't ever heard about before. I actually heard about this through the No Dumb Questions podcast (episode 16) when they did a special episode for this. I will need to go see the remaining structures next time I am in Chicago.

The runner-up non-fiction book I read this year was also a March 2010 book club selection, no wonder they had a tie that month, although I didn't realize that until just now. Stiff by Mary Roach tells the story of how medical cadavers are actually used. No, they are not all cut up by medical students. Funny and irreverent but also very informative. I also read this as an audio book.
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:32 AM   #3
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My best first-time reads for 2018: (ones marked * were published in English in 2018)

SF:
- Harry Harrison, Return to Eden
- Adam Roberts, The Real-Town Murders
- Kim Stanley Robinson, Aurora
- Neal Stephenson, Seveneves
- Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, Definitely Maybe

Fantasy:
* Marina & Sergey Dyachenko, Vita Nostra

Crime:
- Garry Disher, Whispering Death
* Jørn Lier Horst, The Katharina Code

War:
- Derek Robinson, Piece of Cake

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Old 12-12-2018, 07:59 AM   #4
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I'm still tweaking my "Ten Best" list, so I'll respond to the second part first. I was surprised to see that I read nine books published this year*, since my sense of myself is that I'm not very current and I don't have any authors I follow. I won't name all of them, just the more notable.

Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown: a hoot. Various fictional and factional aspects of Margaret's life. A good small "r" republican, I scratch my head about royalty and really, she was awful. This won the 2018 James Tait Black Prize for biography.

The Game: Harvard, Yale and America in 1968 by George Howe Colt: an account of a watershed year through an elite white male perspective, just as that was about to change.

The Henchmen of Zenda by K.J. Charles: This was a surprise to me. A self-pubbed romance? Not my thing at all. But it was recommended here and really, any fan of The Prisoner of Zenda should give this subversive account a try. Tons of fun and not without insight; I could have done without the sex. Burning kisses are about as far as period romance should go.

Varina by Charles Frazier: By the author of Cold Mountain, an account of the antebellum and immediately post-war South, through the prism of Jefferson Davis's wife. Evocative and informative with much to say about race.

*US publication; Ma'am Darling was published in the UK last year.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:05 AM   #5
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A slow year for me, 2018. Hope to do better in 2019. I'm calling 2018 "The Year of the Romp." Because that's what my two favorites this year were.

Daryl Gegory's Spoonbenders (what I've described as Arrested Development's Bluth family meets The Men Who Stare at Goats) and
Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill (a robot western) were this year's standouts for me (both published in 2017).

I also really enjoyed discovering Emma Newman's writing this year. The three books (so far) in her Planetfall series were quite good (though not at all what I'd call "romps" ).

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Old 12-12-2018, 11:25 AM   #6
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I started the year rereading T.H. White's The Once and Future King, and that's still one of my all-time favorite books.

Favorite books both published and read in 2018, in no particular order, are
  • Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell
  • Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
  • Only Child by Rhiannon Navin
  • A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
  • The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
  • Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

Last edited by Catlady; 12-12-2018 at 01:37 PM. Reason: title added
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:06 PM   #7
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Favorite books published in 2018 and read in 2018 .

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris

Stay Hidden by Paul Doiron

Cabin At The End Of The World by Paul Tremblay

Favorite Book read for 2018 .

Age Of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
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Old 12-12-2018, 02:52 PM   #8
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My favorite book read this year (2018, but published in 2012) was "Wool Omnibus" by Hugh Howey.

Second favorite would be "Departure" by A.G. Riddle

Fun to read and with a storyline I had never seen before (refreshing to find something that doesn't feel like a rehash) would be "Fragment" by Warren Fahy.

Also on the "liked it" list are "Deep Sky" by Patrick Lee and "Temple" by Matthew Reilly (I had previously blasted Temple for proofreading errors, but overall, I have to admit it was fun to read).
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I started the year rereading T.H. White's The Once and Future King, and that's still one of my all-time favorite books.
I really need to try that one of these days, it just has never made it to the top of my stack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haertig View Post
My favorite book read this year (2018, but published in 2012) was "Wool Omnibus" by Hugh Howey.
I really like Wool, enough that I have bought (most of) it three times. I bought the second, third and fourth parts individually, then the omnibus when part 5 came out, and recently the audiobook omnibus. Although I haven't re-read it yet. Unfortunately, after the Silo saga, I haven't liked any of his other works as much. (Not that there has been much the last couple of years.)
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:53 PM   #10
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I'm still working on my fiction selections but here are my favorite books published in 2018. I may leave these off my best fiction selections just so I can include more overall titles, but they would both certainly have a place there.

First off, The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. The first of this four novella series was published last year but the last three were published this year. Science fiction, conspiracy, mystery, and a wonderfully sarcastic lead character. Highly recommended.

Next up, The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal. We've all seen the movies where we need to stop the asteroid from hitting Earth; this story is what might have happened if we didn't have warning that one was coming. Set in the early 1950s and continuing through the early 1960s these follow the life of Elma York, a talented pilot and doctor in mathematics (and works as a "calculator" like in Hidden Figures, although Elma predates that book). Excellent writing, wonderful characters, historically realistic (it's an alternate history, so accurate isn't the right word) including dealing with systemic racism and sexism which are major themes. There is a 2012 novellette that I would read after these two which makes a great conclusion and there are (at least) two more in this setting still to be published but I believe they are not following the same lead character but continuing the alternate history in a different way. I will be nominating the first for the NLBC as soon as an appropriate category comes up. Great reads.

Those were the two-standout new series from this year but I really enjoyed Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch (Peter Grant 7) and Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz (Orphan X 3) as well.

Last edited by Dazrin; 12-19-2018 at 08:12 PM. Reason: edits were needed
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Old 12-13-2018, 08:16 AM   #11
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This year I've only read two books published in 2018, both being hardback picture books by Shaun Tan: Cicada was okay but not one of his best; Tales from the Inner City has absolutely gorgeous imagery and strange but fascinating very short stories. As good as that was, my real favourite of his I got earlier in the year (but originally published in 2006), called Arrival; a story told entirely in pictures, I absolutely love it ... but I probably shouldn't be dwelling on these hardcovers in front of all these e-reader-readers.

My favourite (not published in 2018) books for the year were:

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien. A re-read, of course.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows. A funny, charming, sometimes tragic but always delightful story.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and also Turtles All The Way Down. Emotionally intense treatment of difficult subjects, I found them both very convincing and involving.

Song of Time by Ian R. McLeod. A very human look into the coming century, told in retrospect by a dying musician. Beautifully constructed; powerful and evocative.

Honourable mentions should also go to:

Jasper Fforde who I only discovered this year, starting with The Last Dragonslayer.

M.R. Carey and his The Girl with All the Gifts.

Jane Harper and The Dry, starting a new (Australian) detective series I expect to keep following.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, a truly memorable read. Of course, it is extra-memorable for having discussed it in the New Leaf Book Club.

I read a lot more shorter fiction than I usually do, and that kept the count up despite an otherwise busy year. Other authors whose work I enjoyed very much this year include (in no particular order): Elizabeth Ferrars, Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz), L.M. Montgomery, Christopher Moore, Jack McDevitt, Richard Dawkins, Eoin Colfer, Nancy Fulda, Ted Chiang, Natasha Pulley, Stephen Donaldson (his new novellas), Kat Ross, Ellen Klages.
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:49 PM   #12
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My most memorable books of 2018 were in no particular order:

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle
A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Paul Revere's Ride by David Hackett Fischer
This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (published in 2018)
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (published in 2018)
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
The Little Teashop of Lost and Found by Trisha Ashley

My favorite MobileRead New Leaf Book Club selection was Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.

My favorite MobileRead Literary Club selection was Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I'm sure if I answered this question an hour from now the list would probably be different!
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:58 PM   #13
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Only one real standout for me this year, but still one that was good enough to make the year worthwhile

The British in India by David Gilmour.

I hope he eventually gives Anglo-Indians the book he says they deserve.
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Old 12-19-2018, 11:38 PM   #14
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Only one real standout for me this year, but still one that was good enough to make the year worthwhile

The British in India by David Gilmour...
On your recommendation I am going to read it, in fact I am jumping it to the top of my reading list.

My paternal grandmother, who was English, was born in India and, apparently unusually, stayed there for all her schooling. Best I can work out that would have been the end of the 19th and the very early years of the 20th century. Then, as a young woman, she lived in Fiji working as a journalist. Unfortunately, she died before I was sensible enough to ask her much about her life and that was complicated in that she lived in another city. But I do remember going shopping with her in Karangahape Rd., in Auckland, for instance, and her chatting away in Hindi (I assume) with the Indian shop keepers who (I assume) came mostly from Fiji back then.

Thanks for the recommendation.

John
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Old 12-19-2018, 11:56 PM   #15
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On your recommendation I am going to read it, in fact I am jumping it to the top of my reading list.

My paternal grandmother, who was English, was born in India and, apparently unusually, stayed there for all her schooling. Best I can work out that would have been the end of the 19th and the very early years of the 20th century.
John
Your grandmother's situation is the sort that features prominently in the book, I think you'll find it very interesting
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