With 2017 in the rear-view and 2018 on the horizon, I figure now’s as good a time as any to share with you my favorite books I read this past year. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace was an excellent writer and a really brilliant guy. Though his life was cut tragically short, we’re fortunate enough to still have his writing. If you’d like to get acquainted with that writing, consider Consider the Lobster.
This collection includes essays and articles on a variety of subjects, including the Maine Lobster Festival, crappy sports biographies, pornography, and why John Updike was a bonafide narcissist. Plus, Wallace writes about 40 pages on English language style guides, which is itself an impressive feat.
The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
This book is almost sixty years old, so I’m not exactly telling anyone anything new by saying that it’s good. But The Sirens of Titan represents Vonnegut at the top of his game, as far as I’m concerned. He blends social commentary, religion, war, and politics all into one, with his trademark humor and wit to match. My favorite line from this book: “Theology: Someone created the universe for some reason.”
The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
I don’t read a lot of series these days, but I’ll make an exception for The Dark Tower. As the second entry in the series, this is a really beautiful continuation of an outstanding start. The originality and sheer weirdness of the book are excellent, as are the plot and characters. Though it’s a somewhat lengthy book at 400 pages, it goes fast.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Prior to this novel, the only other Margaret Atwood I’d read was Negotiating with the Dead. I didn’t particularly care for that one, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Oryx and Crake. I loved it.
This is a book about a guy named Snowman, who lives in a withered version of the world without many humans or resources. The narrative shifts back and forth between Snowman’s present and past, showing how he and the world became what they are now.
A word of warning: once you read this book and find out what “ChickieNobs” are, you’re unlikely to ever eat at KFC again.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Another book about a post-civilization future, though it’s more likely you’ve heard of this one before. Station Eleven has gotten a lot of national attention, and for good reason.
After disease tears through the human population, an acting troupe travels the world performing Shakespeare’s plays. That’s just the main plot, though. In a wider sense, this book is about legacy, religion, art, and survival.
The author, Emily St. John Mandel, does some fancy footwork with the narrative by flipping back and forth in time. While it takes a while to get used to, I loved this style because one sees how the characters connect, how certain artifacts got into the hands of others, and more. Very neat story.
If you’re looking for books to read in the new year, I recommend these. Have a wonderful 2018!