End of Year 2018: Favorite Books


#1

Favorite Books

:books:

… Oh, I still gotta do a preamble?

This is a topic to discuss what our most appreciated books of 2018 were. This year has seen a lot of great work published in both fiction and non-fiction, and we wanted to give folks a space to speak to the published content they’d been reading that had really struck a chord with them. Whether the necessary escape that you needed, a political exposé on some no-good happening in the world, or an illuminating depiction of our current times, we want to offer a space to discuss that, across genre or discipline.

Who knows, maybe you’ll find your favourite book of 2019 in there somewhere?


Discussion Thread

This category is not involved in our nomination/voting process and instead is all about discussing your favs!

Be sure to check the Q&A section below if you have questions, otherwise feel free to reach out to one of us! We hope you enjoy this event and we’re excited to see what sorts of discussion each category inspires!


Q&A

Q: End of Year? What's that?

A: I’m glad you asked! Just head over to our pinned topic if you need a catch up! You can also find details on the process for the event here.

Q: What is eligible to be discussed?

A: Though we’re still largely looking for discussion of things that released in 2018, given that this is a discussion thread separate from the nomination process we’re happy to be a little more lax on items that might fall into a grey area. You’re free to use your own judgement with that, and to reach out to us if there’s anything you’re not sure of.

Credits
  • Thank you to @Emily for the banner!

What'cha reading?
End of Year 2018: Waypoint Community's Favorites
#2

Thanks for creating this category!

The book I liked the most that was published this year is the amazing and huge The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition , compiling all the Earthsea stories by Ursula K LeGuin and illustrated by Charles Vess. I’m most familiar with Charles Vess for the work he did in the Sandman comics (he drew the two issues about Shakespeare)
I’ve previously posted pictures of the book and impressions in the reading thread
More books I loved that were published in 2018:
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Record of a Spacebound Few by Becky Chambers
Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax
Sodom Road Exit by Amber Dawn
Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami


#3

Thanks for linking the reading thread, I hadn’t seen that before and I’ve already found a few books on there that I’ve just downloaded to my kindle. Much appreciated!


#4

You’re welcome, glad I could help


#5

Run while you can, that reading thread and the Resetera equivalent have destroyed me financially. And I don’t even read that much these days.

Anyway, my favourite books this year was Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. Admittedly, I only read two other books that came out this year, everything else was older but regardless I think Spinning Silver would have been my favourite.

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Spinning Silver is a follow-up to Uprooted (with no actual connection to it) and is way more complex in every way. There’s more characters here, more plotlines all overlapping with each other and just more going on than Uprooted had. And it could have been so terrible and slow and plodding but Naomi Novik fucking nails it.

Honorable mention:
Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

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Valente channeled Douglas Adams in this one and was mostly successful but it kinda fizzles out by the end. It’s at its best when she’s creating bizarrely detailed weird worlds of unique creatures and at its worst when it’s toeing that line between homage and copying.

Some day I’ll read that copy of Record of a Spaceborn Few that’s sitting on my reading pile and wish I hadn’t put off reading it for so long because boy I love those first two books.


#6

Favorite two off the top of my head that I definitely know were published in 2018:


#7

I only just bought them, but during my holiday shopping for family gifts I noticed that both Becky Chambers and Ann Leckie have released new novels! I’m pretty sure they’ll both make my top ten of the year.


#8

I bought Moshfegh’s short story collection Homesick for Another World and loved it, so might give this a shot.

I think the only book I’ve read this year that was actually from this year was that David Lynch book, Room to Dream. It’s given me an excuse to rewatch his films throughout the year (also I watched Elephant Man for the first time).


#9

Spinning Silver was a great one by Naomi Novik .


#10

Her first novel with Penguin, Eileen, is also absolutely incredible. Read it in one sitting and oh wow was it a delight.


#11

Glad to see some love for Moshfegh here! Homesick for Another World occasionally felt a little too Pahliniuk-ian in its scatology for my liking, but Eileen and My Year of Rest and Relaxation were two of the most electrifying novels I’ve read this past half-decade.

My vote for best book this year is Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind, which is nominally about the increasing body of scientific research on psychedelics, but more affectingly, the book is a personal travelogue of Pollan’s experiences with psylocibin (among other compounds), and the ways that they have both shaped his interior landscape, and how his attitudes towards them have changed over time. The book is perhaps a little too enthusiastic about the potential of psychedelic substances, but at the same time, takes a clear stance that fun and joy (but also intense introversion) are also tangible benefits of these chemical experiences. As someone with predilections towards anxiety, as well as a low threshold for self-help, this book felt graceful, personal, and true–at least to my own experiences on other planes and wavelengths.


#12

Finished my favorite ten books of the year list in a twitter thread (includes books not published in 2018) if anyone’s interested

Tried to keep them short, twitter is useful for that. The only one where I really rambled was #1, and it’s mostly a paste of thoughts I had right after reading it.


#13

I have to give it to Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife. A suburban, feminist retelling of Beowulf. I’ll admit a bias since I majored in Medieval Literature. It was a great story, the main character (Grendel’s mother, Dana) is one of my favourites of the year in any medium. And it got me very excited for Headley’s translation of Beowulf coming out next year.

The Barrow Will Send What it May by Margaret Killjoy was a close second, it’s the second novells in the Danielle Cain series of anarcho-punk fantasy goodness. It’s rad.


#14

Neoreaction: A Basilisk - Elizabeth Sandifer a collection of essays on and around the alt-right. I really loved the way this was written and Elizabeth is savage in taking Mencius Moldbug, Nick Land and other philosophers of the Dark Enlightenment.

The Dilemmas of Lenin - Tariq Ali Tariq Ali is one of my favourite writers and I love how deliciously partisan he is in this (criticising “the flatulent rhetoric of Woodrow Wilson” is a particular highlight). His speculation that Lenin’s views on housework came from his own personal hatred of doing it was another.

The Traitor: Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson Just a savage, upsetting at points and powerful read that someone on here recommended. It’s sort of marketed as Game of Thrones if it wasn’t written by a dickhead and that’s pretty apt. I’ve just picked up the sequel and am firing through it as we speak.

Authentocrats - Joe Kennedy Really satisfying critique of the British liberal centre and their cultural tastes as radicalism posturing. The main highlight that sticks out is the laughing at Owen Smith and his attempts to position himself as an authentic opponent to Jeremy Corbyn via calling lattes “frothy coffees” and the bragging about the size of his hog and the number of suitors he seen off to marry his wife.

Those are my four favourite this year. i’m lucky that work is quiet and I’m the line manager when I’m on shift so I’ve managed to read 45 books this year.


#15

I read Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames and it has reinvigorated my passion for reading. The story in the book is great but I think the real strength is in the characters. They’re a bunch of queer messes and I love them all so much.

I also started reading Huntress by Malinda Lo but I’m only maybe a quarter of the way in but it’s been really enjoyable so far. Some more good queer characters and the story so far has been really interesting so I’m looking forward to digging in more.